London, Aug 18 : Having an abortion does not put women's mental health at risk, according to a new study.
A comprehensive review of research, by the American Psychological Association (APA), showed no evidence that the majority of abortions cause psychiatric problems.
According to previous studies, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are more common among women who have had abortions.
However, the APA report said that the findings of such studies were unreliable because they either failed to distinguish between abortions of wanted and unwanted pregnancies, or they did not consider factors such as poverty and drug use that raise the likelihood both of having an abortion and suffering mental illness.
The new study found "no credible evidence" that single abortions could directly cause mental health problems among adults with unwanted pregnancies.
The report called for more well-designed studies to investigate the issue.
It found that even the evidence for adverse psychiatric effects of multiple abortions was equivocal.
Higher rates of mental illness among such women could be explained by social factors, such as poverty or drug use that also put them at higher risk of unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.
"The best scientific evidence published indicates that among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion or deliver that pregnancy," Times Online quoted Brenda Major, who chaired the task force, as saying.
"The evidence regarding the relative mental health risks associated with multiple abortions is more uncertain," Major added.