The British Journal of Psychiatry
Abortion and mental health: guidelines for proper scientific conduct ignored
Toine Lagro-Janssen, Chris van Weel, Sylvie Lo Fo Wong

We strongly disagree with the conclusions of Coleman’s analysis of research about the relation between abortion and mental health.1 An earlier study by Munk-Olson et al,2 not mentioned in the study, concluded that, contrary to what is generally assumed, a first-trimester induced abortion was not followed by an increase in mental disorders. The strength of the study is that mental health problems are studied in women before and after an induced abortion, and not only after. From Dutch primary care data,3 we can confirm this: in a case–control study in family practice, we compared the medical history of women 3 years before and 3 years after they had an induced abortion with a control group.4 Differences were found with regard to mental health (visits for mental health problems, psychopharmaceutical prescriptions or referrals to mental health facilities). However, compared with the control group, women who had an induced abortion had more social problems. This should be an important focus of attention in the care of women who choose to have an abortion.