Via Lynn Harris at Broadsheet, the American Psychological Association has determined (PDF) that “abortion hurts women” rhetoric is bunk. The APA, which was to have adopted the new standard this morning, says in its draft language “the relative risks of mental health problems are no greater than the risks among women who deliver an unplanned pregnancy.” In other words, forcing women to carry through with an unplanned pregnancy is just as risky for mental health as it is to have an abortion.
This is particularly significant, because as Reva Segal and Sarah Blustain reported in The American Prospect in 2006, those in favor of an abortion ban in South Dakota have based much of their argument on the idea that abortion is harmful to women’s mental health. If the flagship mental health professionals organization, the APA, has determined that abortion is no risker to mental health than an unwanted pregnancy, then much of the reasoning behind the abortion ban has evaporated. In fact, by eliminating women’s ability to successfully take control of their reproductive health, the proponents of the ban are putting women at greater mental health risk.