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Unintended Pregnancy, Induced Abortion, and Mental Health

  • Reproductive Psychiatry and Women’s Health (CN Epperson, Section Editor)
  • Published:
Current Psychiatry Reports Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Purpose of Review

The early medical literature on mental health outcomes following abortion is fraught with methodological flaws that can improperly influence clinical practice. Our goal is to review the current medical literature on depression and other mental health outcomes for women obtaining abortions.

Recent Findings

The Turnaway Study prospectively enrolled 956 women seeking abortion in the USA and followed their mental health outcomes for 5 years. The control group was comprised of women denied abortions based on gestational age limits, thereby circumventing the major methodological flaw that had plagued earlier studies on the topic.


Rates of depression are not significantly different between women obtaining abortion and those denied abortion. Rates of anxiety are initially higher in women denied abortion care. Counseling on decision-making for women with unintended pregnancies should reflect these findings.

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Correspondence to Sarah Horvath.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Additional information

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Reproductive Psychiatry and Women’s Health

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Horvath, S., Schreiber, C.A. Unintended Pregnancy, Induced Abortion, and Mental Health. Curr Psychiatry Rep 19, 77 (2017).

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