New York, NY — Today, JAMA Psychiatry released a new study on women’s mental health and well-being across five years after getting or being denied an abortion. The study found no evidence for restricting women’s abortion access due to the theory that having an abortion harms women’s mental health.
Statement from Raegan McDonald-Mosley, Chief Medical Officer, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
"As the leading women’s health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood is committed to providing patients with expert, confidential and compassionate care. We believe in the health, well-being, and dignity of every single patient. We trust women to make their own fully-informed health care decisions.
"The unfortunate reality is that too many people in the U.S. face barriers to sexual and reproductive health care and safe, legal abortion. Every single person — no matter where you live or how much money you make or who provides your health insurance — should have access to health care without barriers or political roadblocks.
"For decades, research has shown that having a safe, legal abortion does not pose mental health problems for women. The best estimate is that nearly one in three women in this country will have an abortion in her lifetime and the vast majority of women who have abortions do not regret their decision. In fact, more than 95% of women who have had an abortion report that it was the right decision for them – and that feelings of relief outweigh any negative emotion they might have, even years later.
"Abortion is a deeply personal decision, and must be left to a woman, her family, and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor or health care provider. Every pregnancy is unique, and every woman’s decision about her pregnancy — whether to parent, choose adoption, or have an abortion — should be respected and valued. Every woman should have accurate information about all of her options. That information should support a woman, help her make a decision for herself, and enable her to take care of her health and well-being. It should not be provided with the intent of coercing, shaming, or judging a woman.
"Yet time and time again, we see medically unnecessary restrictions to abortion access put into place by biased politicians who deny medical and scientific research and refuse to listen to the lived experiences of women. These laws do not enhance patient safety -- rather, they punish women by blocking or delaying access to safe abortion.
"This research shows, yet again, why politicians should not play doctor. Instead of laws not based in evidence, we should be considering the women who may be more likely to experience negative mental health consequences: those who are not able to access abortion when they’ve made that decision. Far too many people still face insurmountable barriers to safely accessing their legal right to have an abortion. As a health care provider, Planned Parenthood has seen the devastating consequences for women in states like Texas where politicians have restricted access to abortion. Women are already traveling hundreds of miles, crossing state lines, and waiting weeks to get an abortion, if they can at all.
"Restrictive laws are often passed under the guise of women's health -- when in reality they punish women by blocking access to safe abortion and placing heavy burdens on patients seeking care. This cannot be the reality in 2016.
"At Planned Parenthood we work every day to make sure every patient receives the high-quality health care they need in a safe, respectful environment. We will never stop fighting for the right to safe, legal abortion."
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate, serving 2.5 million patients annually through its health care service providers, and 1.5 million more through educational programs and outreach. Visit plannedparenthood.org to learn more.
Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation's largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
December 14, 2016