NEW YORK, July 29 (UPI) -- Physicians in South Dakota are to advise women seeking abortions they face the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts, but a group says this is not true.
Officials at the Guttmacher Institute, which works to advance sexual and reproductive health, said the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2005 South Dakota law requiring the state's physicians and abortion providers to tell women who ask for an abortion they face an increased risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts.
However, the Guttmacher Institute officials said not only is this requirement unsupported by the evidence, it requires healthcare providers to provide misinformation to their patients.
For example, in December of last year, a systematic review commissioned and published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges concluded that "rates of mental health problems for women with an unwanted pregnancy were the same whether they had an abortion or gave birth," that an "unwanted pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of mental health problems" and that the "most reliable predictor of post-abortion mental health problems was having a history of mental health problems before the abortion."
"The best scientific evidence indicated the relative risk of mental health problems among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy is no greater if they have an elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver the pregnancy," an August 2008 report by the American Psychological Association Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion concluded.
In addition, a comprehensive review of the scientific literature, conducted in 2008 by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, found "the highest-quality research available does not support the hypothesis that abortion leads to long-term mental health problems."