Michael Cook at BioEdge is making the mistake I blogged about briefly last week!
Here's the issue: This review study from the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH) finds that while unwanted pregnancies have a negative effect on women's mental health, the mental health of women with unwanted pregnancies was no different whether they had an abortion or gave birth.
Now, 98% of all UK abortions are performed to preserve the physical or mental health of the mother; of those, 99.96% involve mental health. Should we infer, with BioEdge and with the Christian Medical Fellowship, that those abortions are inappropriate, because the NCCMH study proves that abortion doesn't preserve mental health after all?
We should not. NCCMH looked at rates of mental health problems among women who had had unintended pregnancies, some of whom had chosen to terminate them with abortion, and some of whom had given birth. It found similar rates of mental health in those two populations. But the women in those populations were in them by choice. The study does show that women who choose abortion have no better or worse mental health than those who do not. But it certainly doesn't show that their mental health would have been the same if the option to abort had been denied them, and they had been forced to give birth. The study, in other words, leaves open the question whether abortions are good for the mental health of the women who choose them.