A Reanalysis of Mental Disorders Risk Following First-Trimester Abortions in Denmark


In this article, David Reardon analyzes a Danish study of monthly and tri-monthly rates of first-time psychiatric contact following first induced abortions reported higher rates compared to first live births but similar rates compared to nine months pre-abortion. The researchers in that study con- cluded abortion has no independent effect on mental health; and any differ- ences between psychiatric contacts after abortion and delivery are entirely attributable to pre-existing mental health differences. But these conclusions are inconsistent with similar studies that used longer time frames. Reardon’s re-analysis reveals that the Danish data is consistent with the larger body of both record-based and survey-based studies when viewed over periods of ob- servation of at least nine months. Longer periods of observation are necessary to capture both anniversary reactions and the exhaustion of coping mecha- nisms which may delay observation of post-abortion effects.