Legal Abortion for Mental Health Indications
International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 95, pp. 185-190, 2006
6 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2006
Where legal systems allow therapeutic abortion to preserve women's mental health, practitioners often lack access to mental health professionals for making critical diagnoses or prognoses that pregnancy or childcare endangers patients' mental health. Practitioners themselves must then make clinical assessments of the impact on their patients of continued pregnancy or childcare. The law requires only that practitioners make assessments in good faith, and by credible criteria. Mental disorder includes psychological distress or mental suffering due to unwanted pregnancy and responsibility for childcare, or, for instance, anticipated serious fetal impairment. Account should be taken of factors that make patients vulnerable to distress, such as personal or family mental health history, factors that may precipitate mental distress, such as loss of personal relationships, and factors that may maintain distress, such as poor education and marginal social status. Some characteristics of patients may operate as both precipitating and maintaining factors, such as poverty and lack of social support.
Keywords: Therapeutic abortion, Abortion on mental health grounds, Mental health grounds for abortion, Psychiatric grounds for abortion, Abortion assessments, Legal grounds for abortion, Fetal deformity
JEL Classification: I18, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation