Government Recommendation for Depression Screening for Pregnant Women Should Extend to Abortion, Says Expert

For Immediate Release

(Jan 27, 2016 – Springfield, IL)  The United States Preventive Services Task Force has issued a recommendation to screen women for depression before and after pregnancy in an effort to identify women at risk of post-partum depression and other pregnancy-associated mental health illnesses.

Elliot Institute Director David Reardon said that “it is important to identify women who may benefit from early psychological support and treatment.” He is especially hopeful that these recommendations will be applied to all pregnant women, irrespective of pregnancy outcome.

Reardon, the author of numerous studies on psychological treatment rates following birth, abortion, and miscarriage, believes better screening can lead to more timely referrals for support. This can make a huge difference in how women cope and adjust during and after their pregnancies.

Prior pregnancy outcomes can also effect mental health during and after subsequent pregnancies. Numerous studies have shown that prior pregnancy losses (miscarriage or induced abortion) increase the risk of mental health problems during and after subsequent pregnancies. There are also additive effects. Exposure to multiple losses is linked with a proportional increase in risk of depression during and after subsequent pregnancies.

Reardon has been especially critical of the failure of abortion providers to screen for any of the risk factors listed by the American Psychological Association, that identify women who are likely   to have the most severe negative reactions following induced abortions. The list includes having a history of depression.

“Now that a government task force tasked with reducing complications associated with medical care has identified the importance of screening pregnant women for depression, the failure of abortion providers to provide pre-abortion screening and referrals for counseling will be impossible to defend,” Reardon said.

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Final Recommendation Statement Depression in Adults: Screening Recommendations made by the USPSTF

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