Women may be at risk of having mental health breakdowns if they have abortions, a UK newspaper reported Sunday.
According to The Sunday Times, the Royal College of Psychiatrists says women should not be allowed to have an abortion until they are counselled on the possible risk to their mental health.
The college's recent statement reverses the scales of decades of belief.
Before, it was widely believed that the mental health risks of continuing with an unwanted pregnancy were far greater than living with the possible regrets of having an abortion. More than 90 percent of the 200,000 abortions in Britain every year are believed to be carried out because doctors thought continuing with the pregnancy would cause greater mental strain on the woman.
But with the release of this new information, UK Parliament is now grappling with this apparent reversal.
In addition to reducing the time limit for abortions, some lawmakers also want women to have a "cooling off" period. That period would allow the women to be made aware of the possible consequences of the abortion, including the impact on her mental health, before she could go ahead with the procedure.
The controversy in the UK intensified earlier this year after a women hanged herself because she was overcome with grief after aborting her twins.
The woman left a note that said, "Living is hell for me. I should never have had an abortion. I see now I would have been a good mum. I want to be with my babies; they need me, no one else does," she wrote according to The Sunday Times.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists recommends updating abortion information leaflets to include details of the risks of depression, saying, "consent cannot be informed without the provision of adequate and appropriate information."
The college's revised stance was welcomed by conservative member Nadine Dorries.
"For doctors to process a woman's request for an abortion without providing the support, information and help women need at this time of crisis I regard almost as a form of abuse," she said.
Dr. Peter Saunders, general secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship, also welcomes the reversal.
"How can a doctor now justify an abortion (on mental health grounds) if psychiatrists are questioning whether there is any clear evidence that continuing with the pregnancy leads to mental health problems," he said.
Source: The Sunday Times