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Issues Law Med. 2017 Spring;32(1):19-30.

Psychological Impact of Abortion due to Fetal Anomaly: A Review of Published Research.

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The Life Institute, Dublin, Ireland.
Blackrock Clinic, Dublin, Ireland.
St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


Over the past several decades, prenatal testing for fetal anomalies has become standard across the developed world. Most women who learn of a severe anomaly during pregnancy elect to terminate. The authors reviewed ten studies which examined the psychological sequelae of pregnant women following prenatal diagnoses of severe life limiting conditions. Based on the available data, the authors found evidence that women who abort due to a poor prenatal diagnosis are at higher risk of post-traumatic stress and depression than women who continue with pregnancy. They also found that current practice is to make reactive recommendations for post-abortion care, suggesting a presumption in favor of abortion, leaving alternatives like perinatal hospice inadequately explored. This review critiques that approach, recommending that doctors and patients need to have the best possible information before a decision is made.


[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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