Monday, 12 September 2011

Mental Injury and Abortion 2

How is it that our society can set such a high bar of having to suffer a recognised psychological disorder in order to claim civil damages for mental health injury (cf. Rorrison vs. West Lothian)? Yet, in the case of the Abortion Act, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists claim, ‘… to meet the terms of the Act, a woman need not have a psychiatric illness when she makes her abortion request, but there must be factors that would involve risk to her mental health if the pregnancy were to continue. Thus, the abortion is not carried out for social reasons, although a woman’s social circumstances may be taken into account in assessing the risks to her health.’

The World Health Organisation sets a similarly low standard of risk: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’

So, to get an abortion, doctors only have to identify an increased risk to mental well-being, but not of a pathological mental illness. This is in spite of the British Journal of Psychiatry report that shows abortion increases the likelihood of mental injury.

How can a civilised society lower the standard of risk avoidance when a human life is at stake, but raise it when money enters the equation?

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