Medical Practice

Psychiatric and Social Factors in the Abortion Decision

Br Med J 1974; 1 doi: (Published 09 February 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;1:229
  1. Evelyn Hamill,
  2. I. M. Ingram


    A total of 132 consecutive referrals for psychiatric opinion on termination of pregnancy were examined and followed up at nine months. Of these, 48 (36%) were refused and 44 of the 84 terminated were sterilized. Those recommended for abortion tended to be older, married, and to have children. They had used contraception more often and they showed more clinical psychiatric abnormalities. The group had numerous social problems, but these did not distinguish those terminated from those refused, nor were there differences in religious affiliation or duration of pregnancy. Most of those refused obtained an abortion elsewhere and only 25 of the original 132 had a live child. General practitioners were more likely to disagree with a refusal decision than with termination. Psychiatric, physical, and social sequelae were infrequent in both groups. Contraception before and after was inadequate in most patients.

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