In 1988, then President Ronald Reagan charged Surgeon General C. Everett Koop with the task of creating a report declaring a link between abortions and decreased mental health quality. Koop didn’t deliver on the study; instead, in 1989, he sent Reagan a letter which stated that “the available scientific evidence about the psychological sequelae of abortion simply cannot support either the preconceived notions of those pro-life or those pro-choice.” Koop recommended that in order to assess the actual effects of abortion on women’s mental health, a long and comprehensive study needed to be conducted.
The notion that having an abortion will destroy you emotionally didn’t begin with the Reagan administration, and it didn’t end with Koop’s assertion that there was not enough data to prove it. Anti-choice folks claim the existence of “Post Abortion Traumatic Stress Syndrome,” indicated by guilt, anxiety, avoidance of children and pregnant women, numbness, depression, suicide, etc, after having an abortion. Although neither the American Psychological Association nor the American Psychiatric Association has acknowledged Post Abortion Syndrome as being real, that hasn’t stopped the anti-choice movement from perpetuating the myth of it, particularly in crisis pregnancy centers.