Royal College of Psychiatrists responds to coverage in the BMJ and Newsnight

Statement / comment
21 July 2023

The article, ‘Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995–2009’ was submitted by Dr Coleman in 2010. It was peer reviewed by external experts, and passed for publication, in the BJPsych in 2011.

Following publication, a number of people complained, saying they thought the research behind the article was flawed.

The matter was fully investigated between 2011-2012 by the then-BJPsych Editor, who decided that the article should not be retracted.

He did however decide that the letters critiquing the article could be published and posted online with the article.

Last summer, over a decade later, we received the complaint from some of the original complainants, which was very similar in substance to the original complaints from back in 2011.

It asked that the article be retracted.

After careful consideration, given the distance in time since the original article was published, the widely available public debate on the paper, including the letters of complaint already available alongside the article online, and the fact that the article has already been subject to a full investigation, it has been decided to reject the request for the article to be retracted.

In line with the College’s mission to support research, we would continue to encourage academics in this field to produce articles and papers that further the science on abortion and mental health.

We now regard this matter as closed.

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