Over 20 Years of Pro-Woman/Pro-Life Leadership
Our mission has led us to undertake many efforts over the years. Below we highlight some of our most important efforts in the areas of research, education & outreach, and advocacy for women injured and exploited by abortion.
5. Publishing the Forced Abortion Report
6. Launching TheUnChoice.com Web Site
7. Helping Pro-Life Groups Raise Awareness With Our UnChoice Resources
8. Targeting Communities Through The UnChoice Campaign
9. Becoming A World Leader in Information and Education
10. Speaking Out Through Presentations and Interviews
11. Promoting Awareness and Healing Through The Rose Series Campaign
The Elliot Institute has participated in the research and publication of more than 15 peer-reviewed studies and published dozens of papers and literature reviews examining the detrimental effects of abortion on women.
This research is leading to a greater understanding of the obstacles and injustices that many women and teens face before, during and after abortion, and the reality of post-abortion trauma, grief and injury. Counselors, health care providers and policy makers are using our findings to help women struggling with serious and potentially life-threatening problems and to promote legislation and policies protecting the rights of women, teens and families at risk. Even the U.S. Supreme Court cited our research in a recent ruling.
Abortion proponents often claim that abortion is better for women than carrying an “unwanted” pregnancy to term. The Elliot Institute has been involved in the publication of studies comparing women with a first, unplanned pregnancy and found that women who had abortions were more likely to experience subsequent depression, anxiety and substance abuse.
Our research continues to focus on finding the truth about abortion’s impact on women, men, families and society-and finding real solutions for those who face a unplanned or challenging pregnancy, rather than the “unchoice” of an unwanted, unsafe, coerced or forced abortion.
While a number of researchers have published studies related to abortion over the years, many research efforts have been plagued with the problem of relying on women’s self-reporting to study abortion problems. Surveys can be problematic because women may drop out of a study, conceal a past abortion, or provide inaccurate or incomplete answers to questions about her mental state. The best and most accurate studies are those that rely on medical records rather than survey results.
The Elliot Institute is a world leader in conducting records-based studies on abortion issues-;studies that rely on women’s medical records rather than surveys. Studies carried out by the Elliot Institute in partnership with other researchers have linked abortion to a variety of subsequent mental health disorders, including higher rates of suicide, depression, adjustment disorders, anxiety, bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, and psychiatric hospitalization.
Currently we are working with a massive database of records from a national cohort of millions of women spanning 20 years. This data can verify our earlier studies linking abortion to higher rates of suicide, depression, substance abuse, and other problems. It will also help us shed light on other ways that abortion puts women and teens at risk.
The Elliot Institute runs AbortionRisks.org, a clearinghouse for users around the world to find and contribute information on post-abortion issues, including new research. This online project is designed to be a central resource for students, activists, researchers, educators, counselors and the general public to find information on post-abortion research. It also allows post-abortion support groups to share information about their ministries and raise public awareness of widespread coercion and abortion risks, and the urgent need for education, authentic support and post-abortion healing.
AbortionRisks.org is also the home of the Thomas W. Strahan Memorial Library, the most extensive bibliography ever compiled of published studies, books, and articles on post-abortion problems.
Coerced and forced abortions are a hidden epidemic in the United States. News reports, expert research and personal testimonies have detail abuse and violence against pregnant women. Few Americans realize that homicide is the leading cause of death among pregnant women, and anecdotal evidence suggests that many women have been assaulted or even killed for refusing to undergo abortions.
We have exposed this epidemic through the publication of the Forced Abortion Report, a 22-page expose highlighting statistics and cases from all across the U.S. in which women became victims of discrimination, abuse or violence because they refused to abort. Copies of the report have been circulated on the web and among pro-life groups and advocates around the country.
In addition, we have created two shorter, easy-to-distribute flyers-Portraits of Coercion, which provides a general introduction to this issue, and the Forced Abortion Fact Sheet, a quick-reference summary of key facts-to help advocates draw attention to this hidden problem.
Sadly, cases of pregnancy- and abortion-related violence frequently appear in news reports and we will continue our efforts to expose this tragic situation as long as women and girls and their unborn children remain at risk for violence. We are seeing some progress as more and more states pass laws to punish perpetrators who threaten, assault or kill pregnant women, and will continue our efforts to promote laws that help protect the rights of women and children.
6. Launching TheUnChoice.com Web Site
Research and the stories of women who’ve been there show that, contrary to popular belief, most women do not want abortions. In fact, the evidence suggests that most abortions are more likely to be the result of pressure, coercion including disinformation from experts, lack of support, pressure, threats, financial or emotional blackmail, or even violence or force. Such injustices are furthered by the fact that friends, family and mental health experts often deny the existence of post-abortion trauma and grief. Our research is making it increasingly clear that abortion really is the UnChoice.
Yet many people-including some pro-lifers and other compassionate advocates and leaders-remain unaware of this shocking injustice to women and their loved ones, and of the devastating emotional and physical trauma that can result from pregnancy-related abuses and abortion.
Our UnChoice web site is a user-friendly resources and information portal for pro-lifers and the general public to learn about this issue. It provides new facts and information to expose the risks women and girls face, and to reverse unfair stereotypes that can lead others to deny them compassion and support. Such obstacles can stop women, teens and their families from getting the help and information they need before and after abortion.
In 2004, we co-authored a survey that provided startling new findings about pressure, inadequate information and professional negligence applied to women undergoing abortions. This and other recent studies corroborate earlier studies and testimonies that paint a portrait of a “perfect storm” of obstacles that are faced by women who are pregnant in “less than perfect” situations, and point to widespread unwanted, pressured, coerced and even forced abortion in America.
In response to this evidence, we updated and expanded our materials and developed a family of new, user-friendly tools that educate the general public and can be used by pro-life groups for education, outreach and advocacy. These materials were designed to shed light on new evidence showing that most abortions are unwanted, pressured, coerced and even forced, and to overturn harmful assumptions that can stop women from getting the support they need.
This project began with the development of a comprehensive educational and outreach kit for pro-life leaders, and was later expanded to include a kit for political and civic leaders as well. We now have available (through our web site) many free and low-cost materials that include fact sheets and booklets, educational kits, bulletin inserts and flyers, print ads in various sizes and formats, radio and TV ads, posters, billboard concepts and more.
Our UnChoice materials have been used by pro-life organizations, pregnancy centers, post-abortion healing ministries, clergy, counselors, educators and concerned citizens in the U.S. and around the world, including in Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey, Indiana, Texas, California, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Hawaii, Virginia, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Illinois, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Canada, Ireland, Australia and more.
After developing our UnChoice materials, we took the next step of pulling them together into one campaign that can have a greater impact on a community than ads or materials distributed singly. The UnChoice campaign helps people to learn, remember and share and important new message about unwanted abortions and the related risks and injustices that abortion poses to the very people it was meant to serve.
The UnChoice campaign is a multi-media campaign that is meant to be run throughout a community over a specific period of time. Print ads, radio and television ads, billboards, and supporting materials will be used together to raise awareness about pregnancy- and abortion-related injustices and abortion’s harm to all involved.
The UnChoice campaign incorporates the latest evidence of widespread unwanted or coerced and even forced abortion, as well as the expertise and insights of leaders who specialize in complex and highly sensitive pregnancy- and abortion-related issues. It is written in a manner that is respectful of the complex and deeply personal issues surrounding abortion and the pain of those who lost a loved one to abortion or its aftermath.
In addition, we are helping pro-life advocates learn how to best use these materials to educate the public through a series of PR and outreach tools such as Ads 101, sample outreach materials such as letters to the editor and political leaders, sample news releases, our PR calendar, and more.
This project continues to develop with new information and resources and is having a far-reaching impact on the public’s perception of abortion and on the efforts of the pro-life movement.
In addition to the resources mentioned above, the Elliot Institute has provided numerous other educational materials to help raise awareness of coercion, injustice and post-abortion trauma, and to advocate for the rights of women and their unborn children.
We are now the publishers of nine books, a quarterly newsletter, a free e-newsletter, and numerous booklets, brochures, fact sheets, and other resources. Our books and publications have been distributed all over the world, and our web sites (www.AfterAbortion.org , www.TheUnChoice.com, and www.AbortionRisks.org) draw over 3 million unique visitors each year.
The Elliot Institute is the leading source for information and education on coerced and unwanted abortions and post-abortion trauma for pro-life organizations and advocacy groups worldwide.
Over the past two decades, Dr. Reardon and Elliot Institute staff and colleagues have given hundreds of media interviews, talks and presentations on post-abortion issues around the globe.
Most recently, an Elliot Institute staffer appeared on Life Issues Institute’s show Facing Life Head On (www.facinglife.tv) to discuss sexual assault pregnancy and abortion. The show reached more than a hundred million viewers with new facts and answers about abortion in the hard cases. Viewers can also watch the show online.
After 37 years of legalized abortion, there are millions of women, men and families mourning the loss of a child to abortion. Many women have suffered pregnancy- and abortion-related injustices and struggle with the aftermath of a traumatic and often and unwanted procedure. Many fathers of aborted children and families of women and teens who had abortions were deceived by experts into thinking that “it’s just tissue” or that abortion was the only solution-while others may have tried in vain to stop an abortion or did not know about it until it was too late. Many people also bear the loss of a daughter, sister, mother or friend who died as a result of abortion.
Our Rose Series healing campaign acknowledges this pain in a compassionate way and lets those suffering know that they are not alone and that healing is possible. These materials have been used by pregnancy centers, post-abortion healing ministries, churches, and individuals throughout the country to spread a message of hope and healing.
12. Giving a Voice to Women Who Became Pregnant Through Sexual Assault
In 2000, after more than 10 years of collecting stories from women who had become pregnant through sexual assault, we published the book Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions & Children Resulting From Sexual Assault. Based on the largest survey of sexual assault victims ever done, the book showed that contrary to popular belief, most women who become pregnant through sexual assault do not want abortions but are often coerced, forced or pressured into abortion by those around them.
The publication of Victims and Victors also led to the formation of the Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant Through Sexual Assault. The members are women who have signed a petition to Congress and state legislatures asking to be given an opportunity to tell their stories. In addition, our Hard Cases: New Facts, New Answers fact sheet continues to tell the truth about abortion and the hard cases through important new facts and a compassionate solution.
Thanks in part to our efforts to educate pro-lifers and the public about the epidemic of unwanted, coerced and forced abortions, we are seeing legislators in more states passing laws that require abortion businesses to provide information and resources to help women who are being pressured or forced into unwanted abortions.
In response, we introduced the Stop Forced Abortion Act, an initiative that would strengthen these efforts by holding abortion businesses liable for failing to screen women for coercion and for statistically-validated factors that put them at risk for mental health problems after abortion. This legislation would help protect the rights of women and girls and put an end to most abortions, which research has shown to be unwanted, unnecessary, traumatic and unsafe. Currently, it has been introduced in Nebraska and Missouri, and we are seeking to work with legislators in other states to pass this bill.
Surveys and anecdotal evidence from women who have had abortions have found that the majority of women said they were not given adequate counseling before abortion, and that they were given false and deceptive information. In response, we launched the Expose Deceptive Abortion Practices (EDAP) project to collect complaints regarding violations of consumer protection laws from women who have had abortions. Our goal is to use these complaints to initiate state’s attorney’s investigations and prosecution of abortion businesses engaged in deceptive business practices.
Within just a few months of launching EDAP, we were also able to refer three women who suffered recent injuries to malpractice attorneys. This is an ongoing project that will help stop the practice of giving women false and misleading information before abortion and help protect their rights and the rights of their unborn children.
Over the years, we have assisted various organizations and legal groups seeking to change laws that allow the abortion industry to perform unwanted, unsafe and unnecessary abortions and continue the on a path that is destructive to women, children and families. To that end, we provide expert assistance to law firms engaged in lawsuits against the abortion industry. We also provided legal briefs for efforts by Norma McCorvey (Roe v. Wade) and Sandra McCano (Doe v. Bolton) to have the Supreme Court revisit their cases based on new evidence of abortion’s harm to women.
We also work with government officials, legislators and other individuals to promote initiatives that would help stop more women from being harmed by abortion and allow redress and resources for those who have already been hurt. We are continuing to provide assistance for groups that are engaged in efforts to protect the rights of women and their unborn children.