Dr. Reardon Responds to Attacks on Research

Response to Critics Published in Leading Medical Journal

After several months’ delay, a leading medical journal has published a letter by Elliot Institute director Dr. David Reardon in response to recent ad hominem attacks by abortion advocates attempting to deny a link between abortion and mental health problems in women.

The criticism began last fall after the British Journal of Psychiatry (BJP) published a meta-analysis review by Dr. Priscilla Coleman on mental health and abortion. To the dismay of abortion rights advocates, the review showed that women who had abortions were 81 percent more likely to experience mental health problems afterward compared to women who gave birth.

Abortion rights advocates responded by criticizing Coleman and her study, and attempting to accuse her of bias by linking her to Reardon. Three different letters published in the BJP used quotes from an article previously written by Reardon, in an attempt to undermine Coleman’s integrity.

In a response published by BJP, Reardon refuted the charges of bias and provided context for the article that was used to criticize Coleman, pointing out the critics had taken quotes out of context and offered a distorted picture of his views.

The article “reflected my sincere belief that abortion involves substantial dangers to specific subgroups of women,” he wrote. “Unfortunately critics have distorted this into the charge that I seek to scare women with exaggerated risks. That is untrue. There are real risks, especially for certain higher risk groups. Women should be told of the truth, with neither exaggeration nor dismissal and minimization.”

The letter is available online under the heading, “Abortion, Mental Health and Charges of Guilt by Association,” and will be published in the journal’s print edition in March.

For more information on this controversy, see this article by Reardon describing and refuting the “attack and distract” strategy employed by those seeking to discredit this research. In it, he explains why its time to stop attacking the messenger and start putting concern for the lives and well-being of women ahead of promoting abortion.

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