Founded in 1988, the Elliot Institute has been a leader in research, education, and advocacy for women, men and families who are at risk of or who have been harmed by abortion.
Indeed, according to a pro-abortion New York Times columnist, it is the Elliot Institute which is to blame for resurrecting the idea (or as the columnist wrongly called it, the “myth”) that abortion hurts women more than it helps. The success of our efforts was indicated in a national poll that found that 85 percent of Americans believe that emotional problems after an abortion are common. Even 60 percent of respondents who identified themselves as “very pro-choice” agreed that abortion has a negative impact on women.
Below is a summary of some of the things we have accomplished to achieve these successes.
ORIGINAL MEDICAL RESEARCH
Together, we have accomplished what no one thought possible. Between 1970 and 1996, many pro-life scholars came to believe that it was impossible to publish research about the negative effects of abortion in any major peer-reviewed medical journal. However, while the bias of editors and peer reviewers remains a huge obstacle, we have upped the level of research quality so much that our work regularly get published.
We now have published over 30 peer-reviewed medical journal articles, including our most recent study documenting that each abortion increases women’s risk of premature death by 50 percent. We will be publishing two more studies in 2018. In fact, our studies have raised the bar for everyone, forcing pro-abortion researchers to improve their analyses and make more admissions regarding abortion’s negative effects.
As a result, in a literature review of studies of abortion’s mental health impact on women, published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 11 out of only 34 studies that met their strict criteria for inclusion were ours.
Our research also played a key role in a recent Federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that struck down Planned Parenthood’s argument for concealing the link between abortion and suicide from women. Our research is also playing an increasingly important role in the newest series of cases working their way up to the Supreme Court.
Since 1988, we have written, edited, and/or published seven books: Aborted Women, Silent No More; Making Abortion Rare: A Healing Strategy for A Divided Nation; The Jericho Plan: Breaking Down the Walls Which Prevent Post-Abortion Healing; Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting From Sexual Assault; Detrimental Effects of Abortion; Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion, and Giving Sorrow Words.
In addition, we have written, published, and distributed more than 70 editions of The Post-Abortion Review and distributed nearly 2 million copies of our newspaper insert Hope & Healing. We have also created and distributed countless articles, brochures, and fact sheets that have been reproduced and distributed by countless groups and individuals around the world.
LISTENING TO WOMEN WHO EXPERIENCED PREGNANCIES RESULTING FROM SEXUAL ASSAULT
We published the book Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting From Sexual Assault. This ground-breaking book was based on one of the only surveys ever done of women and girls who had experienced a pregnancy as a result of rape or incest.
Nearly 200 women shared their stories with us and/or filled out a survey about their experiences. While many people — including many who are otherwise opposed to abortion — believe that women who become pregnant as a result of sexual assault or abuse want or need abortions, few have ever bothered to ask the women themselves about their experiences.
The results of our survey showed that the majority of the women who had abortions had been emotionally harmed and that most of the abortions had been the result of pressure from those around them. Further, none of the women who gave birth reported regretting having done so. In fact, most of the women did not believe that abortion was a good solution for those in this situation.
The book resulted in the formation of the Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant by Sexual Assault (WPSA), a group of women who have petitioned Congress and state legislators to hold hearings where they can tell their stories and share the truth about abortion and sexual assault pregnancy.
ONLINE EDUCATION AND PERSONALIZED AID
We serve over 10 million pages of information per year to visitors of our websites at AfterAbortion.org, TheUnchoice.com, and AbortionRisks.org (which contains the largest online bibliography of studies on the physical and psychological impact of abortion on women). We also educate people through our YouTube Channel and email newsletter, as well as our online special reports highlighting key issues related to abortion.
Our sites are among the highest ranked by all the search engines for people searching terms such as “abortion risks” and “abortion healing.” At least once a week we hear from someone in crisis who is being encouraged or pressured to seek an abortion, or who is suffering from grief or trauma because of a past abortion.
While we don’t provide counseling services, every person in crisis who contacts us or leaves a comment on our web sites receives a personalized response with encouragement, information and a referral to groups that offer pregnancy help or post-abortion counseling services.
Most gratifying is the feedback we receive from those who avoided or prevented an abortion because of the material they found on our site. Fro example, Anne wrote:
I had a friend considering abortion so I sent her to your web site. She called me around two in the morning, crying. It changed her mind. Thanks so much!
Another young woman, Kara, posted on our web site that she was pregnant and being pressured to undergo an abortion. We reached out to her and also posted her request for help to our email list. After an outpouring of responses from our supporters that included words of encouragement, prayer, and offers of practical support and contacts for resources, Kara felt empowered to resist the pressure and continue the pregnancy. After the birth of her daughter, she posted:
Good day everyone! I gave birth to a beautiful girl last April 16. I’m so blessed it was normal. Thanks everyone for all your prayers. Our journey is just beginning; please let us be in your prayers. Thank you very much. Kara and Baby Artheia
Only God knows how many lives have been saved, and how many mothers and fathers have been able to resist encouragement or pressure to abort, and have been spared the loss of a child and a painful and often traumatic ordeal.But we know that our work and presence is helping to accomplish this through God’s grace.
We also rejoice in receiving updates from those who found their lives transformed as a result of receiving support and counseling after abortion. For example, one woman wrote:
I had worked through intensive healing during the first two years after my abortion. Now, seven years later, I am happily married to a wonderful man and we have a beautiful daughter. But abortion is something that always stays with you. Although I don’t feel it as intensely or as often, there are times when pain comes flooding back to me. At these times, I go on your web site and/or read your newsletter and it helps me so much. It reminds me that I am not alone and that I am ok. Thank you so much. You are angels sent from heaven.
Again, only God knows how many lives have been changed. But we know that we are fostering a healing environment where post-abortion grief and trauma is acknowledged and women and men are given hope and help to find healing and peace.
THE UNCHOICE AND CHURCH AWARENESS OUTREACH CAMPAIGNS
In response to the problem of widespread pressure, coercion, disinformation, professional negligence and even violence being used against women undergoing abortions, we developed The UnChoice web site and campaign.
Our information exposes the epidemic of unwanted and coerced abortions, and reveals the truth that abortion harms, not helps, women. This campaign gives post-abortion ministries, pregnancy centers, and pro-life groups with facts and information on this issue, and provides them with professionally prepared materials to help them educate others.
We also developed the Church Awareness Campaign, with the goal of teaching pastors and other church leaders about how to speak out and help those being urged or pressured to abort, to present the good news about post-abortion healing in their churches, and to encourage their members to create helping and healing opportunities within their families and community. Our information and educational materials have been downloaded for sharing with hundreds of faith leaders.
IN THE COURTS AND LEGISLATURES
Portions of our model legislation, the Prevention of Coerced and Unsafe Abortions Act, have been enacted in Nebraska, South Dakota and Missouri. We have also worked with malpractice attorneys, state attorneys general, and legislators to provide summaries of research and assistance to expert witnesses in regard to physical and mental health risks associated with abortion.
Our affidavits have been used in a number of federal court cases, and we filed two amicus briefs for the U.S. Supreme Court. In the latter, Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, was convinced that “[s]evere depression and loss of esteem can follow” an abortion and gave this as a reason for ruling that states may enact more laws intended to protect women’s mental health.
We are also petitioning Congress to hold hearings on the research on abortion’s effect on women’s mental health, which has never been carried out in the more than 30 years that have passed since the then-US Surgeon General first called for a national study on this issue.
YOU CAN HELP US CONTINUE THIS GOOD WORK
We’ve managed all this, and more, on an annual budget of less than $100,000 per year. That’s chicken feed compared to what Planned Parenthood, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, and others are spending to defend and promote abortion. But we’re the ones winning!
This is truly a David versus Goliath scenario. And every victory is due to people who have supported our lonely stand against these wealthy pro-abortion giants.
We hope we’ve told you enough to convince you that our work is worthy of your support. If so, please go here to find out how to make a donation to help us keep our efforts going. Or simply click the button below to make an one-time or recurring donation online, right now.
Thank you very much!
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