Without Pre-Abortion Screening Abortion Endangers Women’s Health

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 27, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Without Pre-Abortion Screening Abortion Endangers Women’s Health

by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
April 27, 2004

Springfield, IL (LifeNews.com) — New research suggests that women could avoid a lot of needless suffering through more effective pre-abortion screening.

According to researcher Dr. David Reardon, most abortion centers fail to screen for risk factors that can lead to negative psychological reactions to abortion.

Reardon’s research is based on a careful analysis of 63 medical studies identifying those risk factors linked to post-abortion depression and other abortion-related psychiatric illnesses.

"It appears that the cost of providing abortions has been kept low because individualized pre-abortion screening and counseling (have) been eliminated," Reardon said. Reardon is with the Elliot Institute, which monitors the after-effects of abortion on women.

"Instead of receiving personalized counseling, women face a brief, ‘one-size-fits-all’ intake process. By means of this ‘assembly-line’ processing, women are more efficiently slotted into tight surgical schedules" Reardon, director of the Illinois-based Elliot Institute, explained.

"But it also means that those women who would otherwise be identified as poor candidates for abortion are being exposed to unsafe abortions," Reardon said.

Reardon’s research appears in the latest issue of the Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy.

Extreme cost-cutting measures at abortion centers have led to a sharp reduction in counseling.

According to the New York Times, the cost of a typical first-trimester abortion costs around $300 — the same as it did in 1973. If the cost had risen at the rate of other health care services, the price would now run $2,250.

Numerous studies link abortion to increased rates of depression, suicide, substance abuse, and psychiatric illnesses.

Researchers already know what risk factors can lead to post-abortion problems, but screening has been extremely limited.

One of the most significant risk factors is when women feel pressured by other people — such as boyfriends, husbands, parents, or employers — to have abortions. In a number of cases, such women are going against their own maternal instincts or moral beliefs.

It is estimated that as many as 30 to 60 percent of all women undergoing abortions are coerced into making the decision.

With effective psychological counseling, these women might have the tools needed to resist pressure from others and make life-affirming choices for themselves and their children.

Post-abortive women often say that they would not have chosen abortion, if they believed that someone would have supported them in their decision to carry their babies to term.

For years, pregnancy resource centers have provided such support when friends and family members refused to do so.

A new Missouri law requires abortionists to evaluate patients "for indicators and contraindicators, risk factors, including any physical, psychological, or situational factors which would predispose the patient to or increase the risk of experiencing one or more adverse physical, emotional, or other health reactions."

Similar bills have been introduced in Mississippi. Such legislation is an effort to put a stop to abortions which threaten the emotional health of the mother.

If better pre-abortion screening were in place, the abortion rate is likely to fall, according to Reardon.

Reardon suggests that both judges and doctors should welcome such efforts.

"I can’t imagine how the courts could oppose these efforts to protect women from unnecessary, unwanted, and unsafe abortions," he explained.

"No doctor has a right, much less a duty, to perform a contraindicated abortion, especially when the woman hasn’t even been told that she is at a much greater risk of suffering negative reactions," Reardon said.

"Any court that upheld such a distorted right would set a precedent that would undermine the basis of all medical ethics. Even those judges who are most protective of easy access to abortion are unlikely to put the profit margins of the abortion industry ahead of the welfare of women," he added.

Related web sites:
Elliot Institute – https://www.afterabortion.org