Women Want to Know of Abortion Risks Beforehand, New Survey Shows

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 30, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Women Want to Know of Abortion Risks Beforehand, New Survey Shows Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 30
, 2006

Springfield, IL (LifeNews.com) — A new survey shows women considering an abortion want to know information about the risks and dangers associated with it beforehand. The survey stands in stark contrast to the position abortion advocates take in opposition to legislation allowing women to know the potential medical problems abortion presents.

The Journal of Medical Ethics published the results of the survey of 187 women in July.

The survey polled women seeking obstetric and gynecological services at a Wisconsin women’s health clinic and they were asked to give their opinions about receiving information for elective medical procedures.

In the survey they ranked the kind of information they would want beforehand and ranked the severity of different kinds of complications form a medical procedure ranging from a headache to death.

The results showed 95 percent of patients wished to be informed of all the risks of a procedure and 65 percent would want to know all of the possible alternatives beforehand — not just those alternatives a doctor presents.

In the ranking of risks, women placed mental and emotional health consequences very high on the list — only slightly below the risk of death or heart disease.

Dr. David Reardon, director of the Elliot Institute and one of co-authors of the study, said the finding may be especially important vis-a-vis abortion decisions since recent peer-reviewed studies have linked abortion to increased rates of mental health problems.

Some problems coming from an abortion, according to various studies, include suicidal behavior, clinical depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and sleep disorders.

"Doctors should anticipate that most women desire information on every potential risk, even risks that doctors may judge to be less serious or inconsequentially rare, and they will generally consider this information to be relevant to their decisions regarding elective procedures," the authors wrote in the study.

Reardon, in a statement sent to LifeNews.com, said the survey "demonstrates that women have a high level of interest in being informed of any risk that is statistically associated with the procedure, including psychological risks."

While abortion businesses may regard some abortion risks as relatively minor, Dr. Reardon said women don’t regard them that way.

"It also reveals that while some experts may consider some associations, such as a 10 percent higher risk of breast cancer, as relatively unimportant, most women would consider it to be very important to their decision making process," he said.

Reardon also said the study refutes the claim that abortion practitioners should withhold information about studies identifying abortion risks simply because he believes that future studies may someday disprove the earlier findings.

"Our survey shows that most women don’t want doctors to screen which information they are told about risks," he said. "They want to judge the evidence for themselves."

Reardon concluded that the study showed women "clearly prefer to be fully informed about all possible complications, even if abortion providers insist that the causal links between abortion and these statistically linked complications have yet to be fully proven to the abortionist’s satisfaction."

Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a professor at Bowling Green State University, was another one of the authors of the new study.

Citation: PK Coleman, DC Reardon, MB Lee, "Women’s preferences for information and complication seriousness ratings related to elective medical procedures," Journal of Medical Ethics, 32:435-438 (2006).

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