The Elliot Institute News
From the Leader in Post-Abortion Research
Vol. 7, No. 16 -- September 26, 2008


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Argentine Judge Rejects Abortion
for 12-Year-Old Rape Victim
on Psychological Grounds

Evidence Shows Girl Likely to Be Harmed,  Not Helped, By Abortion

A judge in Argentina has ruled that a 12-year-old girl who became pregnant through rape cannot be forced by her mother to have an abortion after hearing evidence that abortion could cause her emotional harm.

According to, the judge rejected claims by the girl's mother that continuing the pregnancy would  cause psychological damage to her daughter, concluding that abortion could result in irreversible harm. The girl had been raped by her stepfather and the court ruled that she was to be released from a hospital where she has been placed and put in the custody of her maternal grandmother.

Justice Germán Ferrer noted that expert witnesses testified that "after analyzing the whole situation, above all the psychological and social aspects of the child, [the experts] came to the conclusion that today the interruption of the pregnancy could produce a personality disturbance in the child that could result in irreversible psychiatric pathologies such as psychosis."

Ferrer stated that although having a baby is "not the ideal in a child of this age, today it is the lesser of evils" because her pregnancy will give her time to get the support she needs.

Indeed, evidence suggests that, in addition to causing the death of her unborn child, abortion is likely to harm, not help, this girl and others like her. One of the only surveys ever done of women who became pregnant through sexual assault found that:

  • Nearly 80 percent of the women who aborted a pregnancy conceived in sexual assault reported that abortion had been the wrong solution.

  • Most women who had abortions said that abortion only increased the trauma they were experiencing.

  • In many cases, the victim faced strong pressure or demands to abort and in some cases, especially those involving teenage girls, was even forced to have the abortion by others.

  • None of the women who gave birth to a child conceived in sexual assault expressed regret or wished they had aborted instead.1

Further the survey found that in almost all the cases where the victim became pregnant through incest, abortion was chosen by the perpetrator to cover up the incest and the victim rarely, if ever, had a say in the matter.


And studies of women who had unintended first pregnancies found that women who aborted were more likely than those who carried to term to have subsequent depression,2 anxiety3 and substance abuse.4 Other research found that teens who abort an unintended pregnancy are more likely to experience negative mental health outcomes than are teens who carry the unintended pregnancy to term.5


The best available evidence, therefore, contradicts the claim that women who carry an unintended pregnancy to term will suffer as much or more than women who abort. Aborting women are more negatively affected. On the other hand, not a single study has shown that abortion is beneficial to women.


Finally, studies that examine risk factors for psychological problems after abortion have found that adolescents, women with a history of sexual assault or abuse, and those who have a second- or third-trimester abortion are all more likely to have difficulty coping after abortion. Teens are six times more likely to commit suicide after abortion than are adult women who abort, and more likely to have other emotional and physical complications.


One woman, who was impregnated by her stepfather at the age of 12 and forced to have an abortion, wrote in the book Victims and Victors:

"Throughout the years I have been depressed, suicidal, furious, outraged, lonely, and have felt a sense of loss . . . The abortion which was to 'be in my best interest' just has not been. Problems are not ended by abortion, but only made worse."



Download our free fact sheets: Teens Abortion Risks and The Hard Cases: New Facts, New Answers.




1. Reardon, Makimaa & Sobie, Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2000) 19-22.

2. Reardon and Cougle, “Depression and Unintended Pregnancy in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth,” op. cit. (ch. 17, cite 23)3. J.R. Cougle, et. al., “Generalized Anxiety Following Unintended Pregnancies Resolved Through Childbirth and Abortion: A Cohort Study of the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth,” Journal of Anxiety Disorders 19:137-142 (2005).
4. D.C. Reardon, et. al., “Substance use associated with unintended pregnancy outcomes in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth,” American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 26(1):369-383, (2004).
5. PK Coleman, “Resolution of Unwanted Pregnancy During Adolescence Through Abortion Versus Childbirth: Individual and Family Predictors and Psychological Consequences,” Journal of Youth and Adolescence (2006).






Woman Granted New Immigration Hearing After Telling Court of China’s Forced Abortion Campaign

A U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that a Chinese woman who could face sterilization if she is deported is to be given a new immigration hearing that could allow her to stay in the United States.

Newspaper reports said that Shao Yu Yuan, who lives with her husband and two daughters in Arkansas, fears being being returned to China because officials there could sterilize her for having more than one child.

Yuan told the court that she had heard from relatives in China that many women in her province were forced to undergo abortions and/or sterilizations. Time magazine reported in 2005 that Fuijan Province, where Yuan is from, is carrying out "one of the most brutal sterilization campaigns of recent years."

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled that Yuan had a right to a new hearing under the Convention Against Torture.




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Previous Editions of the The Elliot Institute News Available Online


We're pleased to announce that all the previous editions of The Elliot Institute News for 2008 are now available online at You will find:

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You can also find many back issues (up to 2003) of The Post-Abortion Review online at We are continuing to update these as well.






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