Conflicts of Interest Shape Research: Abortion Studies Intrinsically Biased
deVeber Institute: Toronto, Canada (November 23, 2009) – The harm that is done to women’s health by abortion is being hidden in medical research, according to Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy, Senior Researcher specializing in the effects of abortion on women’s health with the deVeber Institute. She says that abortion research studies are intrinsically flawed. “Abortion studies which reveal negative effects of abortion are dubbed ‘methodologically flawed’, the results are buried, and the researchers don’t get funded.” In order to be funded or published, most abortion studies are required to start with the presumption that abortion is safe. The inherent bias affects what is released to the public.
Ring-Cassidy, a psychologist, notes that abortion studies will often, through attrition or intent, lose women who have had a painful abortion experience. This in turn devalues the sample, and affects the final results of the study. Since the women with negative experiences may not be represented, results based on the remaining sample are reported as showing little connection between induced abortion and future mental health problems. Yet clinicians are seeing women harmed by abortion.
Having the women tell their story through narratives gives validation to the women’s experience and confirms that abortion is not a benign event. “Feminist researchers and those involved in the study of women’s issues recognize that women’s narratives are central to understanding women’s experiences, but when it comes to abortion research these narratives are dismissed and an important research approach devalued,” Ring-Cassidy states. She also notes that the updated Women’s Health After Abortion, which will soon be available through the deVeber Institute, will use such narratives to contextualize the academic research.
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