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(217) 525-8202

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PO Box 7348
Springfield, IL 62791-7348

David C. Reardon is a longtime anti-abortion activist, and director of the Elliot Institute for Social Sciences Research, a nonprofit based in Springfield, Illinois, which he founded in 1988. His work has been cited in multiple court cases, including by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in his 2007 opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart, in which the Court upheld the federal “partial-birth abortion” ban. Major media outlets have also cited Reardon as an authority for the claim that women suffer psychological harm from abortion, even if that harm occurs on a subconscious level.

Reardon received his BA in electrical and electronics engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1978, his PhD in biomedical ethics from Pacific Western University-Hawaii. (Pacific Western University in Hawaii was a correspondence school that the State of Hawaii shut down in 2006 following federal and state investigations into whether the school was essentially a diploma mill.)

He contends that abortion causes depression, but an extensive literature review by the American Psychological Association found no evidence for this claim. There is evidence, however, that stigma and need for secrecy surrounding abortion can have a negative effect on a woman’s mental health.

Reardon’s testimony on the theory that most women are coerced into having abortions, helped influence a 2005 report produced by the primarily anti-choice South Dakota legislative task force, which led to the passage of a 2005 “informed consent” abortion law (HB 1166), whereby physicians must tell women seeking abortions that they will be at risk of depression and suicide.

That report also influenced a 2012 law (HB 1217), which requires physicians to interview women seeking an abortion, asking them if they have been coerced. The part of the law that requires women be interviewed by anti-choice advocates at a so-called crisis pregnancy center—a facility set up to talk women out of having abortions—is still tied up in litigation.

For more information on Reardon from RH Reality Check‘s False Witnesses Gallery, click here.