Institute of Reproductive Grief Care

Statement in Response to

Texas Ruling 2:22-CV-223-Z

On April 7, 2023, a federal judge in Texas issued a ruling on the medication abortion drug mifepristone, suspending the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of it.

Within his judgment was a reference to a study that was created in coordination with the Institute of Reproductive Grief Care, related to anonymous posts on our site This inclusion has driven national interest in this three-year old study.

It has been implied that the 98 posts used in this study were not a representative sample of women who have obtained abortions.

We agree.

At the Institute of Reproductive Grief Care, we help those who experience any kind of reproductive loss including miscarriage, stillbirth, infertility, early infant death and abortion. We provided these posts to the research team to work together to better understand how women, who chose to use our website, shared their private thoughts about their medication abortion experience.

No qualitative study can be generalized to the population as a whole; particularly a study like this one, which included 98 posts (only 98 of the 1500 posts specifically mentioned this type of abortion) by anonymous women who self-selected to use the site as a means to privately share their personal feelings.

Within the study, the researchers themselves cautioned against generalizing their findings:

“As with all scholarship there are limitations. Most notably, there is a lack of generalizability due to the limited scope: we only analyzed women’s medication abortion narratives anonymously posted to one website… the anonymity of women’s blog submissions to the website did not allow us to gather and report the social demographics of the women who anonymously shared their abortion narratives, which again hinders the generalizability of our findings. Finally, the population of women who write an anonymous post about their abortion experience may be different from those who do not. All of these limitations provide avenues for future research.”

The reality of the anonymous posts on our site, including the posts used in the data sets, is that feelings after abortion vary widely. As the study says, many express a combination of “relief vs. regret.” Some do not express any regret at all.

Social commentary often insists that people feel one way or another, with no middle space. Nuanced responses tend to be ignored. However the nuanced reaction is much more common than the extreme reaction.

We have seen, time and time again, individuals sharing their own abortion stories, only to have their feelings ignored and disregarded in an attempt to get them to repeat or repackage their story to reinforce a predefined position.

We urge everyone – regardless of their beliefs – to recognize that this behavior is disrespectful and exploitative. We should all be responsible and respectful of the human feelings involved in this deeply personal and private experience.

When working at the Institute, we agree to leave our own personal viewpoints at the door, and come together to provide a safe space for anyone processing any kind of emotion after any kind of reproductive loss.

We are passionate about protecting this safe space for the people who use our websites. They are looking for a place to be heard, with kindness and without judgment. Some of these stories are distressing – with tales of violence, abuse and pain – and are hard to read. All of them deserve protection from being used manipulatively.

It is not our place to tell people how to feel; it is to meet them where they are, and let them know that there is a place where they can safely express their feelings, and make sure they know that they are not alone.

Please recognize that there needs to be a space where we can leave our opinions and self-interest behind, to give people the basic human right to feel exactly how they want to feel about their own personal experiences with reproductive loss.

We agree and acknowledge the limitations of this study.

We ask that all sides of the political spectrum uncouple this study with political debate.

Please note that this response is from the Institute of Reproductive Grief Care and does not reflect the opinions or thoughts of the researchers who created the study, nor their organizations or affiliations.