Signs of Hope Legislation: Abortion Alternatives Sign and Mobile Website
Signs of Hope Legislation: Abortion Alternatives Sign and Mobile Website

“Signs of Hope” legislation requires abortion clinics to post 16 x 20 signs that give women information about their rights and alternatives, and features a web address that converts to a mobile format when it is accessed by an iPhone or any mobile device.Studies show that 64% of American women felt pressured into abortion, and that they often don’t know their rights and alternatives. The “Signs of Hope” inform women that they can’t be forced to abort, that the father must provide child support even if he’s offered to pay for the abortion, that adoptive parents may pay costs of prenatal care and childbirth, and that there are many agencies able to help the women during and after the pregnancy.

It’s Official: The Louisiana Department of Health has Published the First Signs of Hope and the Interactive Website (

Signs of Hope Legislation: Woman’s Right to Know Signs with Website/Smartphone Resources

“Every 36 seconds in America a woman lays her body down forced to choose abortion out of a lack of practical resources and emotional support. Abortion is a reflection that society has failed women.”

Patricia Heaton, Emmy Award Winner, Feminists for Life Honorary Chair

“Think of it — if you’re sidewalk counseling, you can show a woman info about fetal development and abortion alternatives on your phone. [The BDF Signs of Hope law] should be a model for the nation.”
— Edward Mechmann, attorney with the Respect Life Office, Archdiocese of New York, and author of Varia blog.

NRO’s Kathyrn Jean Lopez calls BDF’s Signs of Hope legislation a “Digital New-Feminist Revolution”.

Blog about BDF Signs of Hope Act highlights a “love letter to women and their unborn children.”

Women deserve love and commitment. But a tragic consequence of Roe is that it enables men to use women and then subtly or overtly coerce abortion. Often it is an employer, friend or parent who pressures the woman, who often does not know her rights and alternatives. Studies show that 64% of American women felt pressured into abortion by others who did not welcome her child.

The innovative BDF drafted “Signs of Hope” legislation, enacted for the first time with the signature of Governor Jindal on July 6, 2011, addresses this in two ways:

  • Requires a unique sign to be posted in abortion clinics informing women 1) they can’t be forced to abort against their will, 2) that the father must provide child support, even if he has offered to pay for the abortion, 3) that adoptive parents may pay costs of prenatal care and childbirth, and 4) that there are many public and private resources to help during and after pregnancy as listed on a DHH website/smartphone address maintained by the state department of health.
  • Creates a DHH website and mobile/smartphone platform that must be listed on the sign to deliver info about free ultrasound, pregnancy resources, abortion health risks, and the development of the unborn child. In addition to being posted on the sign, the web address must be given by phone or email at the initial contact seeking an abortion appointment. This legislation enhances current Woman’s Right to Know laws by requiring the posting of signs and the development by health departments of abortion alternative websites/smartphone platforms.

Interview with Dorinda Bordlee regarding Signs of Hope legislation

LEGISLATORS and POLICY LEADERS: Contact Bioethics Defense Fund for resources on our innovative model legislation, fact sheets, and a one page legal memorandum. This bill is designed to amend current Women’s Right to Know laws.

Dorinda C. Bordlee
Senior Counsel
(504) 231-7234

The BDF “Signs of Hope” legislation enhances current Woman’s Right to Know laws by requiring the posting of signs in abortion clinics that give life-saving information, along with a URL ( that leads to an abortion alternatives website/smartphone platforms as developed by the state’s department of health. BDF is now consulting with La. Secretary of Health Bruce Greenstein on the development of the Louisiana website/smartphone platform.

Read the BDF-drafted “Signs of Hope” law that includes the required text that must be on the sign. Below is a picture of Louisiana’s sign with language enacted by 2011 La. HB 636. The sign’s language was written by BDF’s Dorinda Bordlee, and supported in committee by the La. Department of Health as part of Governor Jindal’s legislative package. The bill was signed into law by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on July 6, 2011.

EGISLATORS & POLICY LEADERS: BDF policy lawyers are able to provide free legal assistance to help you hang a message of hope on the walls of abortion clinics in YOUR state. Contact BDF Senior Counsel Dorinda Bordlee at or (504) 231-7234.

The BDF “Signs of Hope” legislation is consistent with Justice Kennedy’s language on behalf of the majority in the most recent U.S. Supreme Court case Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 (2007):

“Respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child. The Act recognizes this reality as well.” Id., at 159.

“[I]t seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained. Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow.” Id., at 159.

“In a decision so fraught with emotional consequence some doctors may prefer not to disclose precise details of the means that will be used, confining themselves to the required statement of risks that the procedure entails.” Id.

“It is, however, precisely this lack of information concerning the way in which the fetus will be killed that is of legitimate concern to the State. The State has an interest in ensuring so grave a choice is well informed.” Id.

“And third is the principle that the State has legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the fetus …”. Id., at 145 (citing Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 846 (1992))(emphasis added).

“Casey reaffirmed these governmental objectives. The government may use its voice and its regulatory authority to show its profound respect for the life within the woman.” Id., at 157.

“A central premise of the [Casey] opinion was that the Court’s precedents after Roe had undervalued the State’s interest in potential life. The plurality opinion of [Casey] indicated the ‘fact that a law which serves a valid purpose, one not designed to strike at the right itself, has the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate it’. This was not an idle assertion.” Id., at 157-158.

A Tidal Wave of Published Data
More Than 30 Studies in Last Five Years
Show Negative Impact of Abortion on Women
Priscilla Coleman, Ph.D.

On Sunday, November 7th, the Washington Post published an opinion piece by Dr. Brenda Major, titled The Big Lie about Abortion and Mental Health. I would like to offer another perspective on dishonesty permeating the scientific study and dissemination of information pertaining to abortion and mental health.

Dr. Major is absolutely correct: an informed choice regarding abortion must be based on accurate information. For abortion providers to offer an unbiased and valid synopsis of the scientific literature on increased risks of abortion, the information must include depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as suicide ideation and behaviors.

Over 30 studies have been published in just the last five years and they add to a body of literature comprised of hundreds of studies published in major medicine and psychology journals throughout the world. The list is provided below and the conscientious reader is encouraged to check the studies out. No lies … just scientifically-derived information that individual academics, several major professional organizations, and abortion providers have done their best to hide and distort in recent years.

Like Dr. Major, I too am a tenured, full professor at a well-respected U.S. university, and I too have published peer-reviewed scientific articles in reputable journals. In fact, my publication record far exceeds that of Dr. Major on the topic of abortion and mental health. I am not alone in my opinion, which has been voiced by prominent researchers in Great Britain, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, the U.S., and elsewhere.

As a group of researchers who in 2008 published nearly 50 peer-reviewed articles indicating abortion is associated with negative psychological outcomes, six colleagues and I sent a petition letter to the American Psychological Association (APA) criticizing their methods and conclusions as described in their Task Force Report on Abortion and Mental Health.

The opinion piece by Brenda Major following on the heels of the highly-biased APA report is just the latest effort to divert attention from a tidal wave of sound published data on the emotional consequences of abortion. The evidence is accumulating, despite socio-political agendas to keep the truth from the academic journals and ultimately from women to insure that the big business of abortion continues unimpeded. The literature now echoes the voices of millions of women for whom abortion was not a liberating, health promoting “choice.” A conservative estimate from the best available data is 20 to 30 percent of women who undergo an abortion will experience serious and/or prolonged negative consequences.

Any interpretation of the available research that does not acknowledge the strong evidence now available in the professional literature represents a conscious choice to ignore basic principles of scientific integrity.

The human fallout to such a choice by the APA and like-minded colleagues is misinformed professionals, millions of women struggling in isolation to make sense of a past abortion, thousands who will undergo an abortion today without the benefit of known risks, and millions who will make this often life-altering decision tomorrow without the basic right of informed consent, which is routinely extended for all other elective surgeries in the U.S.

In publishing Major’s opinion without soliciting other voices on the topic, the Washington Post has perpetuated a serious injustice.

(published 11/16/2010)

List of Studies

  • Bradshaw, Z., & Slade, P. (2005). The relationship between induced abortion, attitudes toward sexuality, and sexual problems. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 20, 390-406.
  • Brockington, I.F. (2005). Post-abortion psychosis, Archives of Women’s Mental Health 8: 53-54.
  • Broen, A. N., Moum, T., Bodtker, A. S., & Ekeberg, O. (2006). Predictors of anxiety and depression following pregnancy termination: A longitudinal five-year follow-up study. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 85: 317-23.
  • Broen, A. N., Moum, T., Bodtker, A. S., & Ekeberg, O. (2005). Reasons for induced abortion and their relation to women’s emotional distress: A prospective, two-year follow-up study. General Hospital Psychiatry 27:36-43.
  • Broen, A. N., Moum, T., Bodtker, A. S., & Ekeberg, O. (2005). The course of mental health after miscarriage and induced abortion: a longitudinal, five-year follow-up study. BMC Medicine 3(18).
  • Coleman, P. K. (2005). Induced Abortion and increased risk of substance use: A review of the evidence. Current Women’s Health Reviews 1, 21-34.
  • Coleman, P. K. (2006). Resolution of unwanted pregnancy during adolescence through abortion versus childbirth: Individual and family predictors and psychological consequences. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 35, 903-911.
  • Coleman, P. K. (2009). The Psychological Pain of Perinatal Loss and Subsequent Parenting Risks: Could Induced Abortion be more Problematics than Other Forms of Loss? Current Women’s Health Reviews 5, 88-99.
  • Coleman, P. K., Coyle, C. T., & Rue, V.M. (2010). Late-Term Elective Abortion and Susceptibility to Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms, Journal of Pregnancy vol. 2010, Article ID 130519.
  • Coleman, P. K., Coyle, C.T., Shuping, M., & Rue, V. (2009), Induced Abortion and Anxiety, Mood, and Substance Abuse Disorders: Isolating the Effects of Abortion in the National Comorbidity Survey. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 43, 770- 776.
  • Coleman, P. K., Maxey, C. D., Rue, V. M., & Coyle, C. T. (2005). Associations between voluntary and involuntary forms of perinatal loss and child maltreatment among low-income mothers. Acta Paediatrica, 94 (10),–76-1483.
  • Coleman, P. K., & Maxey, D. C., Spence, M. Nixon, C. (2009). The choice to abort among mothers living under ecologically deprived conditions: Predictors and consequences. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction 7, 405-422.
  • Coleman, P. K., Reardon, D. C., & Cougle, J. R. (2005). Substance use among pregnant women in the context of previous reproductive loss and desire for current pregnancy. British Journal of Health Psychology, 10 (2), 255-268.
  • Coleman, P. K., Reardon, D. C., Strahan, T., & Cougle, J. R. (2005). The psychology of abortion: A review and suggestions for future research. Psychology and Health, 20, 237-271.
  • Coleman, P.K., Rue, V.M. & Coyle, C.T. (2009). Induced abortion and intimate relationship quality in the Chicago Health and Social Life Survey. Public Health, 123, 331-338.DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2009.01.005.
  • Coleman, P.K., Rue, V.M., Coyle, C.T. & Maxey, C.D. (2007). Induced abortion and child-directed aggression among mothers of maltreated children. Internet Journal of Pediatrics and Neonatology, 6 (2), ISSN: 1528-8374.
  • Coleman, P. K., Rue, V., & Spence, M. (2007). Intrapersonal processes and post-abortion relationship difficulties: A review and consolidation of relevant literature. Internet Journal of Mental Health, 4 (2).
  • Coleman, P.K., Rue, V.M., Spence, M. & Coyle, C.T. (2008). Abortion and the sexual lives of men and women: Is casual sexual behavior more appealing and more common after abortion? International Journal of Health and Clinical Psychology, 8 (1), 77-91.
  • Cougle, J. R., Reardon, D. C., & Coleman, P. K. (2005). 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.
  • Coyle, C.T., Coleman, P.K. & Rue, V.M. (2010). Inadequate preabortion counseling and decision conflict as predictors of subsequent relationship difficulties and psychological stress in men and women. Traumatology, 16 (1), 16-30. DOI:10.1177/1534765609347550.
  • Dingle, K., et al. (2008). Pregnancy loss and psychiatric disorders in young women: An Australian birth cohort study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 193, 455-460.
  • Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, L. J., & Boden, J.M. (2009). Reactions to abortion and subsequent mental health. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 195, 420-426.
  • Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, L. J., & Ridder, E. M. (2006). Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 16-24.
  • Gissler, M., et al. (2005). Injury deaths, suicides and homicides associated with pregnancy, Finland 1987-2000. European Journal of Public Health, 15, 459-463.
  • Hemmerling, F., Siedentoff, F., & Kentenich, H. (2005). Emotional impact and acceptability of medical abortion with mifepristone: A German experience. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 26, 23-31.
  • Mota, N.P. et al (2010). Associations between abortion, mental disorders, and suicidal behaviors in a nationally representative sample. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 55(4), 239-246.
  • Pedersen, W. (2008). Abortion and depression: A population-based longitudinal study of young women. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 36, No. 4, 424-428.
  • Pedersen, W. (2007). Childbirth, abortion and subsequent substance use in young women: a population-based longitudinal study. Addiction, 102 (12), 1971-78.
  • Reardon, D. C., & Coleman, P. K. (2006). Relative treatment for sleep disorders following abortion and child delivery: A prospective record-based study. Sleep, 29 (1), 105-106.
  • Rees, D. I. & Sabia, J. J. (2007). The Relationship between Abortion and Depression: New Evidence from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Medical Science Monitor. 13(10): 430-436.
  • Suliman et al. (2007) Comparison of pain, cortisol levels, and psychological distress in women undergoing surgical termination of pregnancy under local anaesthesia versus intravenous sedation. BMC Psychiatry, 7 (24), p.1-9.

Dr. Coleman is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University. A major concentration of her research has been the psychological outcomes among women who have experienced abortion.

Here are a few links to press releases and news reports about the signing of the first in the nation ‘Sign of Hope’:

Evening of This Life Blog highlights a “love letter to women and their unborn children.”

Gannett, “Pregnant women find abortion alternatives”
“A culture of life is more than just words,” From remarks of Governor Jindal during signing ceremony of La. HB 636.

PRLog, “Innovative Law Requires “Signs of Hope” in Abortion Clinics.”
BDF-drafted model legislation, enacted for the first time in Louisiana, uses iPhones and Signs to help avert abortion.

Bill Advances to Require Signs at Abortion Clinics
The Advocate, June 1, 2011. Rep. Frank Hoffmann and Dorinda Bordlee display a prototype of the BDF Sign of Hope in Senate Health & Welfare committee.