The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research conducts and disseminates research on topics connected to human life in its biological, social and ethical dimensions. These topics are selected for study depending on emerging medical, technological and social developments. In undertaking this work the Institute believes that a sense of the inherent value and dignity of human life and of the human person as an end and not a means is a foundational perspective to bring to bear on its work.

The Institute's research may be original or may consist of reviews of existing literature. In each case the Institute's work is to be of the highest academic quality, though accessible to the general public.

From the Director's Desk

A missing factor in preterm birth?

The Canadian Institute for Health Information recently released a report "Too Early, Too Small:  A Profile of Small Babies Across Canada." 

Dr. L.L. deVeber M.D. FRCP(C) questioned:

"I wonder if the Canadian Institute for Health Information looked at the effect of previous induced abortions in their study, since it is well established by many reported studies that the incidence of very low birth weight babies is increased four-fold following induced abortion."

In fact, the report did not mention previous induced abortions.

However, a recent review by Deirdre J. Murphy, MD MRCOG, "Epidemiology and environmental factors in preterm labour," stated:

"Induced abortion has been associated with very preterm delivery (<33 weeks) in the French regional EPIPAGE study (OR 1.5, 95% CU 1.1-2.0)[27] and this was confirmed by the International EUROPOP study across ten European countries.  The strength of association increased with decreasing gestational age and was consistent across countries with varying rates of induced abortions."

See Murphy's full review attached to this post.

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On October 2, 2009, the deVeber Institute hosted a one-day conference

"Reproductive Decisions and Women's Well-Being"

Law prohibiting abortion would work

In the National Post: Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Re: Why We Need Legal Abortion, letter to the editor, Feb. 13.


Dr. Gail Erlick Robinson repeats the myth that women who are denied a legal abortion will simply resort to an illegal one. Yet, evidence from a number of countries calls this into question. Ireland and Poland both have strong laws restricting induced abortion. And even though some Irish and Polish women seek abortions in other countries, the overall abortion rate in Ireland and Poland remains low.


Mental Health after Abortion - 2008 Articles

From New Zealand:

Fergusson DM, Horwood JL, Broden JM. 2008.  Abortion and mental health disorders: Evidence from a 30 year longitudinal study.  The British Journal of Psychiatry 193: 444-451.

From the United States:

Coleman PK, Coyle CT, Shuping M, Rue VM. 2008.  Induced abortion and anxiety, mood and substance abuse disorders:  Isolating the effects of abortion in the national comorbidity surveyJournal of Psychiatric Research. Accepted 21 October 2008.

Charles VE, Polis CB, Sridhara SK, Blum RW. 2008.  Abortion and long term mental health outcomes:  a systematic review of the evidence.  Contraception.  78:  436-450.

From Australia:

Dingle K, Alati R, Clavarino A, Najman JM, Williams GM. 2008. Pregnancy loss and psychiatric disorders in young women:  an Australian birth cohort study.  The British Journal of Psychiatry.  193: 455-460.

From Great Britian:

Casey P, Oates M, Jones I, Cantwell R. 2008.  Invited commentaries on abortion and mental health disordersThe British Journal of Psychiatry.  193: 452-454.

Reports and Positions:

The Royal College of Psychiatrists' Position statement on Women's Mental Health in Relation to Induced Abortion.  2008.  Go to statement.

Report of the APA (American Psychological Association) Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion.  2008.  Go to report.

Caring for the Disabled at the Time of Death

Joys, Challenges, Sorrows at End of Life

Three speakers emphasized to a full house both the joys and sorrows that accompany the caregiver as they journey with the dying. The event was “Compassionate End-of-Life Care for Adults with Developmental Disabilities”, an evening co-sponsored by the deVeber Institute and L'Arche Toronto, and held at the L'Arche Gathering Place in Toronto on January 29. 

Susan Morgan, a chaplain, spoke about her personal experiences in ministering to the dying, and expressed her concern about when people “retreat” from those who are dying. She insisted on the importance of “presence”, reminding her listeners that their role is not only to be doing when attending to a dying person, but also just to be with them, sometimes even in silence.