Women Deserve Better: Complications of Legal Abortion
by Mary Fisk
Issues For Life Topic Page
The physical and emotional toll of abortion on women was explored by Lorna Cvetkovich, M.D., in a presentation on Sunday, October 26, 2008, in the Christian Formation Center Library.
Dr. Cvetkovich, an obstetrician and gynecologist, reviewed a compilation of data from the Association of American Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists that indicate substantial negative effects on women that are often unreported in the scientific and general media.
Short-term Medical Complications
These include pain as well as the risks of an embolism, retained fetal tissue, anesthesia, and uterine perforation; they also include death. She cited reports from a Danish Registry of 56,000 women that indicate complications occur in 5 percent of cases.
“It is a big Lie that abortion is safer than childbirth,” she said. The Lie is based on faulty data, the result of several factors: the data are collected by the abortion providers themselves; the data reporting is voluntary, with no government-mandated uniform reporting or review; deaths due to such events as an embolism are not reported as caused by abortion; families and hospitals often conceal the true cause of the hospitalization.
Subsequent pregnancies are at increased risk of premature birth or miscarriage because of a weakening of the cervix. One 2005 study of 1943 women in France stated, “Women with a history of induced abortion were at higher risk of very preterm delivery than those with no such history.” (BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 112(4):437)
Other elevated reproductive risks include placenta previa, ectopic pregnancy, and pre-eclampsia. Some studies have suggested a link between breast cancer and women, particularly in cases where the aborted pregnancy is the first pregnancy.
The elevated risks are not only to physical complications. Psychological problems found in women who had abortions include repeat abortions, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide, child abuse, eating disorders, and substance abuse.
Dr. Cvetkovich cited a Medi-Cal Study of 173,000 low-income women who had abortions that showed they were at significantly higher risk of death than women who had given birth (Reardon, Ney, Scheuren, Cougle, Coleman, and Strahan. Southern Medical Journal, August 2002. 95(8):834-41.)
Researchers discovered that women who had abortions were almost twice as likely to die in the following two years, and the elevated mortality rate persisted over at least eight years. Over this period studied, women who aborted had a 153 percent higher risk of death from suicide, and 82 percent higher risk of death from accidents, and a 44 percent higher risk of death from natural causes.
An earlier government-funded study of 9,129 women in 1997 by Finland’s National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health (STAKES) had similar findings. Compared to women who carried to term, women who aborted in the year prior to their deaths were 60 percent more likely to die of natural causes, seven times more likely to die of suicide, four times more likely to die of injuries related to accidents, and 14 times more likely to die from homicide. Researchers believe the higher rate of deaths related to accidents and homicide may be linked to higher rates of suicidal or risk-taking behavior.
In most cases, the risk increases with the number of abortions.
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