The Risks of Choice
Studies Document the Physical and Emotional Dangers of Abortion

The Post-Abortion Review
Vol. 8, No. 3, Jul-Sept 2000
Amy R. Sobie
The Elliot Institute
Reproduced with Permission

Population controllers have long insisted that abortion is healthier for women than childbirth. A host of studies examining the effects of abortion, however, have proved otherwise. Women who have abortions often face increased physical and emotional problems, including substance abuse, mental disorders, impaired fertility, pregnancy loss, and breast cancer. This article will examine the various studies and what they say about the risks of abortion.

Fatal Complications

Even though most abortion-related deaths are not officially reported as such,(1) legal abortion is reported to be the fifth leading cause of maternal death in the U.S.(2) The most recent-and best documented-study on abortion-related deaths to date is a 1997 government-funded study from Finland which showed that women who abort are four times more likely to die within a year than women who give birth. By extending their scope beyond the very narrow time frame that is examined by most post-abortion studies, the researchers were able to get a better look at how abortion truly affects women's lives. The results clearly showed that compared to women who carry to term, women who aborted in the year prior to their deaths were:

Short-Term Complications

Abortion has also been linked to a number of short and long-term physical problems. Immediate complications can include uterine perforation, infection, excessive bleeding, embolism, anesthesia complications, convulsions, hemorrhage, cervical injury, endotoxic shock, fever, vomiting, and Rh sensitization. Long-term problem include infertility, problems with future pregnancies, certain types of cancer, and lower overall general health.(4)

Infection is one of the most common abortion complications, yet many clinics do not routinely test for or treat infections.(5) This is despite the fact that even some pro-abortion advocates have admitted that abortion can cause infection. For instance, in an article on "do it yourself" abortions, Planned Parenthood of California spokesperson Michele McDevitt warned that "any time the uterine area is invaded there's a possibility of infection."(6) Ironically, this is coming from the same organization that insists that abortion is safe as long as a woman pays a clinic to do it.

Infection can be even more devastating if the woman fails to seek treatment or if the clinic does not test for the existence of infection prior to the abortion. One study found that women who had untreated chlamydia infections at the time of their abortions had a 72 percent risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease compared to 8 percent of women who were treated prior to their abortions.(7) Another study found that women with a chlamydia infection who delayed seeking treatment for three or more days from the onset of symptoms were six times more likely to develop infertility problems than those who sought treatment right away.(8)

Even when women do seek treatment right away, infections can still lead to long-term damage. Younger women who have not had a previous full-term pregnancy, for example, don't respond as well to antibiotic treatments as older women who have previously given birth to a child.(9)

When Cancer Strikes

Approximately one in eight women will have breast cancer in their life time. An estimated 43,500 women die each year from this disease, with more than 175,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer being diagnosed each year.(10)

Studies on the abortion-breast cancer link have been dismissed or ignored by the abortion industry and the secular media. But researchers have found that by interrupting the growth of cells in the woman's breasts during the first trimester of pregnancy, abortion may increase her risk of breast cancer.

Dr. Joel Brind, a leading expert on the abortion-breast cancer link, conducted a meta-analysis of 23 published reports on breast cancer and abortion, 18 of which documented a link between abortion and breast cancer. Brind and his fellow researchers concluded that women who aborted their first pregnancies faced a 30-50 percent higher risk of breast cancer. Seven out of ten studies also showed that women who had multiple abortions had a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who had undergone only one abortion.(11)

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