an After abortion

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Monday, October 25, 2004

Shredding The Myths about Abortion’s “Benefits” to Women

Myth #7 (of 15), another Q&A from Planned Parenthood’s webpage, “Choosing Abortion - Questions And Answers:”

7. “Does an early abortion cause premature birth or low infant birth weight in future pregnancies? No.
Does an early abortion make miscarriage more likely in the future? No.
Does having several abortions affect future pregnancies? No. Abortions do not make it harder to carry a pregnancy to term.”
Our now-prolife friend Ashli, had an abortion which so damaged her cervix [scroll down to “Thursday, April 08, 2004”], she was forced to spend at least about 20 weeks bed-ridden with her second pregnancy. If she stood up more than just to go to the bathroom or doctor’s visit, her cervix would collapse and she’d have lost the baby she now so wanted to have.

UPDATE MAY 2005: Several more links and studies are given here, many thanks to researcher Christina Dunigan.

I’ve cited 6 studies to disprove these related myths.
1) the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, April 2005:
“After studying data on 1,943 very pre-term births, 276 moderately pre-term babies and 618 full-term controls, Dr. Caroline Moreau of Hopital de Bicetre and colleagues concluded that women with a history of abortion were 1.5 times more likely to give birth very prematurely (under 33 weeks gestation), and 1.7 times more likely to have a baby born extremely (under 28 weeks gestation) pre-term.”
1-a) We believe this January 2005 story from the The Sunday Times - Britain about a soon-to-be-published British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology paper, is the same as the study cited in #1 above:
“Women who have had abortions are more likely to give birth to premature babies…The study by French doctors…suggests abortion could cause abnormalities in the cervix and womb that later prompt premature birth. Premature babies are far more likely to suffer health problems. A study published last week said that half of extremely premature babies that made it home from hospital were likely to have severe or moderate rates of disability and learning difficulties.”
2) From the American Journal of Ob&Gyn., 1981:
“Abortion increases the risk of placenta previa in later pregnancies by 7 to 15-fold (a life threatening condition for both the mother and her wanted pregnancy). Abnormal development of the placenta due to uterine damage increases the risk of fetal malformation, perinatal death, and excessive bleeding during labor.”
This means that if you had a mere 5% risk of this, then having an abortion makes your risk now between 35% and 75%.
[Barrett, et al., "Induced Abortion: A Risk Factor for Placenta Previa", American Journal of Ob&Gyn. (1981), 141:7]

3) In the journal Human Reproduction, March 2004, by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, scientists found that a
“History of induced abortion [is] a [significant] risk factor for preterm birth in European countries.”
They studied a survey of 2,938 preterm births and 4,781 controls (women who gave birth normally at term) in ten European countries.
“…the risk of preterm birth [also] increased with the number of abortions.”
They also found that abortions most increased the risk (were more responsible) for the earliest, most premature babies (and thus those at the greatest risk to die).
["History of induced abortion as a risk factor for preterm birth in European countries: results of the EUROPOP survey,” Hum Reprod. (2004 Mar), Ancel PY, Lelong N, Papiernik E, Saurel-Cubizolles MJ, Kaminski M; EUROPOP. Vol. 19, No. 3, 734-740]

4) Obstetrics & Gynecology, Dec. 1999 and 2000:
“Women who had one, two, or more previous …abortions are, respectively, 1.89, 2.66, or 2.03 times more likely to have a subsequent pre-term delivery, compared to women who carry to term. Premature delivery increases the risk of neo-natal death, and always results in low birth weight babies."
The second study’s findings
“suggest a positive association between one or more first trimester induced abortions and the risk of low birthweight in subsequent singleton [single-baby] term live births when the interpregnancy interval is longer than 6 months.”
(meaning when the mom became pregnant again more than 6 months after the abortion)
[Zhou, Weijin, et. al., "Induced Abortion and Subsequent Pregnancy Duration", Obstet. Gynecol (Dec. 1999), 94(6):948-953;

Weijin Zhou, Henrik Toft Sørensen, and Jørn Olsen, "Induced abortion and low birthweight in the following pregnancy", International Journal of Epidemiology (2000); 29:100-106.]

5) and 6) Also, studies in 1986 in the New England Journal Of Medicine and in ’83 in the UK’s Lancet show that major lacerations of the cervix which require stitches happen in at least 1% of first trimester abortions. So at least 12,600 US women having surgical abortions yearly need cervical stitches (remember: Planned Parenthood says 90% of all abs. are 1st trimester).

Lesser tears, normally not treated, can also result in cervical incompetence, premature delivery, and complications of labor.

And the risk of cervical damage is greater for teenagers and for second trimester abortions.

[K. Schulz, et al., "Measures to Prevent Cervical Injuries During Suction Curettage Abortion," or if you’d like, in German here, The Lancet (May 28, 1983), pp. 1182-1184;

W. Cates, "The Risks Associated with Teenage Abortion," New England Journal of Medicine (1983), 309(11):612-624;

R. Castadot, "Pregnancy Termination: Techniques, Risks, and Complications and Their Management," Fertility and Sterility (1986), 45(1):5-16...

...that last one also is referenced in this challengingly-titled 1988 JAMA article, "Rationale for Banning Abortions Late in Pregnancy,” Sprang and Neerhof, JAMA (1998), 280: 744-747, which for some reason posts this message when trying to view it: “This item is restricted. Please see below for access options” which include allowing you to purchase it for US$12....]

[...Nice racket, AMA. It does leave me wondering why this piece is so "private." Anyone want to buy the download and clue us all in?]

In summary, abortion does make premature birth, low infant birth weight and miscarriage more likely in future pregnancies, and multiple abortions do worsen those risks.

Myth #8 to be shredded tomorrow. I’m posting one a day every day from Oct. 19 through Election Day. Prior myths shredded can be found as follows:
#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6.

(If anyone wishes to receive an emailed MSWORD document of the talk in its entirety, please just email me (see above right corner of blog).

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