Hard Evidence: Proof that abortion hurts women

Women who have had abortions suffer an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and suicide. A study published in a 2005 edition of the Journal of Anxiety Disorders found that women who aborted their unintended pregnancies were 30 percent more likely to subsequently report all the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder than those women who had carried their unintended pregnancies to term. A study of a state-funded medical insurance program in California published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry in 2002 showed that the rate of mental health claims for women who aborted was 17 percent higher than those who had carried their children to term. And, according to a 1996 article in the British Medical Journal and a 2002 article in the Southern Medical Journal, the risk of death from suicide is two to six times higher for women who have had abortions when compared, again, with women who have given birth.

Several studies analyzed in a landmark 2003 article in the Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey show that induced abortion also increases the risk of placenta previa by 50 percent and doubles the risk of pre-term birth in later pregnancies. Placenta previa — where the placenta implants at the bottom of the uterus and covers the cervix — places the lives of both mother and child at risk in that later pregnancy. Pre-term birth is associated with low birth-weight babies, and very low birth-weight babies (those born between 20 and 27 weeks) have 38 times the risk of having cerebral palsy — not to mention medical costs 28 times greater — than full-term babies. According to Dr. Byron Calhoun, director of the Antenatal Diagnostic Center at Rockford Memorial Hospital in Illinois, approximately 30 percent of pre-term births — which now account for 6 percent of all births — are attributable to prior abortions.

But that’s just the beginning. The link between abortion and breast cancer has attracted much media attention. It is important to understand that there are two different mechanisms by which abortion can increase the risk of breast cancer — one is beyond dispute, the other hotly contested. It is now common medical knowledge that a full-term pregnancy, especially before the age of 32, acts as a protective mechanism against breast cancer. Thus, research shows that teenagers with a family history of breast cancer who have abortions before their 18th birthday have an incalculably high risk of developing breast cancer. Indeed, an abortion clinic in Portland, Oregon, recently settled a lawsuit with a 19-year-old woman who claimed the clinic had failed to inform her of this link between abortion and breast cancer — especially since she’d indicated a family history of breast cancer on her intake form.

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