Abortion health risks

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Although the risks to the health and wellness of mothers due to abortion is rarely spoken of, there is evidence that they do exist. While there may be harmful effects which are yet unknown, the following are some known risks.

Mental Health Risks From Abortion

A comprehensive review of literature, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry suggests that "there is a significant increase in mental health problems after abortion."[1][2]

Abortion and Breast Cancer

The vast majority of scientific studies have shown that abortion causes an increase in breast cancer, including 16 out of 17 statistically significant studies.[3] "A new study coming from researchers in Sri Lanka finds women who had abortions ... [had a] 3.42 [increased risk] ... compared with those who kept their baby. ... The Sri Lankan study is the fourth epidemiological study in fourteen months to report an abortion-breast cancer link, including studies from the U.S., China and Turkey."[4] LifeNews also reported in 2009 that a National Cancer Institute researcher admitted there was a link between abortion and breast cancer.[5] Studies showing that abortion increases breast cancer predate the political controversy.[6] A study at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center published in 2009 confirmed a 40% increase in risk in breast cancer from abortion.[7][8] Yet the abortion industry conceals this increased risk, just as the tobacco industry concealed its cancer risk for decades.[9]

Walk for Life rally

A new study on breast cancer in Turkey published in April 2009 in the peer-reviewed World Journal of Surgical Oncology found, through a surveying process, that induced abortion was a statistically significant cause of breast cancer risk. The study concludes, “Our findings suggest that age and induced abortion were found to be significantly associated with increased breast cancer risk….”[10]

Specifically, the study found that Turkish women who received one or more induced abortions had a 66% higher risk of breast cancer than women who never had an abortion.[11][12]

Dr. Janet Daling, who considers herself supportive of a right to perform abortions, brought the abortion-breast cancer link into the mainstream with her federally funded research on the topic. Her report, released in 1994, found a 50% increase in breast cancer risk due to induced abortion.[13][14] She said, "I have three sisters with breast cancer and I resent people messing with the scientific data to further their own agenda, be they pro-choice or pro-life. I would have loved to have found no association between breast cancer and abortion, but our research is rock solid and our data is accurate."[15] Similarly, an early study published in Japan in 1957 showed that women who have abortions have a much higher risk of breast cancer than those who decide to keep their baby.[16]

In a peer-reviewed medical journal, Karen Malec observed that:[3]

Thirty-eight epidemiological studies exploring an independent link [between abortion and] breast cancer have been published. Twenty-nine report risk elevations. Thirteen out of 15 American studies found risk elevations. Seventeen studies are statistically significant, 16 of which report increased risk.

Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, M.D., F.A.C.S., a specialist in breast cancer an a clinical assistant professor of surgery at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, has explained the physiology and epidemiology of the abortion-breast cancer link. She made the following observation:[17]

This past August in Minneapolis, Patrick Carroll, director of the Pension and Population Research Institute of London, presented a paper to the largest gathering of statisticians in North America. He showed that abortion was the best predictor of breast cancer in Britain. Breast cancer is the only cancer in Britain which has its highest incidence and mortality rate among the upper rather than lower social classes. Abortion before a full term pregnancy and late pregnancy were the best explanations for this incidence. He also found that there had been a 70% increase risk of breast cancer between 1971 and 2002 and that for women between 50 and 54 years of age incidence was highly correlated with abortion.

Demographic evidence of abortion causing breast cancer includes the following. Breast cancer rates are far lower in Western countries that prohibited abortion than in those that promoted it. Ireland, which virtually bans abortion, reportedly has a lifetime rate of breast cancer of only 1 in 13, nearly half the rate of 1 in 7.5 in the United States.[18] The rate of breast cancer increases steadily as one travels from Ireland, where abortion is illegal, to Northern Ireland, where abortion is legal but rare, to England, where abortion is common.[19]

In Romania, abortion was illegal under two decades of rule by the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, and the country enjoyed one of the lowest breast cancer rates in the entire world during that time, far lower than comparable Western countries. Romania's breast cancer rate was an astounding one-sixth the rate of the United States.[20] But after the execution of Ceausescu on Christmas Day, 1989, Romania has taken the opposite approach, embracing abortion to the point that Romania now has one of the highest abortion rates in the world.[21] One Romanian observer decried, "The liberalization of abortions in Romania in 1990, the significant increase of the number of abortions at relatively short intervals, determined a rise in the incidence of breast and uterine cervix cancer in my country."[22]

Studies on rats, which are an accepted method for identifying causes of cancer in humans, further confirm that abortion does indeed increase the risk of breast cancer. As Dr. Joel Brind observed, "Researchers also widely admit to the biological plausibility of abortion as an independent cause of breast cancer, through the estrogen-mediated stimulation of breast growth in the absence of differentiation. This was demonstrated experimentally in rats in the landmark experiments of Russo and Russo."[23] Additional scientific information on the abortion-breast cancer link is available at BCPInstitute.org.

An expert (Dr. Lynn Rosenberg) hired to defend abortion felt compelled to admit, under cross-examination, that a woman increases her risk for breast cancer by having an abortion compared to carrying her pregnancy to childbirth:[24]

Question by the attorney: 'So in other words, a woman who finds herself pregnant at age 15 will have a higher breast cancer risk if she chooses to abort that pregnancy, than if she carries the pregnancy to term, [is that] correct?'
Dr. Lynn Rosenberg: 'Probably, yes.'
Question: 'Looking at that another way, let's compare two women. Let's say both got pregnant at age 15-- one terminates the pregnancy, but the other carries the pregnancy to term. And both women go on to get married and have two kids, say, at age 30 and age 35. Is the risk of breast cancer higher for the woman who had an abortion at age 15 or the woman who had a baby at age 15, all other things being equal?'
Dr. Lynn Rosenberg: 'It's probably higher for the one who had an abortion at age 15.'

Despite the overwhelming evidence—and inescapable logic—for abortion increasing breast cancer, promoters of abortion cite flawed articles in an attempt to deny the link. The flaws in these articles are exposed in the Harvard abortion study and "Legal Implications of a Link Between Abortion and Breast Cancer" by Andrew Schlafly in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.[25]

As Dr. Lanfranchi has explained:[26]

Well-documented breast physiology accounts for the fact that oral contraceptives and abortion are risk factors for breast cancer. There is an effort to suppress this information by federal agencies and those in academic medicine. Without this information, women cannot make a fully informed choice about their method of fertility control or about whether to maintain an unplanned pregnancy. Medical ethics demands that they be informed.

Pro-choice should include informed choice.[27] Yet efforts continue to suppress awareness that abortion increases breast cancer. Pro-life scientists were almost entirely barred from the National Cancer Institute's "study" of the link, and its resulting statements were fatally flawed as explained in National Cancer Institute on Abortion.

Just as organizations denied or failed to disclose the connection between smoking and lung cancer, many organizations aligned with liberal politicians deny the correlation between abortion and breast cancer despite numerous studies published in peer reviewed journals indicating a likely connection.

The Smellie's double crochet abortion tool was used to grab and forcibly remove the fetus from the womb.

Abortion Causes Future Harm with Premature Births

"At least 49 studies have demonstrated a statistically significant increase in premature births (PB) or low birth weight (LBW) risk in women with prior induced abortions (IAs)."[28] Premature birth tragically causes brain damage, and an array of other severe, lifelong injuries ranging from Cerebral Palsy to blindness, or even death, and few mothers would knowingly increase the risk of that happening. "There are at least seventeen (17) studies that have found that previous induced abortions increase preterm birth risk” and thereby increase debilitating Cerebral Palsy in children."[29]

In 2008, the generally pro-abortion British medical journal, The Lancet, admitted that a procedure often used in abortion increase the risk of premature birth:[30]

"For example, greater public and professional awareness of evidence that repeated uterine instrumentation--eg, uterine curettage or endometrial biopsy--is associated with increased risk of subsequent preterm birth might over time influence decision-making about the procedure."

Researchers Rooney and Calhoun observed:[30]

Large studies have reported a doubling of [early premature birth] EPB risk from two prior IAs. Women who had four or more IAs experienced, on average, nine times the risk of [extremely early premature births] XPB, an increase of 800 percent. These results suggest that women contemplating IA should be informed of this potential risk to subsequent pregnancies, and that physicians should be aware of the potential liability and possible need for intensified prenatal care.

Demographic evidence of how abortion increases premature birth includes the following:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): "[T]he abortion rate for black women has been approximately three times as high as that for white women (range: 2.6--3.1) since 1991"[31]
  • Science Daily's report on a study by the Washington University School of Medicine: "African-American women are three times more likely to deliver babies three to 17 weeks prematurely than Caucasian women"[32]

In 2002 an article entitled "Preterm Birth: A Continuing Challenge" noted that premature births are abnormally high in the United States, citing a study that observed that a previous abortion is a "risk factor for both infertility and preterm birth."[33]

The rate of premature birth is elevated by the same amount as the abortion rate, as expected if abortion increases the risk of premature birth.

Other Health Risks from Abortion

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that:[34]

"While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained. See Brief for Sandra Cano et al. as Amici Curiae in No. 05-380, pp 22-24. Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow."
A study published in the Southern Medical Journal observed that there are higher death rates associated with women who have abortion, and that these higher death rates persist over time and across socioeconomic boundaries.[35]

In England, the "Royal College of Psychiatrists says women should not be allowed to have an abortion until they are counselled on the possible risk to their mental health." The medical royal college warned that women who have abortions may be at risk of mental health problems.[36] A New Zealand study found that abortion in young women may be associated with increased risks of mental health problems.[37] The researcher in this study, who was not pro-life, was shaken by the study and had to go to four journals before he could find one who would publish it.[38]

The study concludes with the following statement:

These findings are inconsistent with the current consensus on the psychological effects of abortion. In particular, in its 2005 statement on abortion, the American Psychological Association concluded that “well-designed studies of psychological responses following abortion have consistently shown that risk of psychological harm is low...the percentage of women who experience clinically relevant distress is small and appears to be no greater than in general samples of women of reproductive age” (American Psychological Association, 2005). This relatively strong conclusion about the absence of harm from abortion was based on a relatively small number of studies which had one or more of the following limitations: a) absence of comprehensive assessment of mental disorders; b) lack of comparison groups; and c) limited statistical controls. Furthermore, the statement appears to disregard the findings of a number of studies that had claimed to show negative effects for abortion (Cougle et al., 2003; Gissler et al., 1996; Reardon & Cougle, 2002).[38]

Professor David Fergusson, lead author of the New Zealand study stated:

It borders on scandalous that one of the most common surgical procedures performed on young women is so poorly researched and evaluated. If this were Prozac or Vioxx, reports of associated harm would be taken much more seriously with more careful research and monitoring procedures." [39]

Another study published in the OB/GYN Survey detailed long-term physical and psychological health consequences of induced abortions.[40]

Suicide rates among women who had abortions are six times higher than women who gave birth in the prior year. Overall, deaths from suicide, homicide and accidents were 248% higher after an abortion, as found by a 13-year study in Finland of its entire population.[41]

In the United States, only one state (Missouri) requires that the abortionist have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion.[42] In the other 49 states, an abortion patient can and often is left without prompt medical care by the treating physician.

One of the largest abortion providers in the United States, the Metropolitan Medical Associates of New Jersey, was shut down in 2007 by state health officials after one of its botched abortions left a 20-year-old woman in a coma for more than four weeks. She "became severely ill following the abortion and was transferred to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center where she needed blood transfusions and had her uterus removed. She also suffered a stroke due to the serious blood loss and had one of her lungs collapse." The State of New Jersey had shut down the same facility in 1993 also.[43]


  1. Abortion, mental health and dental disease. British Journal of Psychiatry. Retrieved on 1 September 2011. “A comprehensive review of the literature suggests that there is a significant increase in mental health problems after abortion. Coleman (pp. 180–186) suggests that these risks need to be reflected in the delivery of abortion services, and raises the thorny issue that 90% of UK abortions are justified on the presumption that abortion actually reduces the risk to mental health associated with continuing the pregnancy. There is an increasing awareness of increased comorbid physical illness in patients with severe mental illness. Kisely and colleagues (pp. 187–193) found that the levels of advanced dental disease were increased threefold in patients with severe mental illness. The authors suggest that there needs to be improved recognition of this problem – reflected in a more proactive approach to dental hygiene in these patients.”
  2. Mary L. Davenport, MD. Major Study Links Suicide and Other Mental Health Problems to Abortion. American Thinker. Retrieved on 1 September 2011. “An important meta-analysis published today in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry demonstrates that nearly 10% of mental health problems in women are directly attributable to abortion. "Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995-2009," by Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green University, shows that women with an abortion history have an 81% increased risk of mental health problems and 155% increased risk of suicide. This meta-analysis combines 22 studies of 877,181 women, 163, 831 of whom have had abortions. A meta-analysis is an especially powerful type of study because it includes a large number of subjects, and by combining studies is much more reliable than a single study.”
  3. 3.0 3.1 Malek, K. (2003). The Abortion-Breast Cancer Link: How Politics Trumped Science and Informed Consent. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 8(2), 41-45.
  4. Ertelt, S. (2010, June 22). Study Confirms Abortion Triples Breast Cancer Risk Among Sri Lanka Women. LifeNews.com.
  5. Ertelt, S. (2009, January 1). National Cancer Institute Researcher Admits Abortion-Breast Cancer Link True. LifeNews.com.
  6. (2002). Breast Cancer Prevention Institute Online Brochure. Breast Cancer Prevention Institute.
  7. Byrne, D. (2010, January 11). Breast cancer, oral contraceptives, abortion and lies (?) ChicagoNow.
  8. It is undisputed that childbirth protects against breast cancer, and thus early termination of pregnancy must increase the risk of cancer for the mother compared to carrying that same pregnancy to birth.
  9. Addison, T.E., M.D. (1998, July). A Chronology of Tobacco in the Civilized World, San Francisco Medicine.
  10. Ozman, V. et al. (2009, April 8). Breast cancer risk factors in Turkish women – a University Hospital based nested case control study. World Journal of Surgical Oncology, 7(37). doi:10.1186/1477-7819-7-37
  11. Baklinski, T.M. (2009, July 29). Study: Breast Cancer Risk 66% Higher in Turkish Women with Abortions. LifeSiteNews.com.
  12. Malek, K. (2009, July 28). Study: Turkish Women with Abortions Have Statistically Significant 66% Increase in Breast Cancer Risk / Researchers Likely Underestimated the Risk, Reports Scientist. Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer.
  13. Janet R. Daling et al., "Risk of Breast Cancer Among Young Women: Relationship to Induced Abortion," 86 Journal of the National Cancer Institute; (1994);1584
  14. (2001, March 28). Women's Organization Accuses MAMM of Misleading Public About Abortion-Breast Cancer Link. Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer.
  15. L.A. Daily News, Sept. 1997.
  16. Segi M, et al. An epidemiological study on cancer in Japan. GANN. 1957; 48:1-63.
  17. Angela Lanfranchi, M.D., F.A.C.S, "The breast physiology and the epidemiology of the abortion breast cancer link," 12 Imago Hominis, No. 3, 228 (2005) (emphasis added).
  18. "Probability of breast cancer in American Women," National Cancer Institute (Apr. 15, 2005); K. O'Flaherty, R. Oakley, "Self-checks 'useless' in breast cancer fight," Sunday Tribune (Ireland), at 8 (Oct. 6, 2002).
  19. R. O'Reilly, "New weapon in war against breast cancer," The Press Association Limited (Dec. 17, 1998); "Portugal-abortion referendum," Associated Press Worldstream (June 27, 1998).
  20. A. Khan, "The role of fat in breast cancer," The Independent (May 18, 1998).
  21. N. Abdullaev, "Russians are quickest to marry and divorce," Moscow Times (Dec 8, 2004).
  22. Information packet, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) World Conference on Breast Cancer (July 1997).
  23. Joel Brind, "Induced Abortion as an Independent Risk Factor for Breast Cancer: A Critical Review of Recent Studies Based on Prospective Data," J. of Am. Physicians & Surgeons 105 (Winter 2005) (citing Russo J, Russo IH. Susceptibility of the mammary gland to carcinogenesis. 1980;100:497-512).
  24. Rosenberg's Testimony. Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer.
  25. Schafly, A. (2005, Spring). Legal Implications of a Link Between Abortion and Breast Cancer. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 10(1), 10-14.
  26. Lanfranchi, A. (2008, Spring). The Federal Government and Academic Texts as Barriers to Informed Consent. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 13(1), 12-15.
  27. The Archdiocese of St. Louis, for example, remarked about abortions and increased risk for breast cancer: "To dismiss that link is irresponsible."
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/5620863.html (Link no longer works)
  28. Brent Rooney and Byron C. Calhoun, "Induced Abortion and Risk of Later Premature Births," 8 J. Am. Physicians & Surgeons 46 (Summer 2003). [1]
  29. Brent Rooney, Letter, 96 European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 239 (2001) (citations omitted).
  30. 30.0 30.1 Dr, Jay D. Iams, Dr. Robert Romero, Jennifer F. Culhane (PhD), Dr. Robert L. Goldenberg. [2] Primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions to reduce the morbidity and mortality of preterm birth. Lancet 2008;371:164-175. While the text of this article conceals the connection with abortion, it cites as support for its claims two studies showing how abortion increases risk of premature birth: the 2004 'Ancel' study of ten European countries and the 2005 'Moreau' study that used French subjects. Ancel P-Y, Lelong N, Papiernik E, Saurel-Cubizoilles M-J, Kaminski M. History of induced abortion as a risk factor for preterm birth in European countries: results of the EUROPOP survey. Human Reproduction. 2004;112:734-740. Moreau C, Kaminski M, Ancel PY et al. Previous I induced abortions and the risk of very preterm delivery; Results of the EPIPAGE study. British J Obstetrics Gynaecology 2005; 112:430-437.
  31. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5407a1.htm (emphasis added)
  32. Washington University School of Medicine (2007, February 12). African-American Mothers. (emphasis added)
  33. Moore, M.L. (2002, Fall). Preterm Birth: A Continuing Challenge. The Journal of Perinatal Education, 11(4), 37-40. doi: 10.1624/105812402X88948
  34. Gonzales v. Carhart, 127 S. Ct. 1610, 1634 (2007).
  35. D.C. Reardon, P.G. Ney, F.J. Scheuren, J.R. Cougle, P.K. Coleman, T. Strahan, "Deaths associated with pregnancy outcome: a record linkage study of low income women," 95 Southern Medical Journal 8, at 834-41 (August 2002).
  36. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article3559486.ece (Link no longer works)
  37. Fergusson, D.M., et. al. (2006, January). Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health. The Journal of Child Psychology andPsychiatry, 47(1), 16-24. PMID 16405636.
  38. 38.0 38.1 Gilson, T. (2006, February 24). Abortion and Mental Health. Thinking Christian.
  39. Throckmorton, W. (2006, January 20). Abortion and Mental Health. The Washington Times.
  40. J.M. Thorp, Jr., K.E. Hartmann, and E.M. Shadigian, "[content.silaspartners.com/156/41045/156_41045_shadigian.1.pdf Long-Term Physical & Psychological Health Consequences of Induced Abortion: Review of the Evidence]," 58 OB/GYN Survey 1, at 67-79 (2003)
  41. http://www.abortionrecoverycounseling.com/Page8.html (Link no longer works)
  42. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 188.080 prohibits an abortion by a physician "who does not have clinical privileges at a hospital which offers obstetrical or gynecological care located within thirty miles of the location at which the abortion is performed or induced."
  43. Ertelt, S. (2007, March 1). Woman Comatose for a Month After Botched Abortion Caused Center’s Closing. LifeNews.com.