Cervical Incompetence and Abortion

A weakened cervix pre-disposes a woman to mid-term miscarriage or premature delivery... because the cervix has been artificially dilated previous to the pregnancy.
  • Teenagers under 17 years of age have been found to face twice the normal risk of suffering cervical damage.
  • The risk of prematurity and miscarriage can be as high as 300 - 500%.
  • An Australian survey showed "cervical incompetence" among 75% of women who had undergone forced dilation for abortion.
  • Many women suffering cervical damage may never be able to carry a "wanted" baby to term.
Normally the cervix is rigid and tightly closed. In order to perform an abortion, the cervix must be stretched open with a certain amount of force. This forced dilation almost always causes microscopic tearing of the cervix muscles and occasionally tears the uterine wall.

Highly regarded obstetric expert, Barbara Luke (PhD), has identified one mechanism that explains abortion causing prematurity risk. "The procedures for first-trimester abortion involve dilating the cervix slightly and suctioning the contents of the uterus.

"The procedures for second-trimester abortion are more involved, including dilating the cervix wider and for longer periods, and scraping the inside of the uterus.

Most at Risk

"Women who had had several second-trimester abortions may have a higher incidence of incompetent cervix (ie. a weakened cervix that predisposes a woman to mid-term miscarriage or early (premature) delivery)...because the cervix has been artificially dilated several times before this pregnancy." (Barbara Luke "Every Pregnant Woman's Guide to Preventing Premature Birth")

Teenagers  have been found to face twice the normal risk of suffering cervical damage
Teenagers under 17 years of age have been found to face twice the normal risk of suffering cervical damage, due to the fact that their cervixes are still "green" and developing.

Cervical damage from previously induced abortions increase the risks of miscarriage, premature birth, and complications of labour during later pregnancies by 300 - 500 percent.[1,2, 3,4]

Complications in Later Pregnancies
A major study of first pregnancy abortions found that 48% of women experienced abortion-related complications in later pregnancies. Women in this group experienced 2.3 miscarriages for every one live birth.[3]

Yet another researcher found that among teenagers who aborted their first pregnancies, 66% subsequently experienced miscarriages or premature birth of their second, "wanted" pregnancies.[5]

According to researchers at the Elliot Institute, a research group that focuses on the aftereffects of abortion, 12.5% of first trimester abortions required stitching for cervical lacerations.

They also point to a second study of women in Hawaii that found that cervical lacerations occurred on 22 percent of the women who had abortions.
..symptoms related to "cervical incompetence" were found among 75% of women who undergo forced dilation for abortion...
.
A survey by Dr. Ren, "Cervical Incompetence - Aetiology and Management," Medical Journal of Australia (December 29, 1993), Volume 60, reported that symptoms related to "cervical incompetence" were found among 75% of women who undergo forced dilation for abortion.

New Zealand Case Study
Dr H.P. Dunn, a renowned obstetrician and gynaecologist, once had the case of a patient who suffered four mid-trimester miscarriages following her abortion. Despite the woman having sutures placed around the cervix and also intravenous tocolytics (drugs which damp down uterine action), she was unable to carry to term.

Permanently Childless
It is an unfortunate but very real tragedy that many of these women, suffering cervical damage following an induced abortion, will never be able to carry a "wanted" baby to term.

Roughly 25% of  women who interrupt their first pregnancy have remained permanently childless.
Dr. Bohumil Stipal, Czechoslovakia's Deputy Minister of Health, stated: "Roughly 25% of the women who interrupt their first pregnancy have remained permanently childless."

Informed Consent
Patients are entitled by law to be fully informed of the possible risks involved with medical treatment. In New Zealand this right comes under The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers Rights. (See Informed Consent for more on this subject.)

In NZ Law on Abortion, it is explained how NZ medical professionals could face complaint proceedings for breaches to the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights.

Dr Barbara Luke is a Professor with the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, and Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Miami School of Medicine. She is a nurse, nutritionist and epidemiologist and author.

REFERENCES

  1. Harlap and Davies, "Late Sequelae of Induced Abortion: Complications and Outcome of Pregnancy and Labor", American Journal of Epidemiology (1975), vol.102,no.3.
  2. Hogue,"Impact of Abortion on Subsequent Fecundity", Clinics in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (March 1986), vol.13,no.1.
  3. Lembrych, "Fertility Problems Following Aborted First Pregnancy",eds.Hilgers, et.al., New Perspectives on Human Abortion (Frederick, Md.: University Publications of America, 1981).
  4. Wynn and Wynn, "Some Consequences of Induced Abortion to Children Born Subsequently", British Medical Journal (March 3, 1973), and Foundation for Education and Research in Child Bearing (London, 1972).
  5. Russel, "Sexual Activity and Its Consequences in the Teenager", Clinics in Ob&Gyn, (Dec. 1974). vol.1,no.3,pp683-698.