Abortion and Pre-term Deliveries

At least 60 studies show a very high link between pre-term births and low birth-weight babies following previous surgically induced abortions.
  • One or more surgical abortions increases the risk of prematurity with this pregnancy increases by about 30 percent.
  • The main reason for premature births occurring after induced abortions is cervical incompetence.
  • Informed consent before induced abortion should include information about the subsequent risk of pre-term delivery.
  • Medical professionals could face litigation for failing to warn women that abortion boosts the risk of delivering a future baby with cerebral palsy.
  • Cerebral palsy is connected with low birth-weight babies.
Research has found that having an abortion almost doubles a woman's risk of giving birth dangerously early in a later pregnancy.

A French study of 2,837 births, has found that mothers who had previously had an abortion were 1.7 times more likely to give birth to a baby at less than 28 weeks' gestation. Many babies born this early die soon after birth, and a large number who survive suffer serious disability.

The research leader, Dr Caroline Moreau, an epidemiologist at the Hôpital de Bicêtre in Paris, said the results of the study, which appear in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, provided conclusive evidence of a link between induced abortion and subsequent pre-term births.

Mr Peter Bowen-Simpkins, a spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and a consultant obstetrician at a hospital in Swansea, said the study revealed that abortion might not be as safe as previously supposed. "This study shows that surgical termination of pregnancies may have late complications and may not be without risk," he said.1

At least 60 studies (listed here) show a very high link between pre-term births, low birth weight babies and spontaneous abortion following previous surgically induced abortions.

Professor Barbara Luke in her classic book wrote, "If you have had one or more induced abortions, your risk of prematurity with this pregnancy increases by about 30 percent." (Every Pregnant Woman's Guide to Preventing Premature Birth, 1995, p 32).

Barbara Luke, Sc.D., M.P.H., R.D., R.N., received her nursing and public health degrees from Columbia University, her degree in nutrition from New York University, and her doctorate in science from John Hopkins University. She is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical School.

She is also a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Dietetic Association, the American Public Health Association, and the Society of Perinatal Obstetricians.

The latest of the numerous studies that have found that previous induced abortions increase preterm birth risk.
A Danish study, reported on 61,000 Danish women.

The relative risk of a very preterm birth (before 34 weeks' gestation) for Danish women with one previous induced abortion is 1.99. The relative risk of a pre-term birth for women with two previous "evacuation" type abortions is 12.55. The RR for one previous "evacuation" abortion is 2.27.

The main reason for premature births occurring after induced abortions is cervical incompetence.
The Centers for Disease control has reported that the infant mortality rate in the U.S. has increased for the first time since 1958, as more infants are born with very low birth weights. Seven out of every 1000 babies born in 2002 experienced infant death, up from 6.8 deaths per 1000 births in 2000.

The CDC linked the increase in infant mortality to the rising number of low birth weight babies, with very low birth weight infants (those weighing less than 1 pound, 10.5 ounces) being 105 times more likely to die than infants weight more than 5 pounds. Low birth weight results from preterm birth, which has also been linked to cerebral palsy and respiratory problems in infants.

Canadian researcher Brent Rooney of the Reduce Preterm Risk Coalition reports that 27 studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals found that women who had abortions were more likely to have a later preterm birth. A French study of births in 10 European countries found that women with one prior abortion had a 1/3 increased risk of having a later preterm birth and women with two prior abortions had a 47 percent increased risk.

Cervical Incompetence
The main reason for premature births occurring after induced abortions is cervical incompetence. This can result from the too-early, forceful dilatation (stretching open) of the cervix (mouth of the womb). During an abortion procedure, the cervical muscle must be dilated (stretched open) to allow the surgeon to enter the uterus.

Informed Consent
Researchers at the University of North Carolina have found that "induced abortion increases risks for both a subsequent pre-term delivery and mood disorders substantial enough to provoke attempts of self-harm."

The study, published in the Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey in 2003, concluded that "informed consent before induced abortion should include information about the subsequent risk of pre-term delivery and depression."

The study notes that "avoidance of induced abortion has potential as a strategy to reduce" the prevalence of pre-term delivery and depression. The study also found that "a decision to abort and delay pregnancy culminates in a loss of protection" against breast cancer.

Abortion boosts the risk of delivering a future baby with cerebral palsy
The state of Texas is now informing women who are considering an abortion that the procedure boosts the risk of delivering a future baby with cerebral palsy. (Cerebral palsy is connected with low birth-weight babies.)

Major Chinese study
In a major study in China, researchers compared the birth weights of babies in two groups: women who had undergone a medically-induced abortion, and those who had no abortion history. (The researchers did not, however, study surgically-induced abortions.)

This study, which was published in the March 2004 issue of the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, found no statistically significant difference between the groups' birth weights.

Around 7 million abortions are performed annually in China in a medical setting. Medically-induced abortions account for 40% to 50% of abortions in China.

See Doctors and NZ Law where it is explained how NZ medical professionals could face complaint proceedings for breaches to the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights.

Reference:
1. telegraph.co.uk