Death due to some health hazards
The leading causes of abortion-related deaths are
haemorrhage, infection, embolism, anaesthesia, and
undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies (A).
(ii) Breast Cancer
The risk of breast cancer almost doubles after one
abortion, and rises even further with two or more
abortions (B). Recent US research based on 28 separate
studies reviewed by Professor Joel Brind of the
City University of New York has shown 24,500 cases
of breast cancer were attributable to abortion.
(Mail on Sunday, 13th August, 2000).
(iii) Cervical, Ovarian, and Liver Cancer
Women with one abortion face a 2.3 relative risk
of cervical cancer, compared to non-aborted women,
and women with two or more abortions face a 4.92
relative risk. Similar elevated risks of ovarian
and liver cancer have also been linked to single
and multiple abortions. These increased cancer rates
for post-aborted women are apparently linked to
the unnatural disruption of the hormonal changes
that accompany pregnancy and untreated cervical
(iv) Uterine perforation
Between two and three percent of all abortion patients
may suffer uterine perforation, yet most of these
injuries will remain undiagnosed and untreated unless
laparoscopic examination is undertaken (D). Such
an examination may be useful at the commencement
of a medical negligence action.
The risk of uterine perforation is increased for
women who have previously given birth and for those
who receive general anaesthesia at the time of the
abortion (E). Uterine damage may result in complications
in later pregnancies and may eventually evolve into
problems that require a hysterectomy, which itself
may result in a number of additional complications
and injuries including osteoporosis.
(v) Cervical Lacerations
Significant cervical lacerations requiring sutures
occur in at least one percent of first trimester
abortions. Lesser lacerations, or microfractures,
which would normally not be treated, may also result
in long-term reproductive damage. Latent post-abortion
cervical damage may result in subsequent cervical
incompetence, premature delivery, and labour complications.
The risk of cervical damage is greater for teenagers,
for second trimester abortions, and when practitioners
fail to use laminaria for dilation of the cervix
(vi) Placenta Praevia
Abortion increases the risk of placenta praevia
in later pregnancies (a life-threatening condition
for both the mother and her unborn child) by seven
to fifteen fold. Abnormal development of the placenta
due to uterine damage increases the risk of foetal
malformation, perinatal death, and excessive bleeding
during labour (G).
(vii) Handicapped newborns in Later Pregnancies
Abortion is associated with cervical and uterine
damage which may increase the risk of premature
delivery, complications of labour, and abnormal
development of the placenta in later pregnancies.
These reproductive complications are the leading
causes of handicaps among newborn children (H).
(viii) Ectopic Pregnancy
Abortion is significantly related to an increased
risk of subsequent ectopic pregnancies. Ectopic
pregnancies, in turn, are life threatening and may
result in reduced fertility (I).
(ix) Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
PID is a potentially life-threatening disease which
can lead to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy
and reduced fertility. Of patients who have a chlamydia
infection at the time of the abortion, 23% will
develop PID within four weeks.
Studies have found that 20 to 27% of patients seeking
abortion have a chlamydia infection. Approximately
5% of patients who are not infected by chlamydia
develop PID within 4 weeks after a first trimester
abortion. Screening and prior treatment for these
infections should therefore be reasonably expected
Endometriosis is a post-abortion risk for all women,
but especially for teenagers who are 2.5 times more
likely than women aged 20-29 to acquire endometriosis
following an abortion (K).
(xi) Immediate complications
Approximately 10% of women undergoing an elective
abortion will suffer immediate complications, of
which approximately one fifth (2%) are considered
life-threatening. The nine most common major complications
which can occur at the time of an abortion are:
infection, excessive bleeding, embolism, ripping
or perforation of the uterus, anaesthesia complications,
convulsions, haemorrhage, cervical injury, and endotoxic
shock. The most common ‘minor’ complications
include: infection, bleeding, fever, second degree
burns, chronic abdominal pain, vomiting, gastro-intestinal
disturbances, and Rh sensitization (L).
(xii) Increased risks for women seeking multiple
The above studies are in respect of the risks reflected
for a single abortion. These same studies show that
there is a greater risk of experiencing these complications
when undergoing multiple abortions. Over 40% of
all abortions are repeat abortions (M).
(xiii) Increased risks for teenagers
Teenagers account for 30% of all abortions and are
also at much higher risk of suffering many abortion-related
complications. This is true of both immediate complications
and long-term reproductive damage (N).
(xiv) Increase in health risk factors
Abortion is significantly linked to behavioural
changes such as promiscuity, smoking, drug abuse,
and eating disorders which all contribute to increased
risks of health problems. e.g. promiscuity and abortion
are each linked to increased rates of PID and ectopic
pregnancies. Which one contributes more is unclear,
but apportionment may be irrelevant if the promiscuity
is itself a response to post-abortion trauma or
loss of self-esteem (O).
(A) Kaunitz, “Causes of Maternal Mortality
in the United States,” Obstetrics and Gynaecology
65(5) May 1985
(B) H.L. Howe et al., “Early Abortion and
Breast Cancer Risk Among Women Under Age 40,”
International Journal of Epidemiology 18(2): 300-304
(1989) ; L.I. Remennick, “Induced Abortion
as A Cancer Risk Factor: A Review of Epidemiological
Evidence,” Journal of Epidemiological Community
Health, (1990); M.C. Pike, “Oral Contraceptive
Use and Early Abortion as Risk Factors for Breast
Cancer in Young Women,” British Journal of
Cancer 43: 72 (1981); Brind J, Chinchilli VM, Severs
WB, Summy-Long J, ‘Induced abortion as an
independent risk factor for breast cancer: a comprehensive
review and meta-analysis,’ Journal of Epidemiology
and Community Health, 50, 481-496 (1996); Brind
J et al., ‘Reply: Induced abortion as an independent
risk factor for breast cancer,’ Journal of
Epidemiology and Community Health, 51, 465-467 (1997).
(C) M-G, Le et al., “Oral Contraceptive Use
and Breast or Cervical Cancer: Preliminary Results
of a French Case-Control Study,” Hormones
and Sexual Factors in Human Cancer Etiology, ed.
JP Wolff et al., Excerpta Medica : New York (1984)
pp.139-147; F. Parazzini et al., “Reproductive
Factors and the Risk of Invasive and Intraepithelial
Cervical Neoplasia,” British Journal of Cancer
, 59: 805-809 (1989) H.L. Stewart et al., “Epidemiology
of Cancers of the Uterine Cervix and Corpus, Breast
and Ovary in Israel and New York City,” Journal
of the National Cancer Institute 37(1) : 1-96; I.
Fujimoto, et al., “Epidemiologic Study of
Carcinoma in Situ of the Cervix,” Journal
of Reproductive Medicine 30(7) : 535 (July 1985);
N. Weiss, “Events of Reproductive Life and
the Incidence of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer,”
American Journal of Epidemiology, 117(2): 128-139
(1983) V. Beral et al., “Does Pregnancy Protect
Against Ovarian Cancer,” The Lancet, May 20,
1978, 1083-1087; C LaVecchia et al., “Reproductive
Factors and the Risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma
in Women,” International Journal of Cancer,
52: 351, (1992).
(D) S. Kaali et al., “The Frequency and Management
of Uterine Perforations During First-Trimester Abortions,
“American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.
161: 406-408, August 1989: M. White, “A Case-Control
Study of Uterine Perforations documented at Laparoscopy,
“American Journal of Ob. and Gyn. 129:623
(E) D. Grimes et al., “Prevention of Uterine
Perforation During Curettage Abortion,” JAMA,
251: 2108-2111 (1984); D. Grimes et al., “Local
versus General Anesthesia: Which is Safer For Performing
Suction Abortions?” American Journal of Ob.
and Gyn. 135: 1030 (1979).
(F) K. Schulz et al., “Measures to Prevent
Cervical Injuries During Suction Curettage Abortion,”
The Lancet, 28 May, 1983, pp 1182-1184; W. Cates,
“The Risks Associated with Teenage Abortion,”
New England Journal of Medicine, 309(11): 612-624;
R. Castadot, “Pregnancy Termination: Techniques,
Risks, and Complications and Their Management,”
Fertility and Sterility, 45(1):5-16 (1986).
(G) Barrett et al., “Induced Abortion: A Risk
Factor for Placenta Praevia,” American Journal
of Ob&Gyn. 141:7 (1981).
(H) Hogue, Cates and Tietze, “Impact of Vacuum
Aspiration Abortion on Future Childbearing: A Review,”
Family Planning Perspectives, 15(3) (May-June 1983).
(I) Daling et al., “Ectopic Pregnancy in Relation
to Previous Induced Abortion,” JAMA, 253(7):
1005-1008 (15th February, 1985); Levin et al., “Ectopic
Pregnancy and Prior Induced Abortion,” American
Journal of Public Health (1982), vol.72,253; C.S.
Chung, “Induced Abortion and Ectopic Pregnancy
in Subsequent Pregnancies, “American Journal
of Epidemiology 115(6): 879-887 (1982).
(J) T. Radberg et al., “Chlamydia Trachomatis
in Relation to Infections Following First Trimester
Abortions,” Acta Obstricia Gynoecological
( Supp. 93) 54:478 (1980); L.Westergaard, “Significance
of Cervical Chlamydia Trachomatis Infection in Post-abortal
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease,” Obstetrics and
Gynecology 60(3):322-325, (1982); M.Chacko et al.,
“Chlamydia Trachomatosis Infection in Sexually
Active Adolescents: Prevalence and Risk Factors,”
Pediatrics, 73(6), (1984); M. Barbacci et al., “Post-Abortal
Endometritis and Isolation of Chlamydia Trachomatis,”
Obstetrics and Gynecology 68(5) : 668-690 (1986);
S. Duthrie et al., “Morbidity After Termination
of Pregnancy in First-Trimester,” Genitourinary
Medicine 63(3) : 182-187 (1987).
(K) Burkman et al., “Morbidity Risk Among
Young Adolescents Undergoing Elective Abortion,”
Contraception, 30: 99-105 (1984); “Post-Abortal
Endometritis and Isolation of Chlamydia Trachomatis,”
Obstetrics and Gynecology 68(5): 668-690 (1986).
(L) Frank et al., “Induced Abortion Operations
and Their Early Sequelae,” Journal of the
Royal College of General Practitioners (April 1985)
35 (73): 175-180; Grimes and Cates, “Abortion:
Methods and Complications,” Human Reproduction,
2nd ed., 796-813; M.A. Freedman, “Comparison
of complication rates in first trimester abortions
performed by physician assistants and physicians,”
American Journal of Public Health, 76(5) : 550-554
(M) Life Dynamics Incorporated - David Reardon,
Abortion Malpractice: page 5.
See also Major Articles and Books Concerning the
Detrimental Effects of Abortion by Thomas Strahan.
(The Rutherford Institute, PO Box 7482, Charlottesville,
VA 22906-7482, (804) 978-388 ). This resource includes
brief summaries of major findings drawn from medical
and psychological journal articles, books, and related
materials, divided into major categories of relevant
(N) Wadhera, “Legal Abortion among Teens,
1974-1978,” Canadian Medical Association Journal
122:1386-1389, (June 1980).
(O) Life Dynamics Incorporated - David Reardon.,
Abortion Malpractice: page 5.