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Physical Health hazards of abortion

(i) 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 damage (C).

(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 (F).

(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 (J).

(x) Endometriosis
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 abortions

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 (1977).

(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 (1986).

(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 injuries ).

(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.










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