Risks of Abortion
The Good Counsel Network believes that the abortion choice is not freely made unless the woman is given FREE information about what abortion involves, REAL alternatives to abortion and compassionate support if she chooses to keep her baby.
The decision to abort carries serious risks to the Mother’s health. Psychologically, a woman may experience post-abortion syndrome (P.A.S.). This is a type of post-traumatic stress disorder which is well documented in the USA but largely ignored in the UK. P.A.S. can manifest itself in many ways. Women may suffer many different symptoms ranging from guilt, grieving and mourning to despair and suicidal impulses, from a desperate need to have a "replacement baby" to abuse of her other children, thwarted maternal instincts and (sometimes multiple) repeat abortions. One of the "classic" symptoms of P.A.S. is annual bouts of illness and/or depression around the time of the baby’s death date, or at what would have been his/her birth month. Physically, there are many threats to a woman’s future ability to carry a pregnancy to term. Miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies and sterility are often reported following abortions. Damage to the cervix, infections and heavy bleeding are common complications.
For more details about the psychological risks of an abortion see http://www.bvafoundation.org/research.html
Research on the Possible Physical and Psychological Risks of Abortion
When speaking with mothers and fathers on the subject of abortion, the Good Counsel Network endeavours to present the facts of abortion to them. Included in these facts are the possible physical and psychological risks linked with abortion. Below are links to research papers on these risks.
The Good Counsel Network acknowledges that there is no consensus in the medical community on the possible link between abortion and breast cancer. However, there are numerous studies which highlight a possible link. When speaking of the risks of abortion, it would be remiss not to at least mention this research.
• A meta-analysis of 36 studies from 2013, showing a 44% increased breast cancer link amongst women who have had at least one abortion (Huang et al., 2014).
• A review from 2014 of 72 epidemiological studies, conducted over 50 years in multiple countries and cultures (Lanfranchi & Fagan, 2014).
• A paper published in 2017, calling for the recognition of risks caused by abortion and hormonal contraception (Carroll, Utshudiema & Rodrigues, 2017).
Perforation of the uterus or cervix
• A paper which states that abortion (TOP - Termination of Pregnancy) is the most common procedure associated with uterine perforation:
The perforated uterus - Fevzi Shakir MBBS BSc MRCOG, Yasser Diab MBCHB MSc MRCOGb
Depression or thoughts of suicide/Increased mortality rate after abortion:
• Finnish study from 1987-1994 showing suicide rates to be three times higher amongst women who had undergone abortions compared to those who gave birth:
Suicides after pregnancy in Finland, 1987–94: register linkage study - Mika Gissler, Elina Hemminki, Jouko Lonnqvist
• A study from 2002 showing that, "[c]ompared with women who delivered, those who aborted had a significantly higher age-adjusted risk of death from all causes"
Deaths associated with pregnancy outcome: a record linkage study of low income women - Reardon DC, Strahan TW, Thorp JM Jr. & Shuping MW
• Report which notes a "...worldwide risk of maternal suicide following termination of pregnancy and, in fact, a higher risk than that following term delivery"
Queensland Maternal and Perinatal Quality Council Report 2013, Maternal and Perinatal mortality - Queensland Maternal and Perinatal Quality Council
• A study from 2012 showing "[I]ncreased risks of death were 45%, 114% and 191% for 1, 2 and 3 abortions, respectively, compared with no abortions after controlling for other reproductive outcomes and last pregnancy age"
Reproductive history patterns and long-term mortality rates: a Danish, population-based record linkage study - Coleman PK, Reardon DC, & Calthoun BC.
Feelings of sadness, loneliness, guilt, grief, doubt and regret following abortion
• Dimension's of women's postabortion experience - Hess RF
• The characteristics and severity of psychological distress after abortion among university students - Curley M & Johnston C.
• The Quality of Abortion Decisions and College Students' Reports of Post-Abortion Emotional Sequelae and Abortion Attitudes - Coleman PK & Nelson ES
Particularly Traumatic Feelings after Abortion for Foetal Abnormality
• The impact of supportive intervention after second trimester termination of pregnancy for foetal abnormality - Elder SH & Laurence KM
• Do women grieve after terminating pregnancies because of fetal anomalies? A controlled investigation. - Zeanah C, Dailey JV, Rosenblatt Mj & Saller DN Jr.
• Comparison of long-term psychological responses of women after pregnancy termination due to fetal anomalies and after perinatal loss. - Salvesen KA, Oyen L, Schmidt N, Malt UF & Eik-Nes SH
Premature delivery in subsequent pregnancies
• An analysis from 2015 which assessed 21 cohort studies, including nearly two million women and found that D&C abortion increased preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies by 29% and very preterm birth by 69%.
Dilatation and curettage procedure raises risk of premature birth in subsequent pregnancies, study finds - BMJ News