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Monday, March 18, 2013

The Link Between Abortion and Preterm Deliveries

Most of us know the obvious consequences of abortion—dead babies, wounded and grieving mothers, an entire generation gone. Abortion’s tragedy extends even further, though. An increasing number of studies show that abortion not only affects the life of the baby involved, but also the lives of subsequent siblings, who have an increased chance of being born premature if their mothers have had previous abortions.

Premature infants are in more danger of having health complications both immediately after birth and later in life. The risk of cerebral palsy is higher in premature babies, as are recurring respiratory problems. Women should be aware, then, that having abortions can increase their risk of preterm births in later pregnancies.

According to a recent Canadian study at McGill University in Montreal, women who had had one abortion “were 45% more likely to have premature births by 32 weeks, 71% more likely to have premature births by 28 weeks, and 117% more likely to have premature births by 26 weeks.”[1] You can read more about the McGill study here.

Last fall the New York Times reported a similar study conducted in Finland, which found that the risk for very preterm birth (defined as 28 weeks and earlier) was higher when women had had multiple previous abortions.  While the researchers were careful not to say that abortion is itself a problem, they did think their findings should be taught in sexual education classes. The online version of this Times piece is here.

These studies aren’t limited to one country, nor are they being reported by only “pro-life” media sources. Researchers have studied women from multiple generations and countries, and their findings are published in medical journals, newspapers, and online news outlets worldwide. No  matter where people stand on the issue of abortion, they should agree that abortion-vulnerable women must receive all the information they need to make a fully informed decision about abortion’s consequences. In addition to counseling women at abortion facilities about the risk, schools are the logical places to begin educating about this growing problem of preterm delivery.

[1] Baklinski, Thaddeus. “Abortion Linked to Significantly Increased Chance of Preterm Birth: Canadian Study.” Life Site News. 13 Feb. 2013. Web. 11 March 2013. 

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