|After-Effects of Abortion: Are There Long-Term Problems?|
… But is that really it?
Pro-life activists say no; abortion has many after-effects, raising a woman’s risk for certain long-term problems.
Pro-choice activists say that’s nonsense.
Breast cancer is one of the most hotly debated aspects, but an article about surgical abortions on the organization's website says:
A study of more than 1,800 women appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1994 found that overall, women having abortions increased their risk of getting breast cancer before age 45 by 50%.
And then, says National Right to Life, there’s the potential for postabortion syndrome, with possible signs ranging from alcohol abuse to sexual dysfunction and attempted suicide.
And about breast cancer? They cite a 2003 National Cancer Institute workshop in which, says a fact sheet on the Federation's website, “over 100 of the world’s leading experts on pregnancy and breast cancer” participated. They found that "'induced abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk.'"
Ours is just a snippet of the larger debate. But it’s a place to start. Who’s more convincing this time around? And what do you believe?
You can share your opinions here.
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Argument: Yes, abortion has long-term after effects, including an increased risk of premature birth.
Abortion damages women in many ways, including causing preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies.
Preterm birth is the leading cause of infant death in the Western world. The 2006 Institute of Medicine report states: “Premature birth (birth before 37 weeks) has increased 27% since 1981. In 2002 the premature (preterm or PTB) rate was 12.1% of all live births.” In the appendix, abortion is noted as an “immutable” risk factor for preterm birth. Over 59 statistically significant studies to date attest to this association.
The 2004 EUROPOP study (data from 17 countries) concluded that the risk of very preterm birth (22 to 32 weeks of pregnancy) increased by 50 percent after one abortion and by 80 percent after two abortions. The 2005 EPIPAGE study stated that among women who had one or more abortions there was a 50 percent increase in very preterm births (22 to 32 weeks of pregnancy) and with two or more abortions, there was 160 percent increase. This study also documented a 70 percent increase in extremely preterm deliveries (22 to 27 weeks) for those with one prior abortion.
Lumley (Australia) found that four induced abortions increased a woman’s risk of preterm birth 800 percent. Extreme preterm birth results in a cerebral palsy rate 38 times higher than term birth.
The Institute of Medicine report also reported that African-American women have triple the rate of “very” preterm birth (less than 32 weeks) compared to Caucasian women; socioeconomic status and behavioral factors did not account for this difference. According to the Center for Disease Control statistics, African-American women have roughly triple the rate of induced abortion as compared with caucasian women.
Induced abortion increases the risk of preterm birth.
Argument: No, abortion doesn't have long-term after effects, including psychological problems.
I’ve yet to meet a woman who actually wants an abortion. Most women reach that conclusion after a grueling, heartwrenching process. If a woman decides abortion is her best option, I don’t think she’ll have long-lasting effects. A 1992 study published in Professional Psychology evaluated 5,000 women for eight years and analyzed emotional well-being before and after abortion. Researchers concluded women with high self-esteem before abortion were likely to have high self-esteem afterwards.
A 2007 review conducted by the Geneva Department of Psychiatry suggests most psychological issues occur during the pre-abortion period, when the woman is struggling with what to do. The researchers said most women experience relief, decreased anxiety and less depression in the months following abortion. A 2000 study published in Archives of General Psychiatry studied women for two years following abortion. Approximately 75 percent were satisfied and attributed more positive than negative outcomes to their choice.
I don’t mean to imply that abortion should be taken lightly. On the contrary, dealing with an unwanted pregnancy is one of life’s toughest decisions. It’s often more difficult because the woman may be young, financially insecure or in an unstable relationship.
Deciding to deliver the baby is no psychological walk in the park either. After enduring physical and emotional rigors of pregnancy, she is faced with keeping baby or adopting out. Keeping baby may be OK; however, too often these babies are brought into conditions of poverty,
When a woman is faced with an unwanted pregnancy, there’s no easy decision. She should be able to decide what’s best for her—keep baby, adopt baby out, terminate the pregnancy. That’s the extraordinary thing about prochoice—it offers choices.
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Last updated and/or approved: January 2012. Original article appeared in September/October 2008 former print magazine. Bios current as of that issue. This general health-care information is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.
I have done the 'unthinkable' three times
written by Melissa , February 14, 2013
If you are pregnant and you don't know what to do - don't terminate!
I was pressured by partner,family, society and friends to terminate on three separate occasions. Luckily for me I have also had three normal healthy babies. I began to suffer panic attacks/anxiety and insomnia at 21 after the first termination. I was obsessed with the idea of atoning for the wrong i committed. I am not religious. I planned to fall pregnant and gave birth to the next child (my 'first' child). Life is difficult with a young child and zero family support so to appease my partner the next child was also terminated. I dearly wanted that child. A few years later I had another normal healthy baby. Eight years later I fell pregnant at 39 and knew I couldn't cope with another abortion. I had a healthy baby. Three years later it happened again and - against my better judgement and after counselling with a pro-termination clinic - I made a terrible error that I cannot undo. Ever. I am obsessed with having another but fear that I am now unable to conceive as I now miscarry. I am a mess emotionally and mentally and find it hard to work because I cry all the time. I am on anti-depressants for life.
If a woman is ambivalent about termination - she should not terminate. If a woman is already 'attached' to the baby inside her she will grieve for that child forever. I guarantee it.
Termination is a big rip-off, it's a lie because those children are not erased. They live on in the hearts and minds of women all over the world who remember the dates - termination dates, due dates, how old would they be now? What would they look like? What would they sound like? We will never know. Abortion - and I have done it three times - is not the answer. Not by a long shot. Contraception is not always fulll-proof. Society needs to support women who feel vulnerable and give them the strength to get through and give birth to the children they already have inside them.