Mayo Clinic Under Fire for Playing Down Abortion-Infertility Link

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 8, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mayo Clinic Under Fire for Playing Down Abortion-Infertility Link Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 8, 2005

Rochester, MN ( — The prestigious May Clinic is coming under fire for telling patients that abortion does not cause infertility due to endometriosis, despite research showing the contrary. The information comes in response to a question from a patient submitted to the Q&A section of the May Clinic web site.

The questioner asked the Mayo Clinic whether any documented evidence existed between abortion and endometriosis.

Responding for the clinic, an unnamed staff member said “there is no evidence of a link.”

“Endometriosis is primarily a disease of women who have never been pregnant,” the Mayo Clinic writes.

However, according to Deveber Institute in Canada, “No previous births and an earlier abortion put a woman at significant risk of post-abortion complications leading to possible infertility.”

A 1986 study “Post-Abortal Endometritis and Isolation of Chlamydia Trachomatis,” published in the medical journal Obstetrics and Gynecology found that not only is it possible to contract endometritis from an abortion, but also that the risk is higher for teenagers. According to the study, teenagers are 2.5 times more likely than women 20-29 to acquire endometritis following an abortion.

In a factsheet “Abortion: Questions and Answers” prepared by the Planned Parenthood of Edmonton, Canada for prospective patients, the abortion business also acknowledged the risk.


Abortion businesses also acknowledge the risk that abortions can have in causing problems for women.

“Infections can occur from an abortion,” PPE writes. “At worst the infection can become a case of endometriosis (the pelvic area becomes inflamed) and the uterus has to be removed surgically.”

“Most infections, however, are not serious if treated early,” PPE concludes — which leads to another post-abortion risk.

Whether the Mayo Clinic’s claim is true, a woman with endometriosis or an infection who has an abortion could be at a higher risk for infertility, especially if the abortion facility does not test for infections beforehand.

On 1994 study by J.L. Sorenson, published in Infection magazine, found that women who had untreated chlamydia infections at the time of their abortions had a 72 percent risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease compared to 8 percent of women who were treated prior to their abortions.

Another study, published in 1993 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that women with a chlamydia infection who delayed seeking treatment for three or more days from the onset of symptoms were six times more likely to develop infertility problems than those who sought treatment right away

Research also shows that abortion can lead to infertility by increasing the risk of miscarriages.

A 1986 report in the medical journal Epidemiology reveals women with a history of abortion have a greater risk of fetal loss than women who had no previous abortions. Women with two prior pregnancies carried to term and no abortions had the lowest risk, while women with two prior abortions had the highest risk.

Despite those noted risks, the Mayo Clinic did not mention them and played down a risk of scarring as a result of the abortion.

“It is possible — but very unusual — for an abortion to cause scarring on the inside of the uterus,” Mayo added in the response. “This scar tissue could prevent conception or interfere with subsequent pregnancies. However, the scar tissue typically can be removed.”

Mayo admitted that abortions can increase the risk of adenomyosis, a closely related disease that causes painful periods and abnormal bleeding, but not infertility.