Abortion Decline in US Leads to Long-Term Reduction in Infant Mortality Rates
by Steven Ertelt
July 31, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Americans received good news back in January when new figures from Planned Parenthood’s research group showed the number of abortions nationwide have fallen to their lowest point in 30 years and have declined 25 percent since 1990. That has resulted in a drop in the nation’s infant mortality rate.
The Alan Guttmacher Institute report found just over 1.2 million abortions in the United States in 2005, down nearly 25% from their high of 1.6 million in 1990.
The last time the number of abortions was that low was 1976 — just three years after Roe v. Wade. The abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 women age 15-44) came in at 19.4 per thousand in 2005 — the lowest since 1974.
Those declining numbers have had an effect on the infant mortality rate, according to new figures from the Centers for Disease Control, in part because abortion causes an increase in the risk of premature birth in future pregnancies.
New CDC figures show the infant mortality rate at 6.86 per 1,000 live births — a drop compared to the 6.89 rate in 2000 and the 7.57 rate in 1995.
Not surprisingly, infant mortality rates are higher in ethnic groups that have more abortions and lower in groups that have fewer.
The CDC noted, "Infant mortality rates ranged from 4.89 deaths per 1,000 live births for Asian or Pacific Islander (API) mothers to 13.63 for non-Hispanic black mothers."
In addition, the CDC said, "The preterm-related infant mortality rate for non-Hispanic black mothers was 3.4 times higher" than for other ethnic groups.
Black women have more abortions compared to their white counterparts, which accounts for the figures.
As Day Gardner, the head of the National Black Pro-Life Union has noted, African-American women are 4.8 times more likely to have an abortion than a white woman.
Abortion’s link to premature birth helps explain these figures and premature birth often leads to higher infant mortality.
It also shows the long-term consequence of abortion as the CDC noted, "The percentage of infant deaths that were ‘preterm-related’ increased from 34.6 percent in 2000 to 36.5 percent in 2005."
A French study in May 2005 showed an induced abortion can increase the risk by premature birth in subsequent pregnancies by as much as 70 percent.
That’s because the abortions can damage the lining of the uterus, where unborn children grow and develop.
The study was based on medical notes and interviews of 2837 French women who had a premature birth during 1997, which represents about one-third of the total number of premature births that year.
Those who gave birth between 28 and 32 weeks of pregnancy were 40 percent more likely to have had an abortion compared with mothers who gave birth within two weeks of the expected due date.
Mothers who gave birth to babies from 22 to 27 weeks into the pregnancy were 70 percent more likely to have had an abortion.
Premature births also have issues as far as breast cancer is concerned — another abortion link.
Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, a New Jersey based breast cancer expert, says, "The basic biological changes that occur during pregnancy account for the increase in breast cancer risk for both induced abortion and premature delivery shown in the preponderance of studies."
In fact, Lanfranchi indicated that late-term abortions are particularly damaging to women.
"Until maturation is well underway after 32 weeks gestation, the longer a woman is pregnant before premature delivery or induced abortion, the higher her risk of breast cancer because her breasts have greater numbers of lobules where breast cancers start," she notes.
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