Study Claiming Abortion Safer Than Birth Totally Misleading

Opinion   |   Krystle Weeks   |   Jan 25, 2012   |   11:32AM   |   Washington, DC

As thousands were on the national mall in Washington, D.C. for the March for Life, Reuters reported on a study that suggests abortion is safer than giving birth. I find it odd that the release of such a study was timed to coincide with an event that celebrates and vows to protect the sanctity of life.

There are some interesting findings from this study commissioned by the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. One is the fact that the authors of the study, Drs. Elizabeth Raymond and David Grimes, used estimates from the Guttmacher Institute, which is formerly tied to Planned Parenthood. Another finding that was particularly interesting is that they claim abortion is safer due to the amount of deaths that occurred during live childbirth.

There are some medical risks with childbirth, but the effects of abortion are much more dangerous and long-lasting. Jeanne Monahan, Director, Center for Human Dignity at FRC, recently published an editorial that appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which focused on abortion’s devastating impact on mental health. According to Monahan:

In the fall, a meta-analysis was published in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry. The report was the most extensive of its kind to date — the author looked at 22 published studies and data from more than 870,000 women. The results showed that women who have an abortion are at an 81 percent increased risk for mental health problems, including anxiety disorders, depression, drug abuse and suicidal behaviors. The study revealed the shocking statistic that close to 10 percent of all mental health problems in women can be directly attributed to abortion.

There are other impacts, as well, that are worth noting. FRC also released a brochure, “The Top Ten Myths About Abortion,” which provided some insight into the medical complications from abortion. A surgical abortion could impact whether a woman would be able to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy in the future.

Physical complications include cervical lacerations and injury, uterine perforations, bleeding, hemorrhage, serious infection, pain, and incomplete abortion. Risks of complications increase with gestational age and are dependent upon the abortion procedure.

Long-term physical consequences of abortion include future preterm birth and placenta previa (improper implantation of the placenta) in future pregnancies. Premature delivery is associated with higher rates of cerebral palsy, as well as respiratory, brain, and bowel abnormalities. Pregnancies complicated by placenta previa result in high rates of preterm birth, low birth weight, and perinatal death.

This does not include the physical complications from RU-486, which is prescribed to women who seek a chemical abortion. These include: hemorrhage, infection, and missed ectopic pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration recently reported that in the ten years since RU-486 was approved in the U.S., at least 11 women have died as a result of complications related to taking the drug.

Additionally, 612 women have been hospitalized, and 339 women required blood transfusions as a result of taking RU-486. (Food and Drug Administration, “Mifepristone U.S. Postmarketing Adverse Events Summary through 04/30/2011”).

Additionally, government compiled statistics from Poland confirm that the number of abortion-related deaths significantly decreased when abortion was essentially outlawed. The fact that this study was released to coincide with the March for Life activities is not surprising, considering that the pro-choice lobby will do anything to ensure that abortion is in the forefront.

LifeNews Note: Krystle D. Weeks is the Web Editor for the Family Research Council, where she is responsible for maintaining the content on the website. She is a graduate of McDaniel College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in social work. Following her undergraduate work, Miss Weeks studied briefly at Columbia University in New York and worked with children with behavioral impairments in a social service agency.