New Study Shows Abortions Increase Risk of Premature Birth in Future Pregnancies

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 4, 2020   |   10:58AM   |   Washington, DC

New research indicates that abortions can negatively affect more than just the mother and her unborn child.

Studies linking abortions to an increased risk of future preterm births and low birth weights mean future children also can be harmed.

A new study from the Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica in Finland confirmed previous studies showing that abortions can lead to an increased risk of preterm birth, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

This particular study found that the risk increased significantly among women who had late-term abortions. In this study, late-term abortions meant abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Researchers studied the health records of 418,690 first-time mothers who gave birth to single children between 1996 and 2013, according to the report.

“Investigators observed an increased risk of extremely preterm birth and very low birthweight among women with late abortion(s) when compared with those with early abortion(s),” the report states.

Though the risk of future preterm births and low birth rates was higher among women who had abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, the study found that women who had abortions earlier in their pregnancies also showed an increased risk when compared to women who never had abortions.

According to the study:

When compared with women having had no abortion, those having had an early abortion had a slight but significantly increased risk of having a small for gestational age birth, after adjusting for potential confounders (Table 3. In the adjusted regression analysis, women having had a late abortion showed a significantly increased risk of extremely preterm birth, very preterm birth, very low birthweight and small for gestational age birth, and a significantly decreased risk of perinatal death, as compared with those having had no abortion (Table 3).

According to the study, women who had abortions after 12 weeks had a 2.28 OR (228%) higher risk of extremely premature birth than women who aborted their unborn babies earlier in their pregnancies.

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The research confirms what many other studies have found. The risks of abortion are many, and future preterm births are a well-established risk for mothers and their future children.

In 2012, another study, published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Human Reproduction, found women who have three or more abortions risk a 35 percent increase in health complications in a future pregnancy. Researchers also saw an increase in the risk of a baby’s death around the time of birth. Having just one abortion or more increased the likelihood of giving birth before reaching 37 weeks of pregnancy.

“To put these risks into perspective, for every 1,000 women, three who have had no abortion will have a baby born under 28 weeks,” Dr Reija Klemetti, who led the study, told the Scotsman newspaper. “This rises to four women among those who have had one abortion, six women who have had two abortions, and 11 women who have had three or more.”

More research published in 2016 found similar results. As National Right to Life reported at the time:

Dr. Pim Ankum of the Academic Medical Centre of the University of Amsterdam, analyzed 21 cohort studies covering almost 2 million women. Ankum found that D&Cs performed for abortion or miscarriage increase the risk of a subsequent premature birth (under 37 weeks) by 29%, and the risk of very premature birth (under 32 weeks) by 69%.

Ankum notes that these statistically significant increases were seen even when measured against control groups of similar women who did not have a D&C prior to pregnancy.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describes how preterm births negatively affect babies on its website: “Preterm-related causes of death together accounted for 35% of all infant deaths in 2010, more than any other single cause. … Preterm birth is also a leading cause of long-term neurological disabilities in children. Preterm birth costs the U.S. health care system more than $26 billion in 2005.”