Second Danish Study Shows Multiple Abortions Increase Maternal Mortality

By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL-ETF Director of Education & Research

Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D.

On the heels of a study that found higher mortality rates in mothers who aborted their first pregnancies, Priscilla K. Coleman, David C. Reardon, and Byron C. Calhoun have published a new study which looks at the effect of multiple abortions, miscarriages, or births among Danish women on those rates over a 25-year period.

Compared to  women who had not aborted there was an increased mortality rate of 45% for women having one abortion and 114% higher for two abortions.  For women those having three or more abortions, the overall risk of death was an astronomical 191.7% higher.

The study, “Reproductive history patters and long-term mortality rates: a Danish, population-based record linkage study,” appeared in the European Journal of Public Health in its September 5, 2012 on-line edition.

In the study, Coleman, Reardon, and Calhoun looked at entire female population of women born in Denmark between 1962 and 1993, who did not die before age 16 or before January 1980. They linked data from national healthcare registries tracking deaths, abortions, births, miscarriages and other natural losses (e.g., stillbirths).

All told, Coleman and the researcher team looked at the data from 1,001,266 women.

From January of 1980 to the end of 2004, there were 5,137 deaths recorded in this population group.  While most of these deaths (2,794) were among women for whom no pregnancy was recorded, the distribution of others showed higher mortality rates among women who aborted or miscarried.

They found that, even when controlling for a woman’s age at her last pregnancy, year of her birth, and the number of pregnancies, mortality rates for women who had ever aborted were significantly higher. By contrast there was a decreased death risk among women recording multiple births as compared to those women who having no births.

(The mortality rate associated with miscarriages was also high, but authors speculate that this may have been due, at least in part, to their only being recorded if treated at hospitals, when the child was probably older, larger, and the medical situation is likely to have been more dire.)

While previous reports on maternal mortality rates have relied on information from death certificates and have asserted that abortion is safer than childbirth, Coleman and her colleagues say that

“The primary strengths of the study are the use of large scale population level data that includes reliable records on all possible reproductive outcomes and prospectively gathered data from different birth cohorts of women. The results of comprehensive studies of this nature offer more accurate information regarding mortality risks associated with reproductive outcomes than the data acquired by governmental agencies relying on information primarily garnered from death certificates.”

What this data shows, with increasing clarity, is that abortion is deadly for mothers as well as their children.

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