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Studies blast ‘safe abortion’ myths

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When considering abortion, a woman is likely to be more concerned with immediate fears for her livelihood than possible complications from the “simple procedure.” She has been prepared to assume that a trip to her local abortion facility is safe, given that it is legal.

It is commonly assumed that American women seeking abortions are safe. For instance, Reuters depicts abortion as very safe, citing a 2012 study authored by Planned Parenthood employees, a member of the National Medical Committee of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and an author compensated by the U.S. distributor of the abortion drug mifepristone, Danco Laboratories. No potential conflicts of interest are apparent.

Those seeking an abortion may wish to conduct further research into the safety of the procedure themselves, rather than relying on the information provided by Abortion Inc. In particular, research in three key areas is highly informative.

1. Abortion is safer than childbirth–Maternal Mortality Myth

The assertion that abortion-related deaths are lower than pregnancy deaths is problematic. Firstly, the recording of injuries and deaths is not a particularly motivating factor for abortion providers. A recent investigation in Illinois alone noted at least 4,000 abortion complications that had gone under-reported. The fact that there are thousands of injuries from legal abortion going virtually unreported should give women in abortion waiting rooms pause for thought.

In the United States, abortion-related injuries and deaths are not reported as such, and complications from abortion may even be included in the category of pregnancy complications. For example, a mother may die of hemorrhaging, but this could be the result of an unsafe abortion. Consequently, death certificates in the United States do not uniformly code for recent pregnancy or abortion, and this data is relied upon by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Center for Health Statistics.

Due to the potential difficulty in detecting prior pregnancies or abortions, connections between pregnancy complications and abortion deaths are not consistently recorded. For instance, ectopic pregnancies are not ever coded as abortion complications, despite the possibility that an abortion provider may have located the pregnancy inaccurately or may have failed to complete the abortion. A related discrepancy is the failure to classify abortion deaths at all. In comparison to the over 600 codes related to pregnancy complications, only one code exists for abortion complications, and that code is not intended to identify the cause of death. As observed by Isabelle Bégin, “Any attempt to code a death due to abortion under an abortion category yields a ‘reject message’ from the computer programs provided by the National Center for Health Statistics of Washington D.C., a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia.”

To gain a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of abortion, it is essential to consider the findings of a study that analyzed reliable data compiled from Danish government sources. These sources included fertility records of births and stillbirths, the national abortion registry, and the cause of death registry. The study concluded that women who had an early or late abortion had significantly higher mortality rates within 1 through 10 years compared to women who delivered.

2. Far Fewer Complications–Legal Means Safer Myth

The adverse effects of abortion on women are readily apparent, unless one is a researcher from UCSF’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, which has a well-documented pro-abortion stance. A press release from the University of California recently observed that the “major complication rate after abortion is extremely low.”

The study focused on low-income women and only considered outcomes within six weeks of the abortion. Following 54,911 abortions, 1,030 women experiencing severe cramps or hemorrhaging were classified as experiencing “minor” complications, while 126 cases necessitated hospital admission, surgery, or a blood transfusion. The researchers downplay the complication rate, suggesting that it is “somewhat overstated in comparison to the total group of women seeking abortions around the country.” This is because the women in the study were all low-income.

The study fails to account for mental health consequences, future fertility problems, and premature birth, let alone those who do not seek medical help. It is likely that complications are understated, and the researchers appear to be attempting to influence the national view on abortion safety.

In order to more accurately assess the implications for the larger society, Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon notes that if these numbers were applied nationally, 22,000 women a year experience abortion complications requiring further medical care or a hospital visit. This potential number of women impacted gives reason to question whether abortion is as safe as women are led to believe. In addition to serving as a marker for elevated mortality rates and complications, abortion presents a cancer risk not evident in such short-term studies.

In countries where abortion is legal, long-term studies have demonstrated a clear link between abortion and breast cancer. While there are many causes of cancer, women considering abortion may wish to be aware of the details of these studies, which indicate a strong correlation between abortion and breast cancer, even among younger women.

3. Less Trauma–Myth That Abortion Alleviates Mental Suffering

The pervasive bias in favor of the view that abortion is harmless to women has led an unsuspecting American populace to believe that abortion helps women emotionally and psychologically. However, an exhaustive study from New Zealand found otherwise. Summarizing the results, Joseph A. D’Agostino concludes: “Pro-abortion activists cite possible psychological harm to women if they give birth to an unwanted child, but the scientific evidence continues to pile up proving the opposite.” The psychological harms of abortion are more significant than the psychological harms of carrying a child to term. Abortion is not a painless, problem-free, quick fix.

While not every woman experiences trauma, there is sufficient research indicating that women can experience a long list of psychological harms from abortion. A 2004 study published in the Medical Science Monitor found that 65 percent of post-abortive American women reported symptoms of PTSD, which they attributed to their abortions, with slightly over 14 percent reporting every one of the symptoms for a clinical diagnosis of PTSD. The claim of both physical and psychological harm following abortion is substantiated by years of scientific research. The thoughtful woman will inquire as to why she is not being informed of these harms except in the most cursory fashion.

Given the dangers now identified by scientists globally, women question the siege mentality that pits them against parents, a boyfriend, or a child. Is it prudent to conform to a feminist establishment that demands women control a crisis at supreme cost to their own personal health and safety?

In light of this, women are now turning to online sources and independent studies rather than relying on media coverage, which has been shown to be inadequate in this context. This represents a significant shift in the empowerment of women.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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