Abortion is usually a singular decision regarding an unexpected pregnancy; however, that one decision can have long-term ramifications on a woman and her future family. Whether she has chemical or surgical abortion, most women go on to have another pregnancy. However, after having an abortion women are more likely to have complications that can impact subsequent pregnancies and the health of their future children.
- Preterm Birth: Babies of mothers who have had abortions are more likely to have a premature delivery, especially “very early” premature births at less than 28 weeks gestation. According to research, up to one-third of babies born prematurely could be the result of a previous abortion. The more often a woman aborts a pregnancy, the increased the risk. Babies born prematurely are more likely to need specialized medical attention due to labored breathing, respiratory distress, difficulty feeding due to lack of reflexes for sucking and swallowing, small size, and other factors that can impact the overall health of the child. Premature birth is also a common cause of infant death and disability.
- Low Birth Weight: As a result of premature birth, and sometimes other reasons, the baby may be underweight. Low birth weight, a baby born under 5 pounds 8 ounces, usually has breathing problems, an inability to maintain body temperature, difficulty feeding and gaining weight, infections and other problems. Recently, the trend of low birth weight babies is increasing and abortion could be a contributing factor.
- Placenta Previa: The placenta is the main source of nutrients for a developing preborn. Placenta previa is when that lifeline in the uterus is blocking some or the entire cervix. This pregnancy complication causes bleeding throughout the pregnancy. If the situation doesn’t resolve, it usually requires a woman to have a C-section since a vaginal delivery would be difficult. It could also result in a preterm delivery.
- Stillbirth: There may also be a connection between stillbirth and abortion. In one study, the legality of abortion coincided with the increase in the rate of stillbirth overtime. Studies have also determined that there is an increased risk of suicide a year after a woman experiences a stillbirth.
Through the research is not definitive, there is a possible connection between abortion and a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer. Most research has determined that birth and lactation protect a woman against breast cancer, meaning that women who have an abortion lose that crucial protection. Sadly, the proper research studies haven’t been done in over 20 years to fully mine this potentially critical risk factor.
Though this only happens after severe complications, it is possible that an abortion can make it more difficult or impossible for a woman to carry a child. For example, if a woman has an ectopic pregnancy and is negligently given a chemical abortion, the ensuing complications could cause unnecessary damage to her ovaries. In addition, scarring and damage to the uterus can make the next pregnancy extremely challenging and potentially life-threatening. Women having an abortion sometimes need a hysterectomy due to a complication, something that could’ve been avoided if the child was brought to term.
It is rare when it happens, but devastating every time. Women do die from abortions, but the tracking of these deaths in the U.S. isn’t sufficient and rarely reported as an abortion-related death. The biggest cause of death is usually infection due to an incomplete abortion. However, there is a strong possibility that women who have abortions have a higher chance of dying from events like suicide and homicide. In one Finnish study, half of the six women who died after having an abortion committed suicide.
There are many abortion complications that women should be aware of but it is possible for a woman to be educated about the problems she can experience. The lack of proper data collection in the United States means that a woman is not truly informed about the risks of an abortion. As a result, she cannot give true consent for the procedure because the information she is given is often biased and driven by political factors. If a woman is considering an abortion, she needs to know that her decision may affect any future pregnancy, her mental health and can result in death. The abortion industry is not interested in discussing some of these negative effects because it reveals the truth. Abortion isn’t about women, healthcare or science—it’s about ideology and money. Women deserve better.