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Abortion’s Negative Impact on Women’s Health, Part Two: A Lifestyle Associated with Violence

by | Nov 6, 2017

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

Editor’s note. Last Friday, we began a multi-part series on abortion’s negative health consequences based on a report by bioethicist Dr. Gregory Pike for the British pro-life group, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). The report itself is available here.

In part one, we discussed how the reality of abortion-related maternal mortality is grossly misrepresented. Dr. Pike shows how studies from countries with more complete medical records reveal that abortion is nearly three times riskier than childbirth, considerably more dangerous that has been reported by the abortion industry in the U.S.

Today in Part Two, we will take a look a few of the reasons this might be the case; how abortion may be connected to violence; and giving birth may be linked to better health for women.

There are risks associated with childbirth [1] but far less than the risks of having an abortion.

The SPUC report, Abortion and Women’s Health, makes plain that data repeatedly confirms that women having abortions have a one-year mortality rate nearly three times that of women giving birth. Put another way, there is something about abortion that connects it to a riskier, more deadly lifestyle.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

We mentioned in Part One that women having abortions also had a greater risk of suffering a violent death, whether by their own hand or others. Intimate Partner Violence also appears to be part of the tragic equation.

One startling statistic found by Dr. Pike was that in a study of London clinics, there was a six times higher rate of intimate partner violence among women having abortions than there was for women receiving antenatal care (medical care rendered after the birth).

A study of women in several countries by the World Health Organization showed that while the rate in London was particularly high, it was consistent with evidence they found elsewhere.

WHO’s study revealed that women suffering Intimate Partner Violence had greater odds of unintended pregnancy and about three times the risk of having an abortion as others.

The claim is not necessarily that abortion leads to Intimate Partner Violence, although that may indeed sometimes be the case. Rather there is something about the circumstances or the relationship dynamics that leads Intimate Partner Violence to be found more often among women having abortions.

According to Dr. Pike, women experiencing Intimate Partner Violence were also more likely to think about suicide if they had some sort of child loss in their personal history, whether from abortion, stillbirth, or miscarriage. There is also a connection between Intimate Partner Violence and repeat abortion, Pike says, part of “a repetitive cycle of abuse and pregnancy.”

Pike cites an American study showing that child abuse was connected to teenage dating violence which was in turn connected to Intimate Partner Violence. And, as Pike points out, as a woman’s experience of gender based violence increased, so did her odds of experiencing abortion.

Given the persistence and clarity of the connection, the report recommends that, those seeking abortion should be screened for Intimate Partner Violence and referred to the appropriate support services.

Abortion and Sex Trafficking

Those who engage in sex trafficking have a vested interest in abortion to keep their girls in prostitution. “Forced abortion is common for those trafficked into prostitution,” the SPUC report declares, “and often provided by untrained or poorly qualified practitioners in unsafe settings.”

A 2014 U.S. study of sex trafficking survivors found 114 abortions among 107 women. Many of those abortions were forced, Pike says.

It gets worse.

Over half the women in the U.S. study said the abortionist performing the abortion knew her situation. There is no indication in the SPUC report that those doctors reported or did anything about it. In fact, Pike points out, one of the women having abortion indicated that the doctor performing her abortion… was also her client!

Good News: Birth’s Protective Effects

We also discussed in Part One how women giving birth had a lower mortality rate than women undergoing abortions. While some of that is due to the mothers not going through the physical trauma of a surgical or chemical abortion, it also appears to be the case that giving birth confers some sort of “protective effect” upon the mother, contributing to her overall physical well-being, according to Abortion and Women’s Health.

One simple factor, Pike suggests, is that a woman going through childbirth is probably seeing a doctor more often and having her health regularly monitored.

Another, Pike says, is that “pregnancies carried to term are associated with physiological changes that reduce the risk of reproductive cancers, and that behavioral changes associated with being a parent improve healthy lifestyle behaviours and reduce risky behaviours.”

Pike says, “Women who have abortions may already take more risk or care less for their health.”

[1] Women giving birth have to watch out for high blood pressure which can lead to preeclampsia. Women having surgical abortions worry about perforations, lacerations, hemorrhage, while those having chemical abortions have to watch for bleeding, infections, or the possible rupture of undetected ectopic pregnancies.

Categories: Abortion
Tags: abortion