New Zealand law requires that a patient give informed consent to a medical procedure. Almost total reliance is placed upon the medical profession to inform the patient of the risks that she faces.

Voice for Life is deeply concerned that in the case of induced abortion the risks and side effects are usually ignored, minimised or denied by the profession. In NZ, 98% of induced abortions are carried out on the grounds that the pregnancy poses a danger to the mental health of the mother that is not normally attendant upon childbirth.

If this were reality, then VFL would be very concerned that mothers who are in this state of mental illness are being asked to give consent to a medical procedure that is proven to have detrimental effect upon their physical and mental wellbeing.

This page explores some of the risks associated with induced abortion. Click on the tabs below to read more.

Physical Complications

A researcher at Christchurch Women’s Hospital, Sykes, studied 2879 cases of abortion performed at that hospital and found a complication readmission rate of 5.8% .

The Abortion Supervisory Committee, which is charged with monitoring the affect that abortion has on women’s health only collects data on those women who suffer immediate complications (the complication occurs prior to the mother leaving the premises where she had the abortion and she requires admission to a hospital). Complications in this category arise in about 0.5% of cases.

A publication of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK acknowledges a complication rate of over 11% and an American study by Major and colleagues shows that when women themselves are asked whether they suffered physical complications, at least one in six (seventeen per cent) report that they did.

Pelvic Inflamatory Disease

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) can cause infertility and is life threatening. With increased sexual activity at younger ages, and with the trend to have more than one partner, it is not surprising that we should find that there is an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.

In NZ, it is recognised that we are on the verge of an epidemic of STDs particularly chlamydia and gonorrhea. The Ministry of Health has identified that the highest infection rates for women are those 15-19 years old. The Ministry also identified that ectopic pregnancy can be a late complication of some STDs, including chlamydia. PID is a leading cause of ectopic pregnancy.

When the abortion is performed, the instruments as they are passed into the womb, carry the organisms from the cervix into the womb itself. The raw tissue and blood clot left behind after the abortion makes an ideal environment for the organisms to grow and so set up an infection which can then spread into the fallopian tubes thus causing PID.

It is considered that between 1 and 10% of all women going for an abortion will develop serious post abortion PID. The highest rate being amongst the youngest. 25% of mother who have chlamydia at the time of their abortion will develop PID and 20% of these will require hospitalisation.

We will now explore the correlation between chlamydia and PID.

A study from Scandinavia reports:
Rate of chlamydia infection in 873 women requesting first trimester abortions

  • -19 yrs 16.8%
  • 20-24 yrs 11.5%
  • 25-29 yrs 7.4%
  • 30+ yrs 3.2%
  • Overall 9.3%

Problem Abortion & PID

  • Subsequent spontaneous miscarriage 22%
  • Subsequent infertility 10%
  • Dyspareunia (painful intercourse) 20%
  • Chronic pelvic pain 14%
  • Further episode of PID 41%

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 1986 vol 155 pp 76-80.

As can be seen the consequences of have an abortion can be far reaching and permanent for the mother as well as the child whose life was terminated.

Effects on subsequent pregnancy?

The following table is an excellent summary of the effects that an abortion has upon subsequent pregnancy.

Complication of pregnancy Number of previous abortions
Nil One Two or More
Bleeding in 1st trimester 8% 10.7% 12%
Premature rupture of membranes 4.1% 4.2% 7.5%
Breech or other abnormal position of baby 4.6% 5.3% 6.7%
Low birth weight (<2.5kg) 7.0%  7.2% 10.3%
Premature birth 6.6% 7.6%  9.5%

Across the board there appears to be a 50% increase in the rate of complications following an earlier abortion.

Across the board there appears to be a 50% increase in the rate of complications following an earlier abortion.

Breast Cancer

“Breast cancer poses a significant threat to the health and survival of women in the Western world. Excess estrogen exposure has emerged as a major risk factor, raising concern about the way in which induced abortion exposes women to the unprotected cancer-inducing effects of the high estrogen environment of early pregnancy. Since 1957, evidence linking induced abortion to the later development of breast cancer has been observed in 27 of 33 studies worldwide including thirteen of fourteen US studies.”

In 2002, Voice for Life hosted Angela Lanfranchi MD FACS, during her NZ visit. Despite her extensive research, the medical profession has not readily accepted her findings.

During pregnancy the body increases the estrogen levels which in turn stimulate maturation of the breast lobules through a 4 phase process. When the maturation process is halted particularly during stages one and two, the lobules fail to completely mature. When a pregnancy is terminated, these stage 1 & 2 cells continue to grow but never mature, hence the risk of breast cancer is increased.

This risk factor is even greater in teens;

“A teenager who has an abortion between 9 and 24 weeks, has a 30% chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. If that same teenager also has a family history of breast cancer, the risk increases so much that one study showed all such women developed breast cancer by the age of 45.”

Read more here.

Psychological

In abortion, the woman’s grief is not acknowledged because the reality of her child’s death is not acknowledged. The suppression of this grief coupled with the suppression of fact concerning the reality and humanity of the unborn child gives rise to psychological disturbances.

There are parallels to the maladies suffered due to the repression of grief experienced by women in the event of their child being stillborn or when they miscarried, especially when late in the pregnancy. The major difference is that those women who abort also have to deal with they innate sense of guilt that accompanies the knowledge that they were responsible for the death of their child.

The British Journal of Psychiatry (vol 160 1992) states that approximately 10% of women having an abortion will suffer marked, severe or persistent psychological or psychiatric disturbances.

Catherine Speckhard PhD published a study of the long term effects of abortion on women. The findings included:

  • 81% reported a preoccupation with the aborted child.
  • 73% reported flashbacks of the abortion experience.
  • 69% reported feelings of craziness after the abortion.
  • 54% recalled nightmares related to the abortion.
  • 35% had perceived visitations from the aborted child.
  • 23% reported hallucinations related to the abortion.
  • 96% in retrospect regarded abortion as the taking of a human life – as murder.
  • 72% of the women said that they had no religious beliefs of substance at the time of their abortion.

A further study compared 35 women who had abortions in their teenage years with 36 women whose abortions occurred after the age of twenty. 80% of those aborting as adolescents had nightmares compared with 44% of those aborting as adults. They also found that antisocial and paranoid personality disorders as well as drug abuse were found to be significantly higher in the group who aborted as teenagers.

Dr David Reardon of the Elliott Institute summed up the emotional effects as anxiety, guilt, remorse, broken relationships, sexual disfunction, sense of loss, deterioration of self image, and self punishment. The delayed emotional problems expressed themselves most often in nightmares where there is a child in terrible danger or begging for help, and the women are helpless to do anything. They are aware that this is their own child. In many cases, these nightmares were so bad that the women concerned had insomnia because they feared going to sleep.

Conclusion

The incidence of complication among women who undergo an induced abortion is far higher than most health authorities would care to recognise. The rates are higher amongst teenagers and those undergoing repeat abortions. The number of repeat abortions in NZ is increasing rapidly, currently 1/3 of abortions are repeats.

With each abortion the risk of complications increases thus placing women in the increasingly risky situation of suffering long term physical and psychological damage to their health.

Voice for Life recognises the need for these risk factors to be made known to women prior to a certifying consultant giving authority for an abortion to be performed. The increased risk for teenagers makes it imperative that parents are involved in the decision making process when abortion is being considered as they are more likely to know of the family’s medical history which can have a direct and even fatal bearing on the outcome of the abortion.

sharonosbourneSharon Osbourne: Having an Abortion Was the “Worst Thing I Ever Did”

Sharon Osbourne has seen and done some crazy things over the years. After all, her husband is famous hard rock singer Ozzy Osbourne.

But, in an interview, the reality star and music management guru says having an abortion was the worst thing she ever did.

Sharon Osbourne, reality star and talent-show judge on the British X Factor TV show, suffered three miscarriages due to damage to her cervix after having had an abortion at age 17.

She recounted: “I had an abortion at 17 and it was the worst thing I ever did . . . I went alone. I was terrified. It was full of other young girls, and we were all terrified and looking at each other and nobody was saying a bloody word. I howled my way through it, and it was horrible.

I would never recommend it to anyone because it comes back to haunt you. When I tried to have children, I lost three — I think it was because something had happened to my cervix during the abortion.”

Read an excerpt here.