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by Suzie Ama
Twenty-five years ago a co-worker and close friend of mine shared a story with me that raised my awareness about a very dark side of abortion--its negative effects upon women. When she was in college, she became pregnant. She had the baby, gave him up for adoption, and finished college. After college, she married, divorced, and remarried several times. When married to her third husband, she became pregnant again. She confided in me that her husband threatened to leave her if she didn't terminate the pregnancy. Shattered at the prospect of a third divorce, she had the abortion. She shared that while she had great sadness about not knowing where her son was in the world, she was comforted that he had been adopted by a good family, and she imagined what great successes he was experiencing. At the time she and I had become friends, he would have been a young man--perhaps at college or perhaps with a family of his own. She told me, however, that she bore a much deeper grief over the abortion. She utterly regretted it and couldn't forgive herself. Her husband turned out not to be worth the sacrifice...he became emotionally abusive and was unfaithful to her.
It immediately struck me that she was a victim as much as her aborted child. She was bullied into making a "choice" she did not want to make, she grieved that decision terribly, and then she was abused and neglected by her husband for years later. I have since learned that her experience is not uncommon. I have a deep longing to inform women of these and other risks because I want to help alleviate suffering. I discovered there are 8 significant ways that abortion hurts women:
Abortion increases risk of maternal mortality. A 14-year study that included the entire female population of Finland, ages 15-49 years of age, showed that the maternal death rate of abortion is almost 3 times higher than childbirth. The study is published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Specifically, the results state that "The mortality was lower after a birth (28.2/100,000) than after a spontaneous (51.9/100,000) or induced abortion (83.1/100,000)." This finding is correlated by other data, showing that in similar regions of the world, countries in which abortion is illegal have a much lower incidence of maternal mortality than do countries where is it legal.
Abortion increases risks for future pregnancies, including premature birth and cerebral palsy. Meta-research, examining 37 other studies, shows significant correlation between abortion and subsequent risks to low birth weight and premature birth. Multiple abortions dramatically increase the risk of future premature births, as well as the risk of cerebral palsy.
Abortion increases risk of breast cancer. Research published in the World Journal of Surgical Oncology shows that abortion increases risk of breast cancer 66%. Incidence of breast cancer in China has increased 39% in a 9 year period, subsequent to the One Child Abortion policy.
Abortion increases risk of mental health disorders. A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that abortion poses a "moderate to high risk of mental health problems after an abortion." A study published in the Medical Science Monitor indicated that 65% of American women suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following an abortion, and the women attributed the PTSD to the abortion itself.
Legalized abortion provides greater opportunity for women to be manipulated and coerced. A study published in the Medical Science Monitor indicates that 64% of women who had an abortion, felt pressured or coerced to do so. Greater than 50% felt rushed or uncertain about the decision, and only 11% felt that they received adequate counseling prior to making the decision.
Abortion increases conflict or violence in primary relationship. The Medical Science Monitor study cited above showed that among American women, less than 1% of relationships with the primary partner improved following an abortion. Rather, there was a 27% increase in problems in relationships, and 20% of relationships with the primary partner ended. Published in the The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (TOG), a study indicated that 30% of women who had a second abortion were in an abusive relationship. A University of Auckland study found that 10% of women who had ever been pregnant were victims of violence while pregnant. Of this group, 75% had been abused prior to the pregnancy, and in most cases, the abuse became worse during pregnancy. There is a correlation between abuse and a desire of both parties wanting to terminate the pregnancy. The American Journal of Public Health indicates that pregnancy increases the risk of death by homicide, particularly among minority women, with the perpetrator almost always being the primary partner. While it may be claimed that pregnancy is the risk factor, not abortion, the ease at which abortion may be obtained makes pregnancy less tolerated by those who do not desire the pregnancy. Morever, it is reasonable that the devaluing of unborn children results in a collective devaluing of all life, hence increased abuse and violence to women.
Abortion puts female fetuses at risk. Abortion for sex-selection is becoming widespread worldwide, with predominant preference for males. It is estimated that within 2 decades, there will be 10%-20% more men than women in parts of Asia. However, it is becoming more commonplace in developed countries, like the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. Excessive numbers of men results in higher crime rates and violence against women.
Abortion Hurts Women of Color. All of the above risks affect women of color disproportionately. In 2010, New York City's demographic composition consisted of the following: Black persons (16%), Hispanic persons (18%), Asian persons (7%), and White persons (66%). Yet, NYC's vital statistics show that out of all induced abortions in 2010, the demographic composition of these occurrences consisted of the following: Black persons (46%), Hispanic persons (32%), Asian (6%), and White persons (11%). Nationwide, 35% of abortions are performed on black women. It has long been asserted that the abortion industry targets women of color and that a disproportionate number of Planned Parenthood clinics are located in minority neighborhoods. Critics of this claim refer to incomplete or distorted data, and the report, Racial Targeting and Population Control explains why critics are inaccurate and how women of color are, in fact, being targeted. Dr. Alveda King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's neice, defends the claim that more black children have been aborted than the number of black persons who where ever held as slaves in the United States. Founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a proponent of eugenics and the eradication of minority races through birth control and abortion, as was Alan Guttmacher, who served as President of Planned Parenthood and Vice President of the American Eugenics Society. In several undercover sting operations, Planned Parenthood employees were agreeable to accept donations with expressed eugenic intentions.
Research continues in each of these areas, and the data are building a compelling and overwhelming case that women are victims of abortion, as well as those who are aborted. Proponents of abortion convolute public dialog by characterizing the presentation of such data as scare tactics or conspiracy theories. Rarely, however, do proponents attempt to refute the data or represent the data in its full context.
It is my sincere hope that the devastating effects of abortion become more widely known and that our society begins to foster a culture of life, not death. In order to do so, however, we must be utterly consistent in our ethos. We cannot selectively be pro-life in one way, and pro-death in another. We cannot condemn one form of oppression and turn a blind eye to another. Abortion, domestic violence, theft, sex-trafficking, unjust wars and war profiteering, corporate exploitation of poor countries--these are all pathologies of the human soul. We must overcome all evil with good.
My interests include Constitutional liberty, economic and environmental sustainability, and the alleviation of human suffering.