Abortion’s association with future premature birth reflected in multiple studies

preemie, premature birth, premature

“My Body, My Choice,” a pro-abortion book for teens, includes the statement, “A safe, legal and uncomplicated first-trimester abortion has no effect on future fertility.”This claim is untrue, and the long list of studies below reflects this. Secular Pro-Life has compiled over 100 studies linking abortion with premature birth — clearly an effect on future pregnancies — all of which are peer-reviewed:

(Note: studies defined “very premature birth” differently, but most considered it pre-28 weeks)

  • A study in the International Journal of Reproduction, Contraception, Obstetrics, and Gynecology found a 33% rate of preterm delivery in post-abortive women compared to an overall rate of 14.4%.
  • Another study found an increased risk of very premature birth of 102% after one abortion, and, after two, 250%.
  • A study in the British Medical Journal found 67% increased odds of birth before 28 weeks.
  • The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada found a 71% increased risk of birth pre-28 weeks, a 117% increased risk pre-26 weeks, and a 103% increased risk pre-24 weeks.
  • Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology found a 40% increased risk of preterm birth.
  • The British Medical Journal found a 47% increased risk for preterm birth and 59% for very preterm birth after one abortion. After two, the numbers were 51% and 34%; after three, 52% and 64%, and after four, 110%, and 327%.
  • European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology found an increased risk of 95%.
  • BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth found an increased risk of 224%.
  • According to Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, the next pregnancy after an abortion was at 151% greater risk, with subsequent pregnancies at 76%.
  • Another study found a 51% increased risk after an abortion before 20 weeks.
  • Human Reproduction Update found that one abortion led to 20% increased odds of preterm birth and 50% increased odds of very preterm birth; and more abortions led to greater risks of 90% and 160%.
  • In another study, abortions by pill caused a 33% increase in the odds of miscarriage or preterm birth.
  • The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found an 150% increased risk.
  • Another study found a 50% increased risk of pre-28 week birth.
  • The Journal of Epidemiology found an increase of 67% after one abortion, 103% after two, and 203% after three or more.
  • BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth found 90% increased odds of preterm birth.
  • Another study found an increase of 49% after one, and 68% after two abortions.
  • In another study, one previous abortion was found to increase premature birth risk by 36%, and more than one by 93%.
  • The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found an increased risk of 150%.
  • The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found 67% increased odds of preterm birth; after two abortions, 103% increased odds of preterm birth, and after three or more, 203%.
  • BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth found 90% increased odds of preterm birth.
  • BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, found a 49% increase after one and 68% increase after two or more.
  • Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica found a 47% increased risk of spontaneous preterm birth between 24 and 29 weeks.
  • Reproductive Medicine Online found a 350% increased risk of preterm birth after abortion.
  • BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth found 536% increased risk.
  • In another study, one or more abortions led to 53% increased risk and two or more to 76%.
  • Fertility and Sterility found an increase of 55%.
  • In another study, preterm birth was 210% more prevalent in women with a history of abortion than women who hadn’t aborted.
  • BJOG found a 50% increased risk of very preterm birth after abortion and 160% after more than one.
  • Women pregnant within two months of their abortion had an increased risk of 160%.

You can find more on these multiple studies here.

Though many of these studies don’t specify when in pregnancy the abortions took place, we know that 90% of all abortions in the U.S. are committed in the first trimester — and even higher numbers abroad — most of the samples would likely be first trimester abortions, meaning the results (though perhaps not exact) would be relevant.

Babies born prematurely can have lifelong health problems. According to the Mayo Clinic:

Premature babies are more likely to have chronic health issues — some of which may require hospital care — than are full-term infants. Infections, asthma, and feeding problems are more likely to develop or persist. Premature infants are also at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Other potential lifelong conditions of prematurity include vision problems, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, hearing impairment, dental problems, and “certain behavioral or psychological problems.”

Premature delivery is just one problem caused by abortion. A woman who has had an abortion is also more likely to develop Asherman’s Syndrome, which can cause infertility. One study found that 42.4% of women who were being treated for infertility due to Asherman’s Syndrome had previous abortions.

  1. Robin Stevenson My Body My Choice: The Fight for Abortion Rights (Orca Book Publishers, 2019) 76

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