A March 29 “Abortion Gang” blog discusses a pro-choice reaction to women who use abortion “as birth control.” According to the blog:
“Last week, I got into a conversation (as I often do) on access to abortion. The exchange was pleasant and informative, but in the course of the conversation the other party expressed she did not support free choice if “someone is using abortion as birth control.” In my experience (and other abortion ganger’s experiences as well), conversations about abortion often come to this same limit, or some version of ‘abortion is not an acceptable if’ statement.
And when the ‘if statements’ start flying I wonder: Why are we so afraid of liberating the use of abortion for whatever means an individual may choose? Why is it that when abortion comes up, some “moral limit” (within the legal limit) must be placed on the procedure? …Abortion, biologically is birth control, in every case, regardless of if contraception was used during sex or not.
Furthermore, safe, legal abortion is one of the most effective forms of birth control; in the US, abortion procedures only “fail” or need to be re-administered less than .5% of the time. … However, advocating that using abortion for birth control is totally 100% OK/kosher/great/moral usually terrifies people….if someone wants to use abortion as birth control, let him or her do so.”
There is a reason why promoting abortion as birth control “terrifies people.” Most people intuitively know, on some level, that abortion is wrong. In a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, only 13% of respondents thought that abortion is “morally acceptable.” Sixty-three percent, however, did not want Roe v. Wade overturned – though the wording of the question was dishonest, claiming that Roe v. Wade only legalized abortion in the first trimester, when in reality it legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
The statistics show that people are genuinely troubled by the abortion issue. They know that abortion is something evil – they just believe that it is a necessary evil. But when abortion is used as birth control, it makes many nominally pro-choice people uncomfortable – it is one thing to support abortion if a woman is having only one and her situation is dire, but to support repeat abortions is another thing entirely.
The belief that multiple abortions are wrong but one abortion is okay highlights a logical flaw. If abortion is simply the removal of cells, the ending of a pregnancy, a benign procedure that does not kill a child, why should it matter how many abortions a person has? The writer of the blog, who supports abortion as birth control, is at least being consistent in her pro-choice stand. She is following pro-choice rhetoric to its obvious conclusion – if one abortion is perfectly fine, why are ten abortions any different?
The blog also makes this statement:
Abortion is a safe reproductive experience, and repeating the procedure multiple times has not shown to have negative impacts on future reproductive abilities.
This is simply untrue. A study published in the medical journal Human Reproduction found that women who have multiple abortions are more likely to give birth prematurely. They have three times the risk of having a baby before 28 weeks, double the risk of very low birth weight, and greater likelihood of other complications. The probability of complications in future births was highest in women who had three or more abortions, but even having two abortions elevated the risks of premature birth (though by less than would having three).
Abortion puts women at risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause infertility. Pelvic inflammatory disease also increases the risk of ectopic or tubal pregnancies, which can be fatal to the mother. Women who have had one, two, or more previous induced abortions are, respectively, 1.89, 2.66, and 2.03 times more likely to have a subsequent pre-term delivery, compared to women who carry to term(1). (See more information here.)
Placenta previa, a condition where the placenta covers the cervix, is seven to fifteen times more common after abortions. This condition can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening bleeding during delivery (2).
Abortion can also lead to endometriosis (3). According to Medline Plus:
A medical procedure that involves entering the uterus through the cervix will increase the risk of developing endometriosis. This includes a D and C. hysteroscopy, and placement of an intrauterine device (IUD).
It also includes abortions, where instruments are passed through the dilated cervix. It is not unusual for abortion providers to downplay the risks of having abortions. Assuring women that having multiple abortions will not affect their health is unscrupulous.
Will the fact that some pro-choicers are now embracing the idea of abortion as birth control lead more people on the fence to see how extremist the pro-abortion movement has become? Will the general public finally see that the hardcore pro-choicers are not representative of the majority of people in our country? We can only hope.
(1) Radberg, et al., “Chlamydia Trachomatis in Relation to Infections Following First Trimester Abortions,” Acta Obstricia Gynoecological (Supp.93), 54:478, 1980; L. Westergaard, “Significance of Cervical Chlamydia Trachomatis Infection in Post-abortal Pelvic Inflammatory Disease,” Obstetrics and Gynecology 60(3):322-325, 1982; M. Chacko, et al., “Chlamydia Trachomatosis Infection in Sexually Active Adolescents: Prevalence and Risk Factors,” Pediatrics 73(6), 1984; M. Barbacci, et al., “Post-Abortal Endometritis and Isolation of Chlamydia Trachomatis,” Obstetrics and Gynecology 68(5):668-690, 1986; S. Duthrie, et al., “Morbidity After Termination of Pregnancy in First-Trimester,” Genitourinary Medicine 63(3):182-187, 1987.
(2) Barrett, et al., “Induced Abortion: A Risk Factor for Placenta Previa”, American Journal of Ob&Gyn. 141:7, 1981.
(3) Post-Abortal Endometritis and Isolation of Chlamydia Trachomatis,” Obstetrics and Gynecology 68(5):668- 690, 1986); P. Sykes, “Complications of termination of pregnancy: a retrospective study of admissions to Christchurch Women’s Hospital, 1989 and 1990,” New Zealand Medical Journal 106: 83-85, March 10, 1993; S Osser and K Persson, “Postabortal pelvic infection associated with Chlamydia trachomatis infection and the influence of humoral immunity,” Am J Obstet Gynecol 150:699, 1984; B. Hamark and L Forssman, “Postabortal Endometritis in Chlamydia-Negative Women- Association with Preoperative Clinical Signs of Infection,” Gynecol Obstet Invest 31:102-105, 1991; and Strahan, Detrimental Effects of Abortion: An Annotated Bibliography With Commentary (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2002) 169.