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News Article

New study finds abortion health risks
Thursday, June 27, 2013

A new study by Calhoun et al, published this month in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, has found that women who have had an abortion later have a higher risk of maternal death, or bearing stillborn, premature, low birth weight or cerebral palsy babies.

The study compared the health of babies and their mothers in Ireland, where less than 10% have had an abortion, with England, Scotland and Wales where the abortion rate is over 30% (similar to the rate in Australia). 

Elective abortion has been legal in England, Scotland and Wales since 1967.  It is illegal in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, but some Irish women travel to England for an abortion.  The study counted these women in the Irish statistics.

Study authors Calhoun, Thorp and Carroll concluded :

Over the 40 years of legalised abortion in the UK there has been a consistent pattern in which higher abortion rates have run parallel to higher incidence of stillbirths, premature births, low birth-weight neonates, cerebral palsy, and maternal deaths as sequelae of abortion.

In contrast, both Irish jurisdictions consistently display lower rates of all morbidities and mortality associated with legalised abortion.  Women, women’s health policy advocates, and national health systems ought to take careful note of these adverse ecological findings as a result of 40 years of legalised abortion in the UK compared with abortion-free Ireland.

The use of cohorts of contemporaneously obtained, record-linked, and socio-demographically similar populations provide evidence substantiating the risks to maternal health for elective abortion.  The Republic of Ireland shows the lowest rates, and Great Britain shows higher rates for all these conditions.  In England, around one-third of the women, at current rates, are likely to experience abortions.  But in both the Irish jurisdictions this proportion is much lower, less than 10%.  Acknowledging this difference makes these comparisons of women’s health and neonatal health more explicable.

“Governments and Emily’s List –  Labor ‘s pro-abortion women’s lobby  co-founded by former PM Julia Gillard – should take action to protect the health of Australian women and their babies by limiting abortion,” FamilyVoice Australia national research officer Ros Phillips said today.  “The government should revise its decision to subsidise the abortion drug RU486.”


  • Human life and dignity

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