Studies - PreTerm Delivery / Premature Birth / Prematurity Complications

Abortion & Autism: Furor in the Scientific Realm (Jan 2012)

 [The following are letters regarding the Abortion – Autism connection, dated 23 & 27 January 2012]


Abortion & Autism: Furor in the Scientific Realm

No later than 1988, abortion was considered a credible contributor to Autism risk. 

However, some doctors appear to be unaware of this:

To: Dr. Lance David Levy, 27 January 2012

Toronto, Ontario M5P 2A9 [Letter sent via REGISTERED MAIL]

Copies to: Dr. Prakesh Shah (U. Toronto), Barbara Kay (NP), Melanie Beck (Wall St. Journal), Tom Blackwell (NP), Jon Woodward (CTV), Kyle-Anne Shiver (American Thinker)

OPEN LETTER to Dr. Lance David Levy (Toronto, Canada),

On 27 October 2011 the [Canadian] National Post newspaper health and medicine reporter Tom Blackwell in an article about the 2011 Dr. Kristen Lyall study about Autism wrote, “Other “complications” of pregnancy, from having an abortion to the mother being at a sub-optimal age for bearing children, also increased odds they would give birth to a child with autism-spectrum disorder”; URL: (copy of the 27 Oct. Blackwell article attached).

In two letters to the National Post (19 Jan. 2012 & 23 Jan. 2012) you adamantly claimed there are zero published studies finding higher Autism risk for children of women with prior IAs (Induced Abortions).

Of the 3 statistically significant studies cited in my 20 Jan. 2012 NP letter, you reported on one: you wrote that the 2011 'Lyall' study does not support Autism/IA risk. . You obviously have a hard copy of the 'Lyall' study, but I have attached a copy of TABLE II (5th page of 'Lyall') to this letter.

You will notice that in TABLE II “Abortion” is associated with a 26% higher relative odds of a future Autistic child and that risk is statistically significant.

Perhaps, you may believe that somewhere else in the 2011 'Kristen Lyall' study the research team retracts the clear Abortion/IA finding shown in TABLE II.

If you can a cite a paragraph or a sentence that does nullify the TABLE II Autism/IA finding, please do so before 1 March 2012. I do not envy your attempt to 'square a circle'. The main findings of 'Lyall' are in Table II.

In your 19 January letter you conceded the preterm birth risk of prior induced abortions.

Surely, you are aware that preterm newborn babies have elevated risk of 'MACE' (Mental retardation, Autism, Cerebral palsy, Epilepsy) disorders & blindness, deafness, and respiratory distress.[5]

This entire Autism/IA controversy was triggered by the 18 January 2012 Barbara Kay NP editorial . A copy of your 23 Jan. 2012 NP letter is in Appendix A to this letter.

In 2008 Brent Rooney, Dr. Byron Calhoun, and Lisa Roche (J.D.) revealed that prior IAs (Induced Abortions) are a major cause of the very high Black-American premature birth rate.[1]

For Ethical Medicine with Informed Medical Consent,
Brent Rooney (MSc), Research Director, Reduce Preterm Risk Coalition
Vancouver, Canada V6S 2C2


email: [email protected]

P.S. Anyone who wants a PDF copy of the 2011 'Lyall' study can send Brent Rooney an email request (email: [email protected] )

Appendix A: Autism's link to abortion (III)

[National Post Levy-letter;23 Jan. 2012]

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National Post · Jan. 23, 2012 | Last Updated: Jan. 23, 2012 3:07 AM ET

Re: Autism’s Link To Abortion (II), letter, Jan. 20; No Link Between Autism & Abortion, letter, Jan. 19; Too Controversial To Question, Barbara Kay, Jan. 18.

Letter-writer Brent Rooney states that three research papers support Ms. Kay's daughter's anecdotal report that induced abortion is linked to autism. I read the papers he referenced, and his assertion is wholly unsubstantiated.

For example, in the paper by Kristen Lyall, it is noted that pregnancy complications (ex. gestational diabetes) and obstetric sub-optimality (ex. older parental age, maternal stress, poor fetal growth) are associated with autism spectrum disorders; nothing is said about abortions whatever. To be charitable, Mr. Rooney's "misinterpretation" of peer-reviewed medical publications likely reflects a lack of familiarity with terminology rather than a personal position taken in support of his own bias.

Dr. Lance Levy, Toronto.

[Note Levy does not respond to Table II] ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Appendix B: A quote from page 1091 of the 2002 'Diana Wilkerson' Autism study[3]
“…..Similarly, stress during pregnancy, occurred at a higher rate in the autistic sample than in the normal control group, though it was not statistically significant. Medications taken during pregnancy were significantly more common in the autistic group (p <.05) as were the more serious forms of previous gynecological surgery (i.e. prior abortions; p <.05).”


1 Rooney B, Calhoun BC, Roche L. Does induced abortion account for racial
disparity in preterm birth, and violate the Nuremberg Code? J Am Phy Surg 2008;13:102-104 URL:

2 Lyall K, Pauls DL, Spiegalman D, Ascherio A, Sanangelo SL. Pregnancy Complications and Obstetric Suboptimality in Association with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Children of the Nurses' Health Study II. Autism Research 2011;4:1-10

3 Wilkerson DS, Volpe AG, Dean RS, Titus JB. Perinatal Complications As Predictors of Infantile Autism. International J Neuroscience 2002;112: 1085-1098 URL:

4 Burd L, Severud R, Kerbeshian J, Klug MG. Prenatal and perinatal risk factors for autism. J Perinatal Med 1999;27(6):441-450

5 Behrman RS, Butler AS, Preterm Birth: Causes, Consequences, and Prevention. National Academy Press, Washington DC (2007)

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[28 Jan 2012, Brent Rooney]