Studies - PreTerm Delivery / Premature Birth / Prematurity Complications

German Study Confirms Abortion Significantly Increases Premature Birth Risk (ZGN, 2/08)

Massive German Study Confirms Abortion Significantly Increases Premature Birth Risk

A German study has further substantiated the link between abortion history and an increased risk of future premature births.

Dr. Manfred Voigt and his German colleagues evaluated over two million pregnancies between 1995 and 2000, making the 2008 study the most massive AVP (Abortion Very Preterm Birth) study in the last 30 years.  (To view the abstract, go to:

The control group of women in the study had no history of induced abortion, miscarriage or stillbirths.  The rate of premature births in the control group was compared to that of three separate groups: women with abortions in their medical history (but no miscarriages or stillbirths), women with only miscarriages in their history, and women with only stillbirths in their history.

According to a press release by the Reduce Preterm Risk Coalition, the study found that for a woman with one prior abortion, VPB (under 32-34 weeks' gestation) risk is boosted by 30%, while more than one prior abortion increases relative VPB risk by 90%. 

The study's data about women's prior abortion history was extracted from a perinatal data-base, and not via interviews conducted for the purpose of the study.  Thus the Voigt team avoided the possibility of skewed results due to women falsifying their abortion history, a factor critics of the abortion-premature birth link have questioned in the past.

Preterm birth raises a child's risk for cerebral palsy, mental retardation, epilepsy, visual impairment, hearing disability, gastrointestinal injury, respiratory distress, and severe infections.  Those born under 28 week's gestation have 129 times the risk of cerebral palsy as a full-term newborn, according to 2008 study by Dr. Eveline Himpens et al.

The German study joins a solid body of evidence showing the increased risk of preterm births for children who are brought to term after a previous abortion. 

In the Winter 2008 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Brent Rooney (MSc), Dr. Byron Calhoun, and lawyer Lisa Roche revealed that black American women, who abort nearly one out of every two children, are at three times higher risk for giving birth prematurely, and four times higher risk for giving birth extremely prematurely. 

The article also suggested that "suction" abortions violate the 1947 Nuremberg Code, since there are no published trials of the procedure that validate its safety. (

Brent Rooney of the Reduce Preterm Risk Coalition urged U.S. President Obama to suspend government funding of abortion in light of strong evidence for the procedure's dangerous effects on women and children.

"Famous economist John Maynard Keynes said it best, 'When the facts change, I change my mind.  What do you do, sir?'" said Rooney.

See related articles:

Abortion Linked to Disproportionately High Rate of Black Premature Births

Abortion Triples Chances of Future Low Birth weight Babies New Study Confirms
[11 February 2009, Kathleen Gilbert,]

 Z Geburtshilfe Neonatol. 2008 Feb;212(1):5-12.Click here to read Links
    [The influence of previous pregnancy terminations, miscarriages and still-births on the incidence of babies with low birth weight and premature births as well as a somatic classification of newborns]

    [Article in German]

    Voigt M, Olbertz D, Fusch C, Krafczyk D, Briese V, Schneider KT.

    Abt. Neonatologie und Pädiatrische Intensivmedizin am Zentrum für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin der Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Universität Greifswald. [email protected]

    AIM: The influence of previous interruptions, miscarriages and IUFD on the IUGR and preterm rate as well as on the somatic staging (gestational age and birth weight) of the new born is a subject of controversial discussion in the literature. The present paper attempts to quantify these risks of the medical history. 2 282 412 singleton pregnancies of the period 1995 to 2000 were evaluated from the German Perinatal Database. For the analysis 1 065 202 pregnancies (46.7 %) of those mothers without any live birth in the medical history were assessed. To exclude any influence from previous abortions patients with previous miscarriages and IUFDs were excluded. The control collective were new borns whose mothers had suffered neither from miscarriages nor from abortions or IUFD. RESULTS: Previous interruptions, miscarriages and IUFD influence the rate of new borns with low birth weight and increase the rate of prematurity. With increasing numbers of isolated or combined risks in the medical history, the rate of newborns with a low birth weight or with prematurity is increased. The lowest risk was found after one interruption, the highest rate with two or more IUFDs. Interruptions, miscarriages or IUFD are not risk factors for IUGR or SGA. CONCLUSION: Previous interruptions, miscarriages and IUFD are relevant risk factors for prematurity and are related with low birth weight of the new borns. Pregnant women with such risk factors have to been considered as risk pregnancies and need intensive surveillance.

    PMID: 18293256 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE