Studies - PreTerm Delivery / Premature Birth / Prematurity Complications

Study: Previous Abortions Linked With Pre-Term Birth and Cerebral Palsy (JRM, 10/07)

The study suggests 31.5% of children are born with very low birth weight due to prior induced abortions.

An article appearing in this month’s edition of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine concludes that nearly 32 per cent of “very-preterm” U.S. births (before 32 weeks gestation) are due to the mother having had a prior abortion…

31.5% of children born with very low birth weight due to prior induced abortions

An article appearing in this month’s edition of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine concludes that nearly 32 per cent of “very-preterm” U.S. births, that is, before 32 weeks gestation, are due to the mother having had a prior abortion.

This information, combined with previous research in the relation between low birth weight children and cerebral palsy (CP), results in an estimated 1,096 children suffering from CP because of their mother’s prior abortion. The 2002 data examines 4,021,726 births, 4,021,726 preterm babies and 72,751 very-preterm babies.

The study’s authors, with the Reduce Preterm Risk Coalition based in Vancouver, are Dr. Byron Calhoun an obstetrics and gynecology professor at Western Virginia University, Dr. Elizabeth Shadigian, obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan and Brent Rooney the research director.

They concluded that prior induced abortion is a significant risk factor in very pre-term births and cerebral palsy.

The research backs up previous findings published in 2006 by Dr. Richard E. Behrman of Stanford University’s Institute of Medicine, that named “prior first trimester induced abortion” as “immutable medical risk factor associated with preterm birth”.

Very pre-term babies have much higher than normal risks of suffering medical problems including cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism, epilepsy, blindness, deafness, lung impairment and serious infections.

The estimate combines a study of 58,717 newborns with a birth weight under 1500 grams (3 pounds 5 ounces) most of whom were very-preterm. Calhoun estimated that since 31.5 per cent of children born with very low birth weight are due to prior induced abortions. Approximately 7.7 per cent of children with very low birth weight develop CP, at least 1,096 cases of CP are directly associated with the mother’s prior abortion.

The article further estimated a direct cost to the health care system of abortion-related pre-term babies at US $1.2 billion in 2002. This estimate did not include long-term costs for ongoing, often life-long medical expenses and lost income such children will suffer.

The article is listed in the Journal index as:
Cost Consequences of Induced Abortion as an Attributable Risk for Preterm Birth and Impact on Informed Consent
B. C. Calhoun, E. Shadigian and B. Rooney

Induced abortion contributes to significantly increased initial neonatal health costs, >$1.2 billion, and 1,096 excess cerebral palsy cases per year in the United States

Read related coverage:
1,100 Excess Brain Damaged Babies are Born Yearly in US Due to Previous Abortions

New Study Confirms Abortion Increases Risk of Future Premature Births
[26October2007, Vancouver, Canada, H White,]



Doctors Concerned by the Abortion-Cerebral Palsy Link

Abortion continues to claim more victims, but new research shows that the suffering extends well beyond the unborn.

Physicians in Canada and the U.S. teamed up for a sobering study about the lingering effects of "choice," the results of which appear in this month's Journal of Reproductive Medicine.

The authors, who examined data from more than four million births, make a direct correlation between preterm births and mothers who have undergone prior abortions.

Dr. Byron Calhoun, Professor and Vice Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at West Virginia University, estimates that roughly a third of babies who are considered "very pre-term" result from a woman's decision to abort her previous child(ren).

Babies who spend less than 32 weeks in the womb almost certainly suffer from very-low-birth-weight. The researchers estimated that of the 32 percent of babies who suffer from very-low-birth-weight, eight percent (8%) develop cerebral palsy.

For years, we have warned that abortion harms women, and children, and now researchers are certifying that the victims' future siblings incur a greater risk of lifelong anguish and disease.

The time has come for everyone to pause and reconsider the cycle of suffering that society continues to inflict on future generations in the name of "choice."

Women deserve to be informed–not encouraged to conform–on the issue of abortion.

[31Oct07, Family Research Council email] 

Abortion Harms Women