Women who Abort (SMJ,8/2002)

A study published in the 8/2002 issue of the Southern Medical Journal reveals that women who have abortions are at significantly higher risk of death than women who give birth, both in the short- and long-term, and across socioeconomic boundaries. Compared to delivering women, women who abort have an elevated risk of death from all causes that persists for at least 8 years. Projected on the national population, this effect may contribute to 2000-5000 additional deaths among women each year. [Southern Medical Journal study reported in 3/03 Lifelines; Elliot Inst 02 Year End Report] It appears that the death rate following abortion is actually much higher than previously known. Researchers examined death records linked to Medi-Cal payments for births and abortions in 1989 for approximately 173,270 low income Californian women. The study compared women whose history of pregnancy outcomes fell into five different categories. The delivery-only group had the fewest deaths and the abortion-only group had the most deaths. They discovered that women who had abortions were almost twice as likely to die in the following two years and that the elevated mortality rate of aborting women persisted over at least eight years (1989-1997). The authors suggest that delivering a child has a protective effect on women. This finding contradicts the widely accepted opinion that abortion is safer than childbirth. During the eight year period studied, women who aborted had a significantly higher age-adjusted risk of death from all causes (1.62). They had a 154 percent higher risk of death from suicide (2.54), an 82 percent higher risk of death from accidents (1.82), and a 44 percent higher risk...