Abortion has Stronger Emotional Impact on Women than Miscarriage (CMAJ,5/2003; BJOG; PM,5/04)

Researchers in Norway have found that abortion presents a more significant damaging emotional impact on women than miscarriage. The study found that women who had an abortion two years ago were more likely than women who had miscarriages to be suppressing thoughts and feelings about the death of the baby. Overall, the study revealed that approximately 17% of 80 post-abortive women surveyed score highly on a scale measuring "avoidance" symptoms [Reuters]. Such symptoms include avoidance of what happened or "intrusion," such as flashbacks or bad dreams. There were 120 women included in the Norwegian survey — 80 who had abortions prior to the 14th week of pregnancy and 40 who had miscarriages during the first or second trimester. The study found that 10 days after an abortion decision half of those who miscarried and nearly 30 percent of women who had abortions had negative feelings about the event. Women were asked to chart their feelings at 10 days, 6 months and two year time periods. Those more likely to experience guilt and shame early on from the abortion were more likely to have such feelings later on. Georgette Forney [abortion survivor, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, that urges women who regret their abortions to speak out] was glad more research is being conducted into abortion's aftereffects. "Finally, someone is studying the pain women experience from pregnancy loss by abortion or miscarriage," Forney said.   "My experience is that women who miscarry are usually given a small window of sympathy, but women who have abortions often resort to using drugs and alcohol to cover up the pain because...

UNC Study: Negative Abortion Effect on Prematurity & Placenta Previa (OGS,1/2003)

[Abstract follows at end of this summary] Abortion increases risks of premature delivery (risk ratio elevation of 1.3 to 2.0), maternal depression and suicide, and other serious health consequences, such as placenta previa (RR of 1.7), reports a new medical study by prominent medical researchers. "Preterm delivery and depression are important conditions in women's health and avoidance of induced abortion has potential as a strategy to reduce their prevalence." The authors further conclude that more research is required, and that women need to be informed of these and other major long-term health risks of abortion: "…we conclude that informed consent before induced abortion should include information about the subsequent risk of preterm delivery and depression. Although it remains uncertain whether elective abortion increases subsequent breast cancer, it is clear that a decision to abort and delay pregnancy culminates in a loss of protection with the net effect being an increased risk." The "'loss of protection' effect is most pronounced in women under 20 years of age who elect to undergo abortion rather than continue their pregnancy. We think, now, that clinicians are obliged to inform pregnant women that a decision to abort her first pregnancy may almost double her lifetime risk of breast cancer through loss of the protective effect of a completed first full-term pregnancy earlier in life." Placenta previa effects 0.3% to 0.8% of pregnancies and is the leading cause of uterine bleeding in the third trimester and of medically indicated preterm birth. Pregnancies complicated by placenta previa result in high rates of preterm birth. low birth weight, and perinatal death.   The study, published in the...