Reducing Abortions Would Significantly Cut Premature Birth Rate (2007)

[NOTE: This is not a study itself but a review of several studies and conclusions reached.]  Two researchers say reducing abortions in the United States would significantly cut the rate of premature births. They say the rate has increased as abortion has been legalized and point to Poland as an example of how banning or significantly reducing abortions would help pregnant women. Dr. Richard E. Behrman, representing the Institute of Medicine, has identified prior first-trimester induced abortion as an “immutable medical risk factor associated with pre-term birth.” In his book Preterm Birth: Causes, Consequences, and Prevention, Behrman found that the premature birth rate in the U.S. was 12.5% in 2004 — 40 percent higher than the rate of 8.9% in 1980. Citing that data, researchers Brent Rooney, of Canada, and William Robert Johnston, of Texas, published in a letter in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, saying that prohibiting abortion would reverse the trend and also drive down medical costs. To back up their claim, they point to United Nations data showing Poland dramatically reduced its rates of premature birth, maternal mortality and infant mortality within a few years after its abortion rate declined by 98% between 1989 and 1993 (as a result of the passage of an abortion ban). "If induced abortion significantly elevates pre-term birth risk, one would expect Poland’s pre-term birth rate to slump 5–10 years after the induced-abortion rate plunge," they wrote. They say data from UNICEF found that, between 1995 and 1997 (after abortion declined by 98% from 1989 – 1993), Poland’s pre-term birth rate dropped by 41.8% and maternal mortality decreased 41.4%,...