When There's Little 'Care' in Women's Health Care

The Health Risks of Abortion by Mary Cunningham Agee   "If only I had known." This is the haunting lament that I hear almost daily on the toll free crisis hotline of the Nurturing Network. Since founding this charitable organization almost twenty years ago, I have been invited by literally thousands of frightened, wounded women to understand the painful circumstances of their troubled lives. Let me assure you that they do not call to express satisfaction in their "reproductive freedom" to terminate the life of their unborn child. They call desperately seeking immediate, practical assistance in order to avoid an abortion procedure that almost half of our clients have already experienced in a prior pregnancy. Therefore, my perspective on the topic of abortion is as detached as that of a medic on the front line of an active combat zone. I have come to know this topic up close and in living color through the tragic life stories of women who believed the lies hidden behind the marketing rhetoric about this allegedly safe and easy procedure. Almost all of them would tell you that if they could erase just one decision in their lives, it would be the irreversible one that ended the life of their unborn child. Their grief is difficult to capture here in a few words. It is always tinged with an unmistakable sense of sadness born of the realization that they have been betrayed. Betrayed by the boyfriend, the parent, the friend, or the employer who chooses to see her unborn child as an inconvenience or even a threat to their relationship with her. These...

Reproductive Health: Maternal Physical Complications of Abortion (Citings 1994)

This report was written in 1994; the published sources range from the 1970s to the 1990s. Like other pages presented in this section which contain older studies, it is presented primarily to show how much abortion research has been available – but ignored – for decades… The argument used by many abortion advocates of induced abortion – that abortion is safer than childbirth – is clearly erroneous is light of the medical evidence to the contrary. Adverse consequences from induced abortion include both physical and psychological complications, and frequently a woman will experience severe reactions in both areas. Some physical complications may arise immediately from the abortion procedure and include bleeding or hemorrhage;1 retention of fetal tissue;2 unrecognized ectopic pregnancy;3 laceration of the cervix;4 uterine, bowel, or bladder perforation;5 inflammation or infection of the reproductive organs (endometritis or pelvic inflammatory disease) or pain, cramping, or menstrual disturbance.6 If a woman with a sexually transmitted disease, such as chlamydia, obtains an induced abortion, the likelihood of pelvic inflammatory diseases (PID) following the abortion greatly increases.7 Other later complications from induced abortion include sterility, 8 increased risk of ectopic (tubal) pregnancy,9 miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, difficulties in future labor and delivery and neonatal death. The risk of these complications increases with each subsequent abortion.10 Death of the mother is, obviously, the most serious of all physical complications. The risk of death is greater as the duration of pregnancy increases and the complexity of the abortion procedures expands.11 Various studies have also shown that women may abuse alcohol or drugs following abortion. Women who have had abortions frequently report their first...

Abortion: A Help or Hindrance to Public Health? (Congressional Testimony, 1974)

ED. This testimony is posted for two main reasons: — to show how much information was available in 1974 regarding abortion complications to women, such as sterility and prematurity of subsequent pregnancies. — to serve as an important archival piece.] by Andre E. Hellegers, M.D. Dr. Andre E. Hellegers is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Georgetown University Hospital, Director of the Joseph and Rose Kennedy Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction and Bioethics, and past President of the Society of Gynecologic Investigation and of the Perinatal Research Society. On April 25, 1974, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments held a day of hearings on proposed constitutional amendments to protect the unborn child, with special emphasis on the public health aspects of the practice of abortion. At that time, Dr. Hellegers presented the following testimony on his own behalf. The abortion issue has been discussed at all sorts of levels. The issues of population expansion, of women's liberation, of adoption, of maternal health and infant mortality, of religion, of public health and morbidity, have all been brought into it and all sorts of statistics have been bandied about. Of course, these are all issues of interest to various groups, but fundamentally there would be no national debate of the present magnitude, if it weren't for one issue. The issue is whether, in abortion, human life is killed. That is the one key issue. Now, I believe it is necessary to state that issue more clearly. Usually the question is put in the form of "When does human life begin?" That may be putting the question in...

Fact Or Fraud: Is Abortion Safer Than Childbirth?

People, historically, are known to accept as factual that which is not. If they hear something repeated often enough, and forcefully enough, many people tend to accept it at face value. In fact, that was a frequent comment of Hitler. Consequently, propaganda, prejudices, and old wives’ tales have far more impact than they should. Thus, medical wisdom should lead us to discover how & where so-called “facts” developed, before we accept them as truth. In the summer of 1971, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) filed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court asserting that “the medical procedure of induced abortion is potentially 23.3 times as safe as the process of going through ordinary childbirth.” 1   A couple of years later, in considering its Roe v. Wade decision, the Court “took as ‘established medical fact’ the contention that in the first 3 months of pregnancy ‘mortality in abortion is less than mortality in normal childbirth’.”2 Realizing that ‘safety’ in childbirth can be evaluated in terms of morbidity (complications) and/or mortality (death), we will direct our attention to evaluating ‘safety’ in terms of maternal mortality (maternal death) in this article.   The claim of the relative safety of abortion over pregnancy and childbirth has become one of the rallying cries for pro-abortion forces and is still supported by organizations such as the American Medical Association. In the April 5, 1989 edition of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, the AMA continued to state, “The medical risks to a woman of childbirth are greater than the risks of abortion.” But how much truth is there to this claim?  ...