- A 28 year old victim of a botched legal abortion, naked from the waist down, unwrapped, was forced to stand outside of a Washington D.C. abortion center and wait for an employee to drive her to a hospital. Before arriving she nearly bled to death from a severed uterine artery. An emergency hysterectomy was required to save her life.1
- During an abortion done by Dr. Milan Vuitch, a young mother suffered perforations and lacerations of the uterus, cervix and bowel. She required a hysterectomy and extensive hospitalization for a massive infection caused by decayed parts of her unborn child which were thrust into her abdomen during the abortion. She suffered severe and long lasting emotional trauma, i.e. anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and nightmares, “often of pulled apart fetuses, dead children and other morbid themes.“2
- Dr. Edgar Gonzalez performed a legal abortion on a 12-year-old girl who was seven months pregnant. The girl almost died during the abortion. She was rushed to a hospital were a hysterectomy and colostomy were required to save her life. The dead baby, two pounds, was removed at that time. This girl is now sterile.3
From Back Alley to Front Office
Legal abortion is not safe abortion. In fact, legal abortion is just as unsafe as illegal abortion. According to one medical study, “An unfortunate aspect of this procedure is the vast number of complications.“4 The immediate life threatening conditions are heavy bleeding and infection. A British medical journal reports the following.
1. l7% of the patients lost over 500 ml of blood and 9.5% needed transfusions.
2. 27% suffered infections and fever above 100.4°, lasting more than 24 hours.
3. Cervical lacerations occurred in 4.2%.
4. Perforation of the uterus occurred in 1.2%.
The article concludes, “This emphasizes that the termination of pregnancy is neither as simple nor as safe as some advocates of abortion would have the public believe. Moreover, the incidence of such complications as infertility, recurrent miscarriages, premature labor, ruptured uterus or emotional manifestations cannot be assessed at this stage.“5
The womb during pregnancy is designed to protect the new life growing there. During an abortion the mouth of the womb, the cervix, is forcibly stretched open. This can tear the cervix, making the woman far more likely to miscarry her next pregnancy.
The powerful suction used in first trimester abortion can scar the uterus, resulting in scarred fallopian tubes, tubal pregnancies or sterility. It can also cause placenta previa. If an abortionist is too gentle with the suction tube he will leave behind parts of the unborn child or placenta – causing infection. If he is too forceful he will tear a hole in the uterus and an emergency hysterectomy may be needed.
Several medical studies of legal abortion are summarized below.
- 4% of women having legal abortions will suffer from a damaged cervix.6
- 5-10% will become sterile.7
- Legalized abortion has resulted in:
a.) a 300% increase in first trimester miscarriages of later pregnancies.8
b.) a 400% increase in second trimester miscarriages of later pregnancies.9
c.) a 200% increase in premature births.10
d.) a 700% increase in placenta previs.11
e.) a 200% increase in tubal pregnancies.12
Lets consider these facts in light of a pro-abortion slogan: “Freedom of choice in reproduction.” What about the woman who had a legal abortion and as a result can no longer “choose” to have a baby. A woman and the child in her womb share the consequences of good treatment or bad. They are both complex systems made of delicate flesh. One inside the other. The abortionist’s tools cut both ways. Therefore abortion aborts women as well.
One study estimates that one fourth of all aborted women will not be able to have a normal pregnancy again. After so many women have experienced abortion in this country, any feminist who fails to acknowledge the extent of abortion trauma can justly be accused of indifference to women’s pain.
More and more, health researchers are noting a dramatic rise in sterility, tubal pregnancies and placenta previa.13 Vanderbilt University Medical Center noted an increase in placenta previa, a condition in pregnancy where the placenta covers the opening of the womb. This can lead to great blood loss to the mother during labor. It can cause death of the mother and death of the baby. Doctors on staff looked into the increase of this condition and found its cause to be the increase of legal abortions. The study concluded that aborted women were 7-15 times more likely to get placenta previa in later pregnancies.14
A doctor in private practice reported on 54 abortion patients ranging in age from 15-19. One of the ghastly stories included that of a 17-year-old girl who experienced bleeding and pain every day after a suction abortion. After four days she went into her bathroom and passed recognizable parts of her unborn child into the toilet. She then fainted and developed severe hysteria.15
Legal Abortion Deaths
Abortion advocates claim that things were worse when abortion was illegal. Some have claimed that 5,000 to 10,000 women died each year from illegal abortions. These unsubstantiated figures were advanced first by Dr. F. J. Taussig and then by Dr. Bernard Nathanson when he was co-founder of the National Abortion Rights League. Other abortion advocates admit that these figures are totally false and were used to make abortion acceptable to the public.16 The annual reports on vital statistics reveal the following.
- In 1965 there were 235 deaths from all abortions (legal, illegal and spontaneous).17
- In 1966 this number dropped to 189, in l967 it was 160 deaths.18
- In l968 there were 55 deaths from illegal abortions.19
- In 1972 (one year before Roe vs. Wade) there were 48 deaths from illegal abortions. In 1973 there were 33 deaths from induced abortions.20
If abortion were made illegal again, would there be deaths? Yes. Expect illegal abortion deaths to replace legal abortion deaths about one to one. The Hyde amendment was passed in 1978 and cut off funds for 300,000 Medicaid abortions. Everybody was predicting dozens or hundreds of deaths as a result. The abortion industry has searched for the last 10 years for the expected death. It did not happen (see the CDC reports for early 1979).
David Reardon, author of Aborted Women: Silent No More (Loyola University Press, 1987), carefully tabulates statistics from the U.S. and Europe and finds a distressing portrait of female loss and pain. In three studies he cites, ectopic pregnancies increase after abortion 200%, 300%, as much as 800%. For every 100,000 ectopic pregnancies, there are 300 rupture/hemorrhage deaths. Ironically, abortion advocates distort these figures to prove that pregnancy is dangerous.
Reardon’s book further exposes the lie that abortion is safer than childbirth. It is no surprise that abortion providers have tried to set our minds to rest by providing the political push to eliminate uniform legal requirements for reporting abortion related deaths. In the years when there was an accurate reporting procedure, Oregon reported 14 deaths per 100,000 legal abortions, compared with 8 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Maryland reported 40 deaths per 100,000 abortions, compared to 23 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. In Sweden and Denmark, abortion mortality rates are twice the maternal death rate and conditions are safer there.
Here are some specific cases of women who died from their legal abortions:
1. Women’s Care Center in Miami killed four mothers and their babies from 1979-83.21 (1)
2. In Los Angeles, a 16-year-old Hispanic girl bled for five hours during an abortion of her six-month-old unborn baby and died of cardiac arrest. Her family filed a lawsuit against Dr. Edward Allred, charging that her death resulted from negligence caused by his anti-Hispanic bigotry documented in local newspapers.22 (2)
3. Dr. James Franklin of Denver left parts of an unborn child inside a 26-year-old patient. When she went home she was packed with gauze and was bleeding profusely. She died two days later of a massive infection.23 (3)
A Nation of Hurting Women
“Nearly 80% of the women surveyed believed they were denied information or were actively misinformed by their counselors prior to their abortions … nearly 50% complained that they were not told about fetal development.”
- David Reardon
Aborted Women: Silent No More
The emotional impact of abortion can be as crippling as the physical risks. Some women never bring their grief or guilt to the surface, yet it still affects them. One study of these emotional effects found, “Unresolved feelings of grief, guilt and loss may remain long after an abortion.“24 (1)
Women may try to artificially numb the intense pain through drinking or drugs. Many go through unexplained depressions and often the relationship with the father of the baby is destroyed.
Women Exploited By Abortion (WEBA) was formed to help women overcome being silenced by their shame and to illuminate the reality of abortion as an assault on women at every level of their existence. WEBA is also a refuge and a source of spiritual and emotional healing where members turn their pain and loss into personal growth and compassion for others.
Nancy Jo Mann, Founder of WEBA, remembers her saline abortion in Aborted Women: Silence No More: “For two hours I could feel her struggling inside me. But then as suddenly as it began she stopped. Even today I remember her very last kick on my left side. She had no strength left. Despite my grief and guilt I was relieved that her pain was finally over. But I was never the same again. The abortion killed not only my daughter, it killed a part of me.”
The following accounts are of women that WEBA has helped.25 (2)
- Cindy, 28, was hospitalized for psychiatric disturbances numerous times in the four years following her legal abortion. Four of those times followed serious suicide attempts.
- Terry, 36, has a recurring nightmare in which a child cries out to her in a pleading voice, reaching with tiny arms, until the scalpel falls, leaving only bloody nubs still reaching.
- Lynda was 15 when her mother dragged her, begging and crying, into the abortion mill. She was sedated and her mother signed Lynda’s name to a consent form. Lynda has never been emotionally stable enough to return to high school.
- Debbie became pregnant as a result of rape. Following her abortion she suffered complications which culminated in a hysterectomy. Worse than her physical trauma was the realization that, “the man who raped me took a few minutes of my life, but I took my baby’s entire life … I perpetuated the worse crime. How I wish there had been one person who had offered love, support and encouragement.”
- Karen Sullivan experienced nightmares, depression and suicidal thoughts the months and years after her abortion. She remembers: “During the abortion I looked down and saw the bits and pieces of my baby floating in a pool of blood. When I screamed, “I killed my baby!” the counselor told me, “Shut up.” Today she wonders, “Since when has death become good for us?”
Can the brutality of abortion be a benefit for pregnant teens? Reardon found that those for whom abortion seems therapeutically “indicated,” i.e. victims of rape or incest, women too young or poor or troubled, seem to be the ones who suffer most from the trauma of abortion. This finding lays to rest the assumption that legal abortion might be tragic but necessary in the hard cases.
Abortion Is Not The Answer
Abortion proponents often claim that a woman denied an abortion may attempt suicide. However, suicide among pregnant women has always been extremely rare. In Ohio there were only two maternal suicide deaths from 1955-1963.26 From 1938-1958, over 13,500 Swedish were denied abortion. Only three committed suicide.27
While maternal suicide is rare, women often attempt suicide after an abortion. A pediatric journal warned pediatricians to be on the lookout for young teenage girls who attempt suicide after legal abortion.28 In 1981, Meta Uchtman, regional director of Cincinnati Suiciders Anonymous testified before the Cincinnati City Council, “Of over 4,000 that were seen by our group, 1,800 or more had had abortions.
An American psychiatric journal recorded cases of women who suffered complete disintegration of personality after a legal abortion.29
Another claim we hear is that most women who are refused access to legal abortion will get abortions elsewhere, either out of the country or illegally. This is not true. In Canada, of 6,000 women who were denied abortion, only 13% of them got abortions anyway. The vast majority decided to keep their children. The study found that there were no major psychological problems associated with the women or children they gave birth to.30
Many good, well-intentioned people support abortion because of what the media and the pro-abortionists have been saying: That it is good for women, that legal abortion is safe, illegal abortion is unsafe (killing thousands of women yearly), that women will get abortions anyway, etc. In short, this nation has been deceived and many of those who are committed to legal abortion do not know all of the facts.
Pro-life people are not taking the easy way out. Brave and generous behavior can be stressful. Being right does not ensure personal peace.
Nobody should make moral judgements purely on the basis of the resultant pleasure or pain. Abortion is wrong not because it will bring pain, though it will. Protecting human life is right because it perserves what God creates for His eternal purpose.
1 Court Records of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
3 Miami Herald (July 3, 1982).
4 D.K. Nemac, et al, “Medical Abortion Complications,” Obstetrics & Gynecology, 51, (4/78), p. 433.
5 J. Stallworth, et al, “Legal Abortion: A Critical Assessment of the Risks,” The Lancet (December 4, 1971), pp. 1245 & 1249.
6 G.J. Ratten, et al, “Effects of Termination of Pregnancy on Maturity of Subsequent Pregnancy,” Medical Journal of Australia (6/2/79), pp. 479-480.
7 Thomas Hilgers, MD, Induced Abortion, A documented Report (1976).
8 J.A. Richardson, et al, “Effects of Legal Termination on Maturity of subsequent Pregnancy,” British Medical Journal (5/29/76), pp. 1303-1304.
9 Medical Journal of Australia (6/2/79), pp. 479-80.
10 Ibid., pp 479-480.
11 American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (December 1, 1981), pp. 769-772.
12 “Latent Morbidity after Abortion,” British Medical Journal (March 3, 1973), p. 506.
13 Journal of the American Medical Association (4/1/83), American Journal of Public Health (6/82).
14 J.M. Barrett, et al, American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (December 1, l981), pp 669, 772.
15 M.J. Bulfin, “A New Problem in Adolescent Gynecology,” Southern Medical Association Journal.
16 Grisez, Abortion: Myths, Realities & Arguments (1971).
17 Vital Statistics : General Mortality, Deaths from 258 Selected Causes, (1965), pp. 1-148.
18 Ibid., (1966), pp. 1-90. Ibid., (1967), pp. 1-74.
19 Ibid., “Maternal Deaths & Maternal Mortality Rates for Selected Causes,” (1968), pp. 1-31.
20 Ibid, “Deaths & Death Rates for Each Cause, Color and Sex,” (1973), pp. 1-136, & 1972, pp. 1-138.
21 Wilke, Abortion: Questions & Answers (1985).
22 Torrance Daily Breeze and National Right To Life News (May 2, 1985), p.4.
23 Rocky Mountain News (December 4, 1981), and The Denver Post (May 22, 1981).
24 R. Kumar, et al, “Previous Induced Abortion & Ante-natal Depression in Primiparae,” Psychological Medicine, 8, (1978), p. 714.
25 Patti McKinney, “Women Who Wish That …,” National Right To Life News (1/12/84), p. 24.
26 “Maternal Deaths Involving Suicide,” Ohio State Medical Journal (December 1966) p. 1294.
27 J. Ottosson, “Legal Abortion in Sweden,” Journal of Biosocial Sciences, 3, 173, (1971).
28 C.L. Tishler, “Adolescent Suicide Attempts Following Elective Abortion: A Special Case of Anniversary Reaction,” Pediatrics (11/81), p. 670.
29 J.G. Spaulding, et al, “Psychosis following Therapeutic Abortion,” American Journal of Psychiatry, 135:3, (March 1978), p. 364.
30 C. Del Campo, “Abortion Denied – Outcome of Mothers and Babies,” Canadian Medical Association Journal (February 15, l984), p. 361.