by William Saunders and Mary Novick
January 22 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision creating a right to abortion. Along with its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, that “right” was extended throughout pregnancy – all nine months, for any reason. This makes the United States one of the four most radical nations in the world on abortion policy, along with China, North Korea, and Canada. In fact, most of the 195 nations limit abortion after about 20 weeks, because of the health risks to women and their child. Not only have over 50 million babies lost their lives from abortion since 1973, but women are being put in harm’s way every day.
In the 40 years since Roe, we have amassed a plethora of medical evidence highlighting the harm to women from abortion. Some of the immediate and long-term medical risks to women include—hemorrhage, infections, organ damage, incomplete abortion, injury to the cervix, blood clots, future pre-term births, placenta previa, mental health problems (including increased tendency toward suicide ideation), and death. These risks to a woman’s health increase as pregnancy advances.
Since abortion-on-demand was legalized in in 1973, 400 women have lost their lives due to legal abortions. These are women like Tonya Reeves, the 24 year old African Americans woman who died of complications following an abortion at a Chicago Planned Parenthood last year; and Laura Hope Smith, the 22 year old woman who died following an abortion in Massachusetts in 2007. These are real women with real families who mourn the loss of their lives due to abortion.
Women suffer long-term negative effects following abortion. Some of these are long-term negative effects on future pregnancies, including an increased risk of pre-term births and increased risk of placenta previa for women who previously had abortions.
Over 100 studies have shown a significant association between abortion and future pre-term births. One study found that women who induced a single abortion have a 36 percent increased risk of preterm births. Women who had more than one previous abortion increased their chances of pre-term birth in subsequent pregnancies to 93 percent.
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