Abortion causes a number of physical and mental ailments. Some of them, culled from the various sources, are mentioned here in brief:
(1) Death: The leading causes of abortion-related deaths are haemorrhage, infection, embolism, anaesthesia, and undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies.
(2) Breast Cancer: The risk of breast cancer almost doubles after one abortion, and rises even further with two or more abortions. Recent US research based on 28 separate studies reviewed by Professor Joel Brind of the City University of New York has shown 24,500 cases of breast cancer were attributable to abortion. (Mail, August 13, 2000).
(3) Cervical, Ovarian, and Liver Cancer: Women with one abortion face a 2.3 relative risk of cervical cancer, compared to non-aborted women, and women with two or more abortions face a 4.92 relative risk. Similar elevated risks of ovarian and liver cancer have also been linked to single and multiple abortions. These increased cancer rates for post-aborted women are apparently linked to the unnatural disruption of the hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy and untreated cervical damage.
(4) Uterine Perforation: Between two and three percent of all abortion patients may suffer uterine perforation, yet most of these injuries will remain undiagnosed and untreated unless laparoscopic examination is undertaken. Such an examination may be useful at the commencement of a medical negligence action.
The risk of uterine perforation is increased for women who have previously given birth and for those who receive general anaesthesia at the time of the abortion. Uterine damage may result in complications in later pregnancies and may eventually evolve into problems that require a hysterectomy, which itself may result in a number of additional complications and injuries including osteoporosis.
(5) Cervical Lacerations: Significant cervical lacerations requiring sutures occur in at least one per cent of first trimester abortions. Lesser lacerations, or microfractures, which would normally not be treated, may also result in long-term reproductive damage. Latent post-abortion cervical damage may result in subsequent cervical incompetence, premature delivery, and labour complications. The risk of cervical damage is greater for teenagers, for second trimester abortions, and when practitioners fail to use laminaria for dilation of the cervix.
(6) Placenta Praevia: Abortion increases the risk of placenta praevia in later pregnancies (a life-threatening condition for both the mother and her unborn child) by seven to fifteen fold. Abnormal development of the placenta due to uterine damage increases the risk of foetal malformation, prenatal death, and excessive bleeding during labour.
(7) Handicapped Newborns in Later Pregnancies: Abortion is associated with cervical and uterine damage which may increase the risk of premature delivery, complications of labour, and abnormal development of the placenta in later pregnancies. These reproductive complications are the leading causes of handicaps among newborn children.
(8) Ectopic Pregnancy: Abortion is significantly related to an increased risk of subsequent ectopic pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancies, in turn, are life threatening and may result in reduced fertility.
(9) Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): PID is a potentially life-threatening disease which can lead to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and reduced fertility. Of patients who have a chlamydia infection at the time of the abortion, 23% will develop PID within four weeks.
Studies have found that 20 to 27% of patients seeking abortion have a chlamydia infection. Approximately 5% of patients who are not infected by chlamydia develop PID within four weeks after a first trimester abortion.
(10) Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a post-abortion risk for all women, but especially for teenagers who are 2.5 times more likely than women aged 20-29 to acquire endometriosis following an abortion.
(11) Immediate Complications: Approximately 10% of women undergoing an elective abortion will suffer immediate complications, of which approximately one fifth (2%) are considered life-threatening. The nine most common major complications which can occur at the time of an abortion are: infection, excessive bleeding, embolism, ripping or perforation of the uterus, anaesthesia complications, convulsions, haemorrhage, cervical injury, and endotoxic shock. The most common ‘minor’ complications include: infection, bleeding, fever, second degree burns, chronic abdominal pain, vomiting, gastro-intestinal disturbances, and Rh sensitisation.
(12) Increased Risks for Women Seeking Multiple Abortions: The above studies are in respect of the risks reflected for a single abortion. These same studies show that there is a greater risk of experiencing these complications when undergoing multiple abortions. Over 40% of all abortions are repeat abortions.
(13) Increased Risks for Teenagers: Teenagers account for 30% of all abortions and are also at much higher risk of suffering many abortion-related complications. This is true of both immediate complications and long-term reproductive damage.
(14) Increase in Health Risk Factors: Abortion is significantly linked to behavioural changes such as promiscuity, smoking, drug abuse, and eating disorders which all contribute to increased risks of health problems. For example, promiscuity and abortion are each linked to increased rates of PID and ectopic pregnancies. Which one contributes more is unclear, but apportionment may be irrelevant if the promiscuity is itself a response to post-abortion trauma or loss of self-esteem.