A woman’s decision to abort her first pregnancy carries a lifetime of risk of adverse events, the results of a longtime study say.
“A woman’s first pregnancy shapes the course of her life,” stated Tessa Longbons, Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) senior research associate. “That’s my key takeaway from 17 years of data.”
Longbons was discussing a comprehensive CLI study released this past fall on Medicaid data showing that women are negatively affected when their first pregnancy ends in abortion.
“While pro-abortion politicians attack pro-life pregnancy centers, the reality is that the compassionate counseling offered by these community-based organizations is exactly what a woman needs to preserve her long-term physical, mental, and reproductive health,” Longbons said.
CLI conducted extensive research on the association between a first-pregnancy abortion and the outcomes of following pregnancies.
Their findings were published this fall in peer-reviewed Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology, using anonymous, detailed, and accurate data collected from Medicaid Analytic eXtract (MAX) files of 5,453 women, and 14,451 pregnancies, from seven states, over a 17-year period. The research was titled, The Enduring Association of a First Pregnancy Abortion with Subsequent Pregnancy Outcomes: A Longitudinal Cohort Study.
Link between abortion and adverse events
How does ending a first pregnancy by induced abortion affect a woman’s future and her future pregnancies?
“The first-pregnancy abortion maintains a strong and persistent association with the likelihood of another abortion in subsequent pregnancies, enabling a cascade of adverse events associated with multiple abortions.”
The researchers divided the data on first pregnancy outcomes into the three cohorts of birth, natural loss, and induced abortion to compare subsequent pregnancy outcomes.
They found that women in the abortion group had one-and-a-half times more natural loss (miscarriage) in subsequent pregnancies.
Abortion associated with future pregnancy complications
The authors state:
“...exposure to multiple abortions, can predispose to future pregnancy complications [such as] … surgical trauma to the uterine lining...placental...separation or placental… invasion [which could] lead to life-threatening bleeding at delivery. Abortion has been documented to increase risk of subsequent preterm birth.”
This indicates that rather than giving women more reproductive choice, abortion may contribute to a woman losing her reproductive choices – and her life.
The study results are dependable and thorough because the data came from uninterrupted Medicaid claims over a long period of time and references widespread research.
“Most other U.S. studies of abortion outcomes and complications rely on voluntary surveys, small sample sizes, and weak reporting requirements which exclude non-fatal complications,” CLI’s press release states.
The study also refers to research from several countries including Finland, Tunisia, China, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Russia, where abortion data is often more extensive and uniform than in the United States.
One abortion likely leads to another
The research revealed that ending a first pregnancy in abortion escalates the number of abortions a woman will have since she has 1.35 times more pregnancies than women in the other two groups, but 4.31 times the abortions – and is five times more likely to have three or more abortions, according to the study.
Based on other data and studies, the researchers concluded, “Abortion, especially repeat abortion, is linked to increased risk of premature deaths from all causes, including suicide, and also other mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse or overdose, and excessive risk-taking behavior.”
This indicates that rather than empowering women, abortion weakens women, decreases their autonomy, and makes achievement of their dreams more difficult.
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PRCs’ access to facts benefits women
The researchers recommend that the “enduring effect of the first pregnancy outcome on a woman’s reproductive life and aspirational goals must be honestly and widely communicated. The screening and risk disclosures for women considering abortion, especially of a first pregnancy, should include a discussion of the elevated risks associated with multiple abortions and the critical importance of the first pregnancy outcome.”
Women visiting PRCs will benefit from being counseled on the facts of this study and be empowered to avoid the risks and adverse effects of abortion.
Pregnancy Resource Center staff and volunteers can access the information from this study HERE.
Compelling, reliable analysis
Dr. James Studnicki, vice president of data analytics for CLI and lead author of the study, told Pregnancy Help News that the design of the study was rigorous.
“The design imposes significant controls on the study population,” he said. “The women are all poor. Their Medicaid eligibility status for all years has been certified. The cohorts were established by an age requirement, so age is controlled. While the study does not control for health comorbidities — this is a very young population (ages 16-32).”
“Most importantly, we know from previous research that the health of the mother and/or the unborn child is rarely (less than 1%) the reason for an induced abortion,” said Studnicki. “Nearly all abortions involve a healthy woman and a healthy fetus.”
“The science at CLI has not been criticized," he added, "just our radical position that life should be valued.”
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The lives of both the woman and her unborn child are valued when someone takes the time to explain possible life-altering outcomes of her decisions, and to give her accurate information about the risks of abortion, especially during her first pregnancy.