I was fascinated by the debate that presenter Bayana Chunga fronted in one of the weekends on Times Television. He rolled a debate on abortion in which three panellists were involved and among them was a gynaecologist.
I was very much interested in the debate from the other two and the gynaecologist himself. What ‘gushed’ my mind was the way the doctor defended abortion. Much as he has the right to defend abortion, I did not agree to his position on the socio-economic implication as one of the factors one can abort.
I am not here to judge anyone but I feel modernity has no respect for life. We are imploring much on our self-interest. I feel that not only does every abortion kill an innocent human being in the womb but abortion is also more dangerous to the mother than if she were to give birth to the child. The evidence overwhelmingly proves that the morbidity and mortality rates of legal abortion are several times higher than that for carrying a pregnancy to term.
But even if abortion did result in fewer maternal deaths, that would not make it safer. The non-fatal but significant complications of abortion are much more frequent and serious than those of full-term pregnancy, one researcher states.
In 2000, government-funded study in Finland revealed that women who abort are four times more likely to die in the year following the abortion than women who carry their pregnancies to term. Women who carry to term are only half as likely to die as women who are not pregnant.
Researchers from the statistical analysis unit of Finland’s National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health examined death certificate records for all women of reproductive age (15 to 45) who died between 1987 and 1994, a total of 9,029 women. Then they examined the national healthcare database to identify pregnancy-related events for the women in the12 months prior to their deaths.
The researchers found that, compared to women who carried to term, women who had aborted in the year prior to their deaths were 60 percent more likely to die from natural causes, seven times more likely to die from suicide, four times more likely to die of injuries related to accidents and 14 times more likely to die from homicide. Researchers believe that the higher rate of deaths related to accidents and homicide may be linked to higher rates of suicidal or risk-taking behaviour.
Though the chances of a woman’s safe abortion are now greater, the number of suffering women is also greater because of the huge increase in abortions.
No one doubts that legal abortion is marginally safer than illegal abortion but neither is there any doubt that decriminalisation has encouraged more women to undergo abortions than ever before. Risk goes down but numbers go up. This combination means that though the odds of any particular woman suffering ill effects from an abortion have dropped the total number of women who suffer from abortion is far greater than ever before.
Even if abortion were safer for the mother than childbirth, it would still remain fatal for the innocent child.
When an innocent life is at stake, is there not a moral obligation to take risk? Childbirth is much safer than trying to rescue a drowning child in the ocean or trying to rescue a woman who is being beaten or raped. An adult swimming to shore from a capsized boat has a much greater chance of survival if he does not try to save a child. But does that mean he should not?
Ectopic pregnancies occur when gestation takes place outside the uterus, commonly in a fallopian tube. Though usually not fatal, such pregnancies are nonetheless responsible for 12 percent of all pregnancy-related maternal deaths. Studies show that the risk of an ectopic pregnancy is twice as high for women who have had one abortion, and up to four times as high for women with two or more previous abortions. There has been a 300 percent increase of ectopic pregnancies since abortion was legalised. In 1970, the incidence was 4.8 per 1,000 births; by 1980, it had risen to 14.5 per 1,000 births.
Pelvic infection is a common and serious complication of induced abortion and has been reported in up to 30 percent of all cases.
A study of women having first-trimester abortions demonstrated that “women with post-labour pelvic inflammatory disease had significantly higher rates of spontaneous abortion, secondary infertility, dyspareunia and chronic pelvic pain. Other infectious complications, as well as endometriosis, follow approximately five percent of abortion procedures.
Internal bleeding is normal following abortions but in some cases it is severe due to a perforated uterus. This can cause sterility and other serious and permanent problems. A perforated uterus was the cause of at least 24 deaths among US women having abortions between 1972 and 1979.
Numerous scientific studies demonstrate that the chance of miscarriages significantly increases with abortion, as much as tenfold.
Tragically, some women are unable to conceive after having abortions. Tubai infertility has been found to be up to 30 percent more common among women who have had abortions. Having taken the life of a child they did not want, they will never be able to carry a child they do want.
The health of future children is also at risk, as both premature births and low birth weights are more common among women who have had abortions. Malformations, both major and minor, of later children are increased by abortion.
For various reasons, the frequency of early death for infants born after their mothers have had abortions is between two and four times the normal rate.
The Elliot Institute data indicates that women who abort are twice as likely to have preterm or post-term deliveries. Placenta previa is a condition occurring when the placenta covers the cervix, preventing the baby from passing through the birth canal. It usually requires a caesarian section and can threaten the life of both mother and child. Placenta previa is seven to15 times more common among women who have had abortions than among those who have not.
Calculations of abortion complication rates vary considerably but even the lower estimates are significant: The reported immediate complication rate, alone, of abortion is no less than 10 percent. In addition, studies of long-range complications show rates no less than 17 percent and frequently report complication rates in the range of 25 to 40 percent.
According to Dr Thomas W. Hilgers, the medical hazards of legally induced abortion are very significant and should be conscientiously weighed.
The statistics on abortion complications and risks are often understated due to the inadequate means of gathering data.
It is not only abortion deaths that go unreported. Researchers warn that studies are likely to underestimate the risks and complications of abortion because of the reluctance of women to report prior abortions and the difficulty of following up women who may have been injured through abortions. A former director of several abortion climes told me:
Most abortion complications are never made known to the public because abortion has a built-in cover-up. Women want to deny it and forget it, not talk about it.
Furthermore, the accuracy of reported complications is largely dependent upon the willingness of abortion clinics to give out this information.
The true risks of abortion are rarely explained to women by those who perform abortions.
It is common to talk to women physically or psychologically damaged by abortions, who say: “I had no idea this could happen; no one told me about the risks.” Many people do not realise the privileged status of abortion climes.
Perhaps abortion is the only surgery for which the surgeon is not obligated to inform the patient of the possible risks of the procedure or even the exact nature of the procedure. Perhaps abortion providers are the only medical personnel who have a “constitutional right” to withhold information, even when directly questioned by the patient.
The large body of evidence indicating significant abortion risks has been suppressed and ignored. This suppression is made possible by pro-choice advocates who zealously oppose any requirements for abortion climes to provide information. The “immunity to stating the facts” enjoyed by abortion clinics increases their profits but only at the expense of women who are not allowed to make an informed choice.
The court guarantees “freedom of choice” but denies the right to “informed choice”. Some abortionists, at times, can legally withhold information, or even avoid their clients’ direct questions, in order to ensure that the patient will agree to an abortion which will be, they assume, “in her best interests”.
Some abortion clinics may object that they voluntarily offer consent forms which patients must sign. Yet many patients testify that they did not read these forms, that the forms did not give specific information or that they did not understand what they signed. The few who do ask questions are assured by clinic workers that any references to possible complications are just a formality and there is nothing to worry about. Because of the nervous anxiety associated with an abortion, and the desire to get it over with, signing such a form is no different than not signing a form at all—except that it absolves the clinic of legal responsibility for the health problems the woman may suffer later.
The evidence indicates that the only way to avoid the risks of abortion is not to have one. As a nation, we need to look at the advantages and disadvantages of abortion than promoting one side. Much as we have freedom to do what we want, no one has an obligation or mandate to take away a life. However, God gave us freedom to decide our own fate.
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