Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New study links abortion to higher risk of death than childbirth

A recent study published in the Medical Science Monitor indicates that women who undergo abortions have a higher mortality rate than women who give birth.

The researchers, Priscilla K. Coleman (Bowling Green State University) and David C. Reardon (the Elliot Institute), note the limitations of previous studies on this issue:
All existing studies of mortality rates associated with prior pregnancy outcomes have been limited to pregnancies within an arbitrary range of women's reproductive lives and have lacked information on the subjects' complete reproductive history. Therefore, one of the main purposes of this study is to eliminate the potential confounding effect of unknown prior pregnancy history by examining mortality rates associated specifically with first pregnancy outcome alone.
The authors summarize the findings of their study, which used detailed medical records from Denmark:
A total of 463,473 women had their first pregnancy between 1980 and 2004, of whom 2,238 died. In nearly all time periods examined, mortality rates associated with miscarriage or abortion of a first pregnancy were higher than those associated with birth. Compared to women who delivered, the age and birth year adjusted cumulative risk of death for women who had a first trimester abortion was significantly higher in all periods examined, from 180 days through 10 years, as was the risk for women who had abortions after 12 weeks from one year through 10 years.
"[C]ompared to a first pregnancy ending in a live birth," Coleman and Reardon write, "an abortion prior to 12 weeks is associated with 80% higher risk of death within the first year and a 40% higher risk of death over 10 years."

The study can be downloaded here.