Info and Facts About Abortion and Reproductive Issues
Have questions? Click on each link below to learn more.
Quick Abortion Facts
Abortion in the United States is legal through all nine months of pregnancy.
More than 4.400 surgical abortions are performed every day in this country.
Countless lives are also lost through chemical abortions, ie: RU 486, Plan B, the pill, emergency contraception, etc., which go unreported.
FETAL DEVELOPMENT AND TYPES OF ABORTION
Fertilization through twelve weeks:
At 18 days a baby's heart starts beating. At 40 days brain waves can be detected. By 8 weeks, the major organs are formed. By 3 months, the baby can suck his thumb, perform a somersault, respond to touch, hiccup, and grasp an object. He's 2 1/2 inches long. The most common types of abortion at this stage of fetal development are:
Chemical contraceptives as listed above. These chemicals act on the lining of the uterus, making it hostile to implantation of the fertilized egg.
Manual vacuum aspiration. Using ultrasound to locate the baby, a catheter connected to a syringe is inserted into the mother's uterus and the baby is sucked out of the womb.
Suction aspiration. The mother's cervix is dilated and a hollow tube with a knife-like tip is inserted into the uterus. A suction machine rips the baby apart and sucks him into a bottle.The baby is then pieced back together, like a puzzle, to make sure nothing is left in the uterus.
Dilation and curettage. A loop-shaped, steel knife is inserted into the uterus, slicing the baby to pieces. Both the baby and the placenta are then scraped into a bowl. Again, all pieces of the baby are accounted for.
Four to six months:
The baby is 8 - 12 inches long and weighs about one pound. The brain has begun maturing. She can hear sounds like her mother's voice and heartbeat. Her taste buds are now working. Her movements are strong enough to be felt by the mother. Fine hair begins to grow on the scalp, eyebrows and eyelids. An abortion at this stage of development would be as follows:
Dilation and evacuation. The mother's cervix is dilated. An instrument that resembles pliers is inserted into the mother's uterus and is used to twist and rip the limbs from the torso, crush the baby's head and spine, and then remove the pieces from the mother's uterus.
Saline injection. A 20% saline solution is injected into the mother's uterus. The baby breathes and swallows the caustic solution and dies a slow, painful death due to salt poisoning. The mother goes into labor within a day or two and delivers a badly burned, dead baby.
Intracardiac injection. Primarily used for "pregnancy reduction" when the mother is carrying two or more babies, but doesn't want to give birhth to all of them.Using ultrasound to pinpoint the baby's heart, the doctor injects fluid directly into the baby's heart causing an immediate heart attack.
Seven months to Birth:
The baby begins to use all of her senses. She can hear, taste, yawn, cough, and hiccup. Her eyelids open and close and she looks around. Her grip is stronger. She continues to gain weight and her lungs become fully developed. Although partial-birth abortion has been banned in the United States, late-term abortions are still legal. The most common type of abortion at this stage of development is Dilation and Evacuation, as described above.
This information adapted from brochures by the American Life League.
Is Abortion Best for Women in the Case of Rape?
The Elliot Institute surveyed 192 women who conceived during a rape or incest (164 women were raped and 28 were victims of incest). Of those victims, 69 percent carried the baby to term and either raised the child or made an adoption plan, 29 percent had an abortion, and 1.5 percent had a miscarriage. They found that nearly 80 percent of the women who aborted said that abortion was the wrong solution; 43 percent of these women said they felt pressure to abort from family members or health workers.
Birth Control Can Cause Blood Clots
Using estrogen-based birth control (pills, patches, and rings) comes with a risk of blood clots, though it’s relatively small. The overwhelming majority of women on birth control pills do not have problems.
But, it’s important to note that smoking, being obese, or having a family history of clotting disorders while you’re taking estrogen can all increase the risk.
Is Abortion Ever Necessary to Save the Life of the Mother
“As an OB/GYN physician for 31 years, there is no medical situation that requires aborting/killing the baby in the third trimester to ‘save the mother’s life. Just deliver the baby by C-section and the baby has 95+% survival with readily available NICU care even at 28 weeks,” he said. “C-section is quicker and safer than partial birth abortion for the mother.”
~ Dr. Lawrence Koning of Corona, California
Is RU-486 Safe?
In this type of non-surgical abortion the first pill called mifepristone is given at the Planned Parenthood or other abortion clinic and is used up until 9 weeks of pregnancy. Mifepristone counteracts the natural pregnancy hormone progesterone, which is critical to maintaining a pregnancy. Without progesterone the placenta fails, cutting off oxygen and nutrition to the baby, resulting in his/her death. The patient leaves the clinic after the first pill and is instructed to take the second pill, misoprostol, 36 to 72 hours later. Misoprostol causes the contractions which will then expel the dead baby within several hours or a few days. RU-486 is advertised as a very safe abortion method, but when a San Francisco abortion clinic administered the pill to 18-year-old Holly Patterson, she suffered the ultimate abortion complication. Holly died a week later from a massive infection as a result of fragments of the fetus left inside her uterus which caused her to go into septic shock.
When Does Life Begin?
Science teaches without reservation that life begins at fertilization (conception). It is a scientific fact that an organism exists after fertilization that did not exist before. This new organism has its own DNA distinct from the mother and father, meaning that it is a unique person. As the embryo grows, it develops a heartbeat (22 days after fertilization), its own circulatory system, and its own organs. From fertilization, it is a new organism that is alive and will continue to grow and develop as long as nutrition is provided and its life is not ended through violence or illness.
It is indisputably human, as it has human DNA.
The offspring of two members of a species is always the same type of creature as the parents. No two dogs will ever conceive and give birth to a cat; no fish egg will ever produce a snake. According to all the laws of nature, the preborn baby is human.
Scientific textbooks proclaim this fact. Keith L. Moore’s The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (7th edition, Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003) states the following:
A zygote [fertilized egg] is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete … unites with a female gamete or oocyte … to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.
“Zygote” is a scientific term for the new life that is created when the sperm and the egg combine. “Oocyte” is another term for the egg cell, the cell released by woman’s ovary, which travels down the Fallopian tube and is fertilized by the male sperm.
The author of this scientific textbook, Keith L. Moore, is a world-renowned embryologist. He has written a number of definitive books on embryology, and his scientific knowledge and experience are vast and beyond reproach. Few medical students can complete their careers without studying from his textbooks.
Moore puts it even more plainly in Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology (7thedition, Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2008, p. 2):
[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being.
Here is an example from another scientific work.
From Human Embryology & Teratology (Ronan R. O’Rahilly, Fabiola Muller [New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996], 5-55):
Fertilization is an important landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed[.]
This third embryology textbook is as clear as the first two – fertilization is the beginning of new life and the start of a new, distinct human organism.
From T.W. Sadler, Langman’s Medical Embryology (10th edition, Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006, p. 11):
Development begins with fertilization, the process by which the male gamete, the sperm, and the femal gamete, the oocyte, unite to give rise to a zygote.
And in another source (Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Miller, Human Embryology and Teratology [3rd edition, New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001, p. 8]):
Although life is a continuous process, fertilization … is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte.
Is Planned Parenthood a Health Clinic?
In 2011, abortions made up 92% of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy services, while prenatal care and adoption referrals accounted for only 7% (28,674) and 0.6% (2,300), respectively. For every adoption referral, Planned Parenthood performed 145 abortions.
Source: From the SBA List breakdown of the numbers from the PPFA annual report
Planned Parenthood’s role in serving women’s health is compromised at best, and is better taken over by others. Planned Parenthood’s supporters cite its “cervical and breast cancer screenings”16 -- but its heavily promoted contraceptive services, over a third of all PPFA’s activity, is associated with an increased risk of breast and cervical cancer.17 Planned Parenthood’s “screening” for breast cancer is a preliminary screen that a woman can do for herself – it offers no mammograms or biopsies.18 PPFA emphasizes its testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases19 – but it heavily promotes contraceptive methods that may increase women’s risk of contracting STDs, including AIDS.20 Women’s comprehensive health needs are much better served by community health centers and other federally qualified health centers, which serve 22 million patients in both urban and rural areas and outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics 13 to 1 (9,170 to 700).21
Source: Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities; Planned Parenthood: Setting the Record Straight
Planned Parenthood provides 16 times more abortions than birth-oriented services. While PPFA says abortions make up 3% of its services, this is misleading. PPFA says it served 2.7 million patients (women and men) and performed 327,653 abortions, indicating that 12% of everyone entering a Planned Parenthood clinic receives an abortion. And PPFA provided only 18,684 “prenatal services” and 1,880 referrals for adoptions at other agencies. So 94% of its services for pregnant women are abortions, outnumbering other options 16 to 1.3
Source: Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities 2015 Pg. 1
Do Abortions Ever Fail?
Unfortunately babies are born alive and left to die more often then the abortion industry would like us to know. Many nurses have come forward to speak about their witness to this horrific action done against babies. Holly O'Donnell, a former blood and tissue procurement technician for the biotech startup StemExpress, gave her testimony about the babies being born alive. Holly also explained a painful memory in which she was asked to harvest an intact brain from the late-term, male fetus whose heart was still beating after the abortion.
Is Planned Parenthood "Pro-Choice?"
Planned Parenthood is not “pro-choice” for women.
In light of the failure of contraceptive programs to reduce unintended pregnancies or abortions, Planned Parenthood has increasingly promoted “LARCs” (long-acting reversible contraceptives) – implantables, injectables, and intrauterine devices – that can sterilize women for months or years at a time.12 Most women have rejected these methods in the past due to their inflexibility and side effects.13 But supporters favor them because they are “independent from… user motivation and adherence”14 – that is, they disregard a woman’s own changing reproductive goals, and cannot be discontinued without medical assistance. PPFA has even abandoned “pro-choice” as a slogan -- insisting instead that contraception and abortion are basic “health care” that all women need access to (whether women ask for that or not).15
Source: Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities; Panned Parenthood: Setting the Record Straight
Has Legalizing Abortion Saved the Lives of Women?
It is misleading to say that pre-Roe illegal abortions were performed by "back-alley butchers" with rusty coat hangers. While president of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Mary Calderone pointed out in a 1960 American Journal of Health article that Dr. Kinsey showed in 1958 that 84% to 87% of all illegal abortions were performed by licensed physicians in good standing. Dr. Calderone herself concluded that "90% of all illegal abortions are presently done by physicians."(1) It seems that the vast majority of the alleged "back-alley butchers" eventually became the "reproductive health providers" of our present day.
Source: Illegal Abortion Myths, By Dr. Frank Beckwith
(1)Mary Calderone, "Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem," in American Journal of Health 50 (July 1960):949
More then 400 women have died from legal abortions since 1973.
Abortion Increases the Risk of Suicide
Two studies from Finland(1) show that women who had abortions were 6 to 7 times more likely to commit suicide than women who gave birth.
Source: Sarah Terzo, lifesite.com
What is the “Morning After Pill” (MAP)?
The Morning After Pill contains a high dosage of the hormone progestin, and when used as directed, prevents or ends pregnancy. It is marketed as an “emergency contraceptive.” It is also known as Plan B.
How is MAP taken?
It is designed to be taken in two doses. The first pill is supposed to be taken within the first 72 hours after intercourse, followed by the second pill 12 hours later.
How does MAP work?
Here is what it does to your body:
•Suppresses ovulation (female egg production in the ovary).
•Thickens mucus in your cervix which blocks sperm passage.
•Irritates your uterus lining, making it hostile to implantation, resulting
So, is MAP contraception or abortion?
Yes. You’re never sure, because MAP works as a contraceptive by suppressing ovulation. However, if you have conceived, it effectively ends the life of your child, as described above. That’s why the chemicals in morning-after pills (high-dosages of the hormone progestin) are properly identified as “abortifacients.”
Hold on, the FDA and Planned Parenthood say that MAP is not an abortifacient.
When does human life begin? Check out highly regarded textbooks on embryology.4,5,6 They say it is when the sperm and ovum, neither of which can sustain life or direct growth by itself, come together at fertilization. For the first time the new life has all 46 chromosomes and all the directions (DNA) it needs for the rest of life. The sex of the baby, the color of the hair, everything is already fixed.
The FDA and Planned Parenthood simply redefined the beginning of life from fertilization to implantation, which occurs about a week after conception. This redefinition of when human life begins was based on political and economic considerations, not biological or ethical ones.
WHAT ARE THE health risks OF MAP?
When conception has taken place, MAP is typically fatal to your child. However, in the rush to make the morning after pill available, studies to determine the risks of long term and repeated use of heavy doses of progestin to YOUR body were not carried out. As pointed out previously in this Resource Book for Women, even low doses present health risks to women, according to the United Nation’s World Health Organization.
Is The Pill Effective?
No. It is important for you to understand its significant failure rate.
Planned Parenthood’s website describes the Pill’s effectiveness this way:
“When used perfectly, the pill is 99% effective. But when it comes to real life, the pill is about 91% effective because it can be hard to be perfect.”
As reported in the New York Times, for typical use, 61 out of 100 women who use the pill become pregnant within a decade. The Times' cited research by James Trussell, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton’s Office of Population Research. He described ‘typical use’ like this:
“This is the norm, reflecting the effectiveness of each method for the average couple who do not always use it correctly or consistently.”
Projecting this lack of effectiveness over time, the fail rate hits 38% by year five before ballooning to 61% by year ten.
Can you count on the Pill to do what it says it will do? You be the judge. Are you perfect?
Is the Pill Safe?
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified combined hormonal contraceptives as Group 1 carcinogens.
- Side effects include susceptibility to the AIDS virus since the Pill weakens your immune system.
- WHO research also identifies an increased risk of cervical/breast cancers, stroke, blood clots, death, heart attack, liver cancer, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility for women using hormonal contraceptives.
- It provides no protection against sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs).
- Women who started hormonal contraception before age 18 have a 90% increased risk for breast cancer and a 370% increased risk for “triple negative” breast cancer.1
- Women who use hormonal contraceptives before their 1st birth have a 44% increased risk of breast cancer.2
- Women who use contraceptives 11 years or longer are at a 210% increased risk of breast cancer. (By contrast, smoking ‘only’ increases the risk of breast cancer by 25%.)3
Proven Risks and Side Effects of Contraceptives
- Increased frequency of blood clots
- Increased frequency of high blood pressure
- Increased frequency of migraines
- Increased frequency of depression
- Increased frequency of breast cancer
- Increased frequency of contracting and transmitting HIV
- Loss of libido
Does the Pill Cause Breast Cancer?
Scientific medical studies have identified a link between the use of artificial hormones and breast cancer. In 2005, the World Health Organization classified oral contraceptives as a Group 1 carcinogen, along with tobacco, arsenic, and asbestos, the most dangerous classification known.7
Likewise, a comprehensive meta-analysis8 published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings in October 2006 found that 21 out of 23 retrospective studies done since 1980 showed that women who took oral contraceptives prior to the birth of their first child sustained a 44% average increased risk of developing pre-menopausal breast cancer. This risk rose to 52% for women who took the Pill for at least four years prior to the birth of their first child.
How could the Pill increase my risk of breast cancer?
Birth control pills are made from synthetic estrogens and/or progestins. Experiments have shown that these hormones cause women’s breast cells to divide more rapidly.9 Cells that divide more rapidly are more prone to develop into cancer cells.
Teenage girls are especially vulnerable to breast cancer risk since their breasts are growing. Most have not yet developed cancer-resistant Type 3 lobules through a full-term pregnancy, making them especially susceptible to the cancer-causing potential of contraceptive steroids (birth control pills).
Is the Pill a Steroid?
Yes. Steroids are banned for professional athletes because they’re dangerous to their health.
The dangerous performance enhancing steroids taken by athletes are male steroid hormonal drugs that build muscle. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, risks associated with their use include liver cancer, kidney disease, enlarged heart, high blood pressure, and increased risk of stroke and heart attack, even in the young.
Similarly, female steroid hormonal drugs build breast tissue. Like male steroid hormonal drugs, the risks are serious and include increased danger of breast cancer (see above), and even liver and cervical cancers.
An article in Scientific American10 reports on studies that birth control pills even appear to remodel brain structure in women.
Natural Family Planning Facts and Myths
Since chemical contraception presents health risks to women and unreliable contraceptive results, what is the alternative?
Natural Family Planning. NFP is based on an awareness of a woman’s fertility. Couples learn how to interpret certain signs in the woman’s body that indicate her fertile and infertile times.
99% effective. Several published clinical trials demonstrate NFP is 99% effective in postponing pregnancy, the same effectiveness range as hormonal methods and more effective than devices, creams, and other unnatural methods.15
NFP offers this exceptional effectiveness rate while being 100% safe with no health risks. It involves no potentially harmful unnatural birth control drugs or devices.
How does NFP work?
You are taught how to chart changes in both temperature and cervical mucus. Using this information, you are able to predict ovulation (when your eggs are released). Then you and your partner can abstain from unprotected sex during the fertile period when you are most likely to become pregnant.
Under the guidance of a trained instructor, you will learn how to evaluate your body's signals to determine your fertility cycle.
Yes. They fall under three basic categories: The Sympto-Thermal Method (most effective); Cervical Mucus Method; and the Basal Temperature Method.
WHAT IS NaProTECHNOLOGY?
Natural Family Planning allows you to easily and objectively monitor several different biological markers, which are essential to understanding your health and fertility. Since these biomarkers reflect various hormone events of the menstrual and fertility cycles, monitoring the biomarkers indicates times of fertility and infertility and telegraphs abnormalities in a woman’s health.
NaPro is a comprehensive technology that enhances every aspect of a woman’s reproductive health. It produces valid information that you can interpret along with a physician trained in this system. Because of its accuracy in monitoring reproductive health, NaProTECHNOLOGY can find real solutions to a wide spectrum of women’s health problems, including infertility, menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome, and many more. From a natural family planning perspective, it is 99.5% effective with perfect use and 96.8% effective with typical use, which exceeds the Pill and most other methods of unnatural contraception.
Natural Family Planning requires mutual commitment from both partners and should be used within a marriage. As its name implies, NFP should not be considered birth control, even though it is at least as effective as unnatural methods of contraception that may be harmful to your health, and even your marriage. Rather, it is about planning, accompanied by an openness to the possibility of life. NFP works within the biological designs of a woman's body, NOT against it.
The divorce rate of couples using NFP is shockingly low, less than 5%, according to Professor Janet Smith, who holds the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. On the other hand, a demographer at the University of Stanford, Robert Michael, conducted research that showed that the national divorce rate doubled from 25% to 50% with the introduction of the Pill into American society between 1965 and 1975.
NFP cultivates commitment and communication in couples just as artificial birth control weakens it.
NFP takes a little time to learn, and is worth it. The best way is to attend a class that is taught by a qualified instructor or home classes that are taught by certified couples. You can also use a home study course or workbooks available at bookstores.
Contraception to Abortion Timeline
- 1859 The American Medical Association condemns the practice of abortion.
- 1860s This decade marks the beginning of a social and political birth control movement.
- 1873 The Comstock Law is passed. The Comstock Law constituted a federal ban on the manufacture, sale or possession of contraceptives and advertisements for them.
- 1875 Every state in the United States has adopted laws banning abortion.
- 1916 Margaret Sanger forms the Birth Control League (now called Planned Parenthood) to promote contraception and abortion, and she begins her push for churches to accept contraception as morally licit.
- 1920 At the Lambeth Conference, Anglican Church leaders acknowledge the contraception debate, but respond, “We utter an emphatic warning against the use of unnatural means for the avoidance of conception…”
- 1930 At the Lambeth Conference, birth control is now considered morally acceptable under certain circumstances by protestant churches. This concession constitutes a major victory for Sanger and the culture of death.
- 1961 The National Protestant Council of Churches gives its backing to unnatural forms of birth control.
- 1965 Griswald v. Connecticut sounds the death knell for all anti-contraception legislation in the U.S. The Supreme Court invents the so-called “right to privacy” to shield the marital bedroom and contraceptives from the reach of legislation.
- 1967 Colorado becomes the first state to allow abortion in the cases of rape, incest or threat to the mother’s life.
- 1970 Fourteen states allow abortion in certain circumstances.
- 1972 Eisenstadt v. Baird—The Supreme Court extends the same invented right of privacy from Griswald to unmarried individuals desiring to use contraception.
- 1973 Roe v. Wade legalizes abortion on demand using the “right to privacy” from Griswald. The decision strikes down all state laws that had placed restrictions on abortion saying no state had the authority to legislate against abortion for any reason.
- 1973 Doe v. Bolton defines the health-of-the-mother exception in ambiguous terms and further secures the right to abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy.
POST ABORTION SYNDROME
A List of Major Psychological Sequelae of Abortion
REQUIREMENT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT:
In a study of post-abortion patients only 8 weeks after their abortion, researchers found that 44% complained of nervous disorders, 36% had experienced sleep disturbances, 31% had regrets about their decision, and 11% had been prescribed psychotropic medicine by their family doctor. (2) A 5 year retrospective study in two Canadian provinces found significantly greater use of medical and psychiatric services among aborted women. Most significant was the finding that 25% of aborted women made visits to psychiatrists as compared to 3% of the control group. (3) Women who have had abortions are significantly more likely than others to subsequently require admission to a psychiatric hospital. At especially high risk are teenagers, separated or divorced women, and women with a history of more than one abortion. (4)
Since many post-aborted women use repression as a coping mechanism, there may be a long period of denial before a woman seeks psychiatric care. These repressed feelings may cause psychosomatic illnesses and psychiatric or behavioral in other areas of her life. As a result, some counselors report that unacknowledged post-abortion distress is the causative factor in many of their female patients, even though their patients have come to them seeking therapy for seemingly unrelated problems. (5)
POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD or PAS): A major random study found that a minimum of 19% of post- abortion women suffer from diagnosable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Approximately half had many, but not all, symptoms of PTSD, and 20 to 40 percent showed moderate to high levels of stress and avoidance behavior relative to their abortion experiences. (6) Because this is a major disorder which may be present in many plaintiffs, and is not readily understood outside the counseling profession, the following summary is more complete than other entries in this section. PTSD is a psychological dysfunction which results from a traumatic experience which overwhelms a person's normal defense mechanisms resulting in intense fear, feelings of helplessness or being trapped, or loss of control. The risk that an experience will be traumatic is increased when the traumatizing event is perceived as including threats of physical injury, sexual violation, or the witnessing of or participation in a violent death. PTSD results when the traumatic event causes the hyperarousal of "flight or fight" defense mechanisms. This hyperarousal causes these defense mechanisms to become disorganized, disconnected from present circumstances, and take on a life of their own resulting in abnormal behavior and major personality disorders. As an example of this disconnection of mental functions, some PTSD victim may experience intense emotion but without clear memory of the event; others may remember every detail but without emotion; still others may reexperience both the event and the emotions in intrusive and overwhelming flashback experiences. (7)
Women may experience abortion as a traumatic event for several reasons. Many are forced into an unwanted abortions by husbands, boyfriends, parents, or others. If the woman has repeatedly been a victim of domineering abuse, such an unwanted abortion may be perceived as the ultimate violation in a life characterized by abuse. Other women, no matter how compelling the reasons they have for seeking an abortion, may still perceive the termination of their pregnancy as the violent killing of their own child. The fear, anxiety, pain, and guilt associated with the procedure are mixed into this perception of grotesque and violent death. Still other women, report that the pain of abortion, inflicted upon them by a masked stranger invading their body, feels identical to rape. (8) Indeed, researchers have found that women with a history of sexual assault may experience greater distress during and after an abortion exactly because of these associations between the two experiences. (9) When the stressor leading to PTSD is abortion, some clinicians refer to this as Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS).
The major symptoms of PTSD are generally classified under three categories: hyperarousal, intrusion, and constriction.
HYPERAROUSAL is a characteristic of inappropriately and chronically aroused "fight or flight" defense mechanisms. The person is seemingly on permanent alert for threats of danger. Symptoms of hyperarousal include: exaggerated startle responses, anxiety attacks, irritability, outbursts of anger or rage, aggressive behavior, difficulty concentrating, hypervigilence, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or physiological reactions upon exposure to situations that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic experience (eg. elevated pulse or sweat during a pelvic exam, or upon hearing a vacuum pump sound.)
INTRUSION is the reexperience of the traumatic event at unwanted and unexpected times. Symptoms of intrusion in PAS cases include: recurrent and intrusive thoughts about the abortion or aborted child, flashbacks in which the woman momentarily reexperiences an aspect of the abortion experience, nightmares about the abortion or child, or anniversary reactions of intense grief or depression on the due date of the aborted pregnancy or the anniversary date of the abortion.
CONSTRICTION is the numbing of emotional resources, or the development of behavioral patterns, so as to avoid stimuli associated with the trauma. It is avoidance behavior; an attempt to deny and avoid negative feelings or people, places, or things which aggravate the negative feelings associated with the trauma. In post-abortion trauma cases, constriction may include: an inability to recall the abortion experience or important parts of it; efforts to avoid activities or situations which may arouse recollections of the abortion; withdrawal from relationships, especially estrangement from those involved in the abortion decision; avoidance of children; efforts to avoid or deny thoughts or feelings about the abortion; restricted range of loving or tender feelings; a sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect a career, marriage, or children, or a long life.); diminished interest in previously enjoyed activities; drug or alcohol abuse; suicidal thoughts or acts; and other self-destructive tendencies.
As previously mentioned, Barnard's study identified a 19% rate of PTSD among women who had abortions three to five years previously. But in reality the actual rate is probably higher. Like most post-abortion studies, Barnard's study was handicapped by a fifty percent drop out rate. Clinical experience has demonstrated that the women least likely to cooperate in post-abortion research are those for whom the abortion caused the most psychological distress. Research has confirmed this insight, demonstrating that the women who refuse followup evaluation most closely match the demographic characteristics of the women who suffer the most post-abortion distress. (10) The extraordinary high rate of refusal to participate in post-abortion studies may interpreted as evidence of constriction or avoidance behavior (not wanting to think about the abortion) which is a major symptom of PTSD.
For many women, the onset or accurate identification of PTSD symptoms may be delayed for several years. (11) Until a PTSD sufferer has received counseling and achieved adequate recovery, PTSD may result in a psychological disability which would prevent an injured abortion patient from bringing action within the normal statutory period. This disability may, therefore, provide grounds for an extended statutory period.
SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION: Thirty to fifty percent of aborted women report experiencing sexual dysfunctions, of both short and long duration, beginning immediately after their abortions. These problems may include one or more of the following: loss of pleasure from intercourse, increased pain, an aversion to sex and/or males in general, or the development of a promiscuous life-style. (12)
SUICIDAL IDEATION AND SUICIDE ATTEMPTS: Approximately 60 percent of women who experience post-abortion sequelae report suicidal ideation, with 28 percent actually attempting suicide, of which half attempted suicide two or more times. Researchers in Finland have identified a strong statistical association between abortion and suicide in a records based study. The identified 73 suicides associated within one year to a pregnancy ending either naturally or by induced abortion. The mean annual suicide rate for all women was 11.3 per 100,000. Suicide rate associated with birth was significantly lower (5.9). Rates for pregnancy loss were significantly higher. For miscarriage the rate was 18.1 per 100,000 and for abortion 34.7 per 100,000. The suicide rate within one year after an abortion was three times higher than for all women, seven times higher than for women carrying to term, and nearly twice as high as for women who suffered a miscarriage. Suicide attempts appear to be especially prevalent among post-abortion teenagers.(13)
INCREASED SMOKING WITH CORRESPONDENT NEGATIVE HEALTH EFFECTS: Post-abortion stress is linked with increased cigarette smoking. Women who abort are twice as likely to become heavy smokers and suffer the corresponding health risks. (14)
Post-abortion women are also more likely to continue smoking during subsequent wanted pregnancies with increased risk of neonatal death or congenital anomalies. (15)
ALCOHOL AB-- USE: Abortion is significantly linked with a two fold increased risk of alcohol abuse among women. (16) Abortion followed by alcohol abuse is linked to violent behavior, divorce or separation, auto accidents, and job loss. (17) (see also New Study Confirms Link Between Abortion and Substance Abuse)
DRUG AB-- USE: Abortion is significantly linked to subsequent drug abuse. In addition to the psycho-social costs of such abuse, drug abuse is linked with increased exposure to HIV/AIDS infections, congenital malformations, and assaultive behavior. (18)
EATING DISORDERS: For at least some women, post-abortion stress is associated with eating disorders such as binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia nervosa. (19)
CHILD NEGLECT OR AB-- USE: Abortion is linked with increased depression, violent behavior, alcohol and drug abuse, replacement pregnancies, and reduced maternal bonding with children born subsequently. These factors are closely associated with child abuse and would appear to confirm individual clinical assessments linking post-abortion trauma with subsequent child abuse. (20)
DIVORCE AND CHRONIC RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS: For most couples, an abortion causes unforeseen problems in their relationship. Post-abortion couples are more likely to divorce or separate. Many post-abortion women develop a greater difficulty forming lasting bonds with a male partner. This may be due to abortion related reactions such as lowered self-esteem, greater distrust of males, sexual dysfunction, substance abuse, and increased levels of depression, anxiety, and volatile anger. Women who have more than one abortion (representing about 45% of all abortions) are more likely to require public assistance, in part because they are also more likely to become single parents. (21)
REPEAT ABORTIONS: Women who have one abortion are at increased risk of having additional abortions in the future. Women with a prior abortion experience are four times more likely to abort a current pregnancy than those with no prior abortion history. (22)
This increased risk is associated with the prior abortion due to lowered self esteem, a conscious or unconscious desire for a replacement pregnancy, and increased sexual activity post-abortion. Subsequent abortions may occur because of conflicted desires to become pregnant and have a child and continued pressures to abort, such as abandonment by the new male partner. Aspects of self-punishment through repeated abortions are also reported. (23)
Approximately 45% of all abortions are now repeat abortions. The risk of falling into a repeat abortion pattern should be discussed with a patient considering her first abortion. Furthermore, since women who have more than one abortion are at a significantly increased risk of suffering physical and psychological sequelae, these heightened risks should be thoroughly discussed with women seeking abortions.
- 1. An excellent resource for any attorney involved in abortion malpractice is Thomas Strahan's Major Articles and Books Concerning the Detrimental Effects of Abortion (Rutherford Institute, PO Box 7482, Charlottesville, VA 22906-7482, (804) 978-388.) This resource includes brief summaries of major finding drawn from medical and psychology journal articles, books, and related materials, divided into major categories of relevant injuries.
- 2. Ashton,"They Psychosocial Outcome of Induced Abortion", British Journal of Ob&Gyn., 87:1115-1122, (1980).
- 3. Badgley, et.al.,Report of the Committee on the Operation of the Abortion Law (Ottawa:Supply and Services, 1977)pp.313-321.
- 4. R. Somers, "Risk of Admission to Psychiatric Institutions Among Danish Women who Experienced Induced Abortion: An Analysis on National Record Linkage," Dissertation Abstracts International, Public Health 2621-B, Order No. 7926066 (1979); H. David, et al., "Postpartum and Postabortion Psychotic Reactions," Family Planning Perspectives 13:88-91 (1981).
- 5. Kent, et al., "Bereavement in Post-Abortive Women: A Clinical Report", World Journal of Psychosynthesis (Autumn-Winter 1981), vol.13,nos.3-4.
- 6. Catherine Barnard, The Long-Term Psychological Effects of Abortion, Portsmouth, N.H.: Institute for Pregnancy Loss, 1990).
- 7. Herman, Trauma and Recovery, (New York: Basic Books, 1992) 34.
- 8. Francke, The Ambivalence of Abortion (New York: Random House, 1978) 84-95.
- 9. Zakus, "Adolescent Abortion Option," Social Work in Health Care, 12(4):87 (1987); Makhorn, "Sexual Assault & Pregnancy," New Perspectives on Human Abortion, Mall & Watts, eds., (Washington, D.C.: University Publications of America, 1981).
- 10. Adler, "Sample Attrition in Studies of Psycho-social Sequelae of Abortion: How great a problem." Journal of Social Issues, 1979, 35, 100-110.
- 11. Speckhard, "Postabortion Syndrome: An Emerging Public Health Concern," Journal of Social Issues, 48(3):95-119.
- 12. Speckhard, Psycho-social Stress Following Abortion, Sheed & Ward, Kansas City: MO, 1987; and Belsey, et al., "Predictive Factors in Emotional Response to Abortion: King's Termination Study - IV," Soc. Sci. & Med., 11:71-82 (1977).
- 13. Speckhard, Psycho-social Stress Following Abortion, Sheed & Ward, Kansas City: MO, 1987; Gissler, Hemminki & Lonnqvist, "Suicides after pregnancy in Finland, 1987-94: register linkage study," British Journal of Medicine 313:1431-4, 1996.C. Haignere, et al., "HIV/AIDS Prevention and Multiple Risk Behaviors of Gay Male and Runaway Adolescents," Sixth International Conference on AIDS: San Francisco, June 1990; N. Campbell, et al., "Abortion in Adolescence," Adolescence, 23(92):813-823 (1988); H. Vaughan, Canonical Variates of Post-Abortion Syndrome, Portsmouth, NH: Institute for Pregnancy Loss, 1991; B. Garfinkel, "Stress, Depression and Suicide: A Study of Adolescents in Minnesota," Responding to High Risk Youth, Minnesota Extension Service, University of Minnesota (1986).
- 14. Harlap, "Characteristics of Pregnant Women Reporting Previous Induced Abortions," Bulletin World Health Organization, 52:149 (1975); N. Meirik, "Outcome of First Delivery After 2nd Trimester Two Stage Induced Abortion: A Controlled Cohort Study," Acta Obsetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavia 63(1):45-50(1984); Levin, et al., "Association of Induced Abortion with Subsequent Pregnancy Loss," JAMA, 243:2495-2499, June 27, 1980.
- 15. Obel, "Pregnancy Complications Following Legally Induced Abortion: An Analysis of the Population with Special Reference to Prematurity," Danish Medical Bulletin, 26:192- 199 (1979); Martin, "An Overview: Maternal Nicotine and Caffeine Consumption and Offspring Outcome," Neurobehavioral Toxicology and Tertology, 4(4):421-427, (1982).
- 16. Klassen, "Sexual Experience and Drinking Among Women in a U.S. National Survey," Archives of Sexual Behavior, 15(5):363-39 ; M. Plant, Women, Drinking and Pregnancy, Tavistock Pub, London (1985); Kuzma & Kissinger, "Patterns of Alcohol and Cigarette Use in Pregnancy," Neurobehavioral Toxicology and Terotology, 3:211-221 (1981).
- 17. Morrissey, et al., "Stressful Life Events and Alcohol Problems Among Women Seen at a Detoxification Center," Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 39(9):1159 (1978).
- 18. Oro, et al., "Perinatal Cocaine and Methamphetamine Exposure Maternal and Neo-Natal Correlates," J. Pediatrics, 111:571- 578 (1978); D.A. Frank, et al., "Cocaine Use During Pregnancy Prevalence and Correlates," Pediatrics, 82(6):888 (1988); H. Amaro, et al., "Drug Use Among Adolescent Mothers: Profile of Risk," Pediatrics 84:144-150, (1989)
- 19. Speckhard, Psycho-social Stress Following Abortion, Sheed & Ward, Kansas City: MO, 1987; J. Spaulding, et al, "Psychoses Following Therapeutic Abortion, Am. J. of Psychiatry 125(3):364 (1978); R.K. McAll, et al., "Ritual Mourning in Anorexia Nervosa," The Lancet, August 16, 1980, p. 368.
- 20. Benedict, et al., "Maternal Perinatal Risk Factors and Child Abuse," Child Abuse and Neglect, 9:217-224 (1985); P.G. Ney, "Relationship between Abortion and Child Abuse," Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 24:610-620, 1979; Reardon, Aborted Women - Silent No More (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1987), 129-30, describes a case of woman who beat her three year old son to death shortly after an abortion which triggered a "psychotic episode" of grief, guilt, and misplaced anger.
- 21. Shepard, et al., "Contraceptive Practice and Repeat Induced Abortion: An Epidemiological Investigation," J. Biosocial Science, 11:289-302 (1979); M. Bracken, "First and Repeated Abortions: A Study of Decision-Making and Delay," J. Biosocial Science, 7:473-491 (1975); S. Henshaw, "The Characteristics and Prior Contraceptive Use of U.S. Abortion Patients," Family Planning Perspectives, 20(4):158-168 (1988); D. Sherman, et al., "The Abortion Experience in Private Practice," Women and Loss: Psychobiological Perspectives, ed. W.F. Finn, et al., (New York: Praeger Publ. 1985), pp98-107; E.M. Belsey, et al., "Predictive Factors in Emotional Response to Abortion: King's Termination Study - IV," Social Science and Medicine, 11:71- 82 (1977); E. Freeman, et al., "Emotional Distress Patterns Among Women Having First or Repeat Abortions," Obstetrics and Gynecology, 55(5):630-636 (1980); C. Berger, et al., "Repeat Abortion: Is it a Problem?" Family Planning Perspectives 16(2):70-75 (1984).
- 22. Joyce, "The Social and Economic Correlates of Pregnancy Resolution Among Adolescents in New York by Race and Ethnicity: A Multivariate Analysis," Am. J. of Public Health, 78(6):626-631 (1988); C. Tietze, "Repeat Abortions - Why More?" Family Planning Perspectives 10(5):286-288, (1978).
- 23. Leach, "The Repeat Abortion Patient," Family Planning Perspectives, 9(1):37-39 (1977); S. Fischer, "Reflection on Repeated Abortions: The meanings and motivations," Journal of Social Work Practice 2(2):70-87 (1986); B. Howe, et al., "Repeat Abortion, Blaming the Victims," Am. J. of Public Health, 69(12):1242-1246, (1979).
- copyright 1997 Elliot Institute Compiled by David C. Reardon, Ph.D.
Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Ethical adult stem cell research in line with Church teaching IS being conducted! There is no justification for the taking of human life through the destruction of embryos. To date no cures have been found via embryonic stem cell research, rather, it has proven to be a dead-end for both the diseases and conditions researchers purport to be trying to cure with this research in addition to the embryonic life sacrificed in the process. For more information on a moral approach to stem cell research, see below.
The John Paul II Medical Research Institute (JP2MRI) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance research and education on stem research in a manner consistent with a pro-life bioethics. JP2MRI is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. The Institute strictly focuses on adult stem cell and induced pluripotent stem cell research and education. The Institute's goal is to focus on reducing the barriers to translate basic research into clinical research. JP2SRI mission is to coordinate research activities between the Institute, academia and industry and to find treatment solutions for patients with disorders that could potentially benefit from adult and umbilical cord stem cells.
JP2MRI was founded by Dr. Alan Moy. Dr. Moy is a physician-scientist whose previous academic appointment was at the University of Iowa College of Medicine and College of Engineering. He is also the Founder and President of Cellular Engineering Technologies Inc., a biotechnology company located in Iowa, which focuses on preclinical industrial applications in adult and umbilical cord stem cell research. Dr. Moy is currently a practicing physician and holds an Adjunct Associate Professor position in the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa.
The Institute represents an opportunity for pro-life individuals to support ethical-derived stem cell research consistent with pro-life values. JP2MRI DOES NOT conduct human embryonic stem cell research and does not perform therapeutic cloning or somatic cell nuclear transfer.
The majority of donations are directed toward research and education. There is low administrative overhead.
The Give Cures program offers an opportunity to provide support for the JP2 Medical Research Institute. You can learn more at http://jp2mri.org.
AN ETHICAL DILEMMA
Human life at the earliest stage is still a life, valued, loved and created by God. To use and kill a human being for research is a moral evil, but ignored and approved of by many. What is disappointing is the number of groups that support the killing of embryos for research. See list here.
The challenge is daunting when well known and popular groups who raise funding for cancer research also support embryonic stem cell research and many times people who support only ethical research unknowingly donate to those organizations. Even worse is the prospect that patients may one day be faced with the moral dilemma of choosing between a cure and having a clear conscience.
ABORTION/BREAST CANCER LINK
"It is known that having a full-term pregnancy early in a woman's childbearing years is protective against breast cancer....Interruption during the first trimester of a first pregnancy causes a cessation of cell differentiation, which may result in a subsequent increase in the risk of cancerous growth in these tissues." [Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. Web site, "Abortion and Breast Cancer: The Issues" 3 (visited Sep. 5, 1997) http://www.igc.apc.org/ppfa/ab-breas.html]
In our last Rose Review, we offered some websites where you could get information regarding the link between abortion and breast cancer. I hope many of you took the opportunity to become informed about the truth behind what many in the pro-abort community would like to keep secret: that there is indeed a significant link between having had an abortion and developing breast cancer at a young age.
Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, M.D., F.A.C.S., a New Jersey breast cancer surgeon, became suspicious of why her young, thirty-something patients were developing breast cancer. After all, wasn’t this the “grandma disease”? Analysis of her own data showed that 30% of women in their thirties with breast cancer had no family history, but did have an abortion; whereas in her older patients, only 15% had had abortions.
Epidemiologists use six criteria to determine if an association is in fact causal. The six criteria were all met in linking abortion to breast cancer. They are:
- The exposure or risk must precede the disease. (Women who developed breast cancer had previous abortions)
- The preponderance of the studies must show an association. (28 out of 37 studies report an association between abortion and breast cancer)
- The studies must include statistically significant studies. (By 1995, 17 studies worldwide [8 studies included American women] showed a statistically significant link between abortion and breast cancer.)
- There must be a plausible biologic basis. The physiology of the breast provides the best evidence of the link between abortion and breast cancer. If a pregnancy is terminated before the 32nd week, the woman is left with an increased number of Type 1 and 2 lobules, which are the most sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of estrogen.
- There should be a dose effect, meaning the more you are exposed to a risk, the higher the risk. A study by Melbye et al, 1997, showed that for every week you delay an abortion, the risk of breast cancer increases by 3%. His study showed a statistically significant increase risk of breast cancer among women with second trimester abortions.
- There must be a relative risk of over 3.0, or a 200% increased risk. (Teenagers less than 18 years of age who have abortions between nine and twenty-four weeks gestation have an 800% increased risk, or a relative risk of 9.0 according to the National Cancer Institute’s commissioned study, Daling et al, 1994. They found the teenage girl’s risk increased to infinity if she also had a family history of breast cancer. This was because all the women in her study who had a family history of breast cancer and had also had an abortion at age 18 or younger, developed breast cancer by the age of 45.
A simple look at the number of breast cancers worldwide since the easy availability of abortion, shows further proof of the link. According to an article by Dr. Lanfranchi for the USCCB, the incidence of breast cancer in the United States has increased to 40% since the legalization of abortion. In Romania, they enjoyed one of the lowest rates of breast cancer anywhere while abortion was outlawed. Now that abortion is legal there, their breast cancer rate is one of the highest in the world. In the United Kingdom, breast cancer rates parallel abortion rates. And China has seen a 40% increase in breast cancer since implementing the one-child-per-family policy and forced abortions.
This is not to say that every woman who develops breast cancer has had an abortion. There are several risk factors for breast cancer, including age, family history, genetics, having the first child after the age of 30 or never having a child, early menstruation(before age 12), late menopause(after age 50), heavy smoking and/or alcohol use, obesity, and prolonged use of hormone replacement therapy(HRT). One of the first studies to discover the link between HRT and breast cancer, was the Million Woman Study done in Great Britain from 1996 -2001. 1,084,110 women aged 50 to 64 were involved. Within 1.5 years, researchers saw an increase in breast cancer from women who had already been taking HRT. Within 4.5 years they saw a significant increase in breast cancer among women who had begun HRT with the initiation of the study. The study was intended to last for 10 years, but was halted because of the high incidence of breast cancer among the participants. The most significant increase in breast cancer followed the use of oestrogen- progestagen combinations rather than from other types of HRT. This study and others like it have led to a decrease in usage of HRT for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. But what about oral contraceptive use? If an increase in estrogen following an abortion is linked to breast cancer. And increased levels of estrogen in HRT are linked to breast cancer. Doesn’t it make sense that increased levels of estrogen in oral contraceptives, especially the higher doses found in emergency contraceptives such as Plan B, would also increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer? In separate studies published in 2006 in the “New England Journal of Medicine”, the October edition of “Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention”, and the October issue of “Mayo Clinic Proceedings”, the use of oral contraceptives was confirmed as increasing the risk of developing breast cancer. It goes back to the physiology of the breast. Until a woman has her first full-term pregnancy, her breasts are made up of Type 1 and 2 lobules, which are highly sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of estrogen. The more estrogen a woman is exposed to in her lifetime, the higher her risk of developing breast cancer. So, if abortion increases the risk of breast cancer, and oral contraceptives increase the risk of breast cancer, why does Planned Parenthood continue to say they are a business that cares about the health of women? Why do they oppose any legislation that requires women to get the truth?
Please check out the following websites for detailed information:
FACT: Abortions are painful to the child.