Time: Study Links Abortion and Premature Birth

Time Magazine reports today that the largest study of the link between abortion and premature birth and low birth rate reveals that abortion does indeed increase risk. Abortions increase the rish of risk of low birth rate by a factor of three, and of premature birth by a factor of two.

Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (JECH), the study shows the strongest link yet between premature birth and low birth weight, which are both major risk factors for infant death or sickness.

Over 45,000 single-child live births from 1959 to 1966 were studied, evaluating an array of confounding variables, including race, age, weight, height, marital status, occupation, the number of prenatal visits, the number of previous children, smoking and drinking habits, drug habits, infant gender and both parents’ education levels. 

The study also found that the risk of premature birth and low birth weight appears to increase with every subsequent miscarriage or abortion. This accruing risk suggests that termination of pregnancy is a true cause of low birth weight and preterm birth rather than a variable associated with such conditions, according to co-author Tilahun Adera at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). “It’s not just an association,” he says. “The risk of premature birth increases with the increasing number of abortions.” 

The data showed that women who had had one, two, or three prior abortions or miscarriages were three, five, and nine times more likely to have a low-birth-weight child.  Doctors have theorized that the cervix may be weakened by miscarriage or abortion, increasing the risk of preterm birth later on. It could also be that uterine adhesions or infections from the miscarriage or abortion slow the growth of the fetus in future pregnancies.

Adera concludes that women “need to be informed about these risks.”

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