(This information provided courtesy of OptionLine)
Abortion carries the risk of significant complications such as bleeding, infection, and damage to organs. Serious medical complications occur infrequently in early abortions, but increase with later abortions. 16, 17 Getting complete information on the risks associated with abortion is limited due to incomplete reporting and the lack of record-keeping linking abortions to complications. The information that is available reports the following risks.
Some bleeding after abortion is normal. However, if the cervix is torn or the uterus is punctured, there is a risk of severe bleeding known as hemorrhaging. 18, 19, 20 When this happens, a blood transfusion may be required. Severe bleeding is also a risk with the use of the abortion pill: one in 100 women require surgery to stop the bleeding.21
Infection can develop from the insertion of medical instruments into the uterus, or from fetal body parts that are mistakenly left inside (known as an incomplete abortion). This may cause bleeding and a pelvic infection requiring antibiotics and a repeat abortion to fully empty the uterus.22, 23 Infection may cause scarring of the pelvic organs.24, 25 Use of the abortion pill has resulted in the death of a number of women due to sepsis (total body infection).26, 27
The cervix and/or uterus may be cut, torn, or damaged by abortion instruments. This may cause excessive bleeding requiring surgical repair.28 Curettes and other abortion instruments may cause permanent scarring of the uterine lining.29 The risk of these types of complications increases with the length of the pregnancy. If complications occur, major surgery may be required, including removal of the uterus (known as a hysterectomy).30 If the uterus is punctured or torn, there is also a risk that damage may occur to nearby organs such as the bowel and bladder.31
In extreme cases, complications from abortion (excessive bleeding, infection, organ damage from a perforated uterus, and adverse reactions to anesthesia) may lead to death.32, 33 This complication is rare.
Finding out the real risks of abortion can be difficult. Women should be given comprehensive information before going through a procedure or taking a medicine that could have lifelong effects on health. Doctors should obtain informed consent before doing a medical procedure. Consider the following as you make your decision:
Women who undergo one or more induced abortions carry a significantly increased risk of delivering prematurely in the future. Premature delivery is associated with higher rates of cerebral palsy, as well as other complications of prematurity (brain, respiratory, bowel, and eye problems).34, 35, 36, 37
Medical experts continue to debate the association between abortion and breast cancer. Did you know that carrying a pregnancy to full term gives a measure of protection against breast cancer? Terminating a pregnancy results in loss of that protection.38, 39
Despite the controversy around this issue, it is important for women to know what some experts say: a number of reliable studies have demonstrated connection between abortion and later development of breast cancer.40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45
For more information regarding this potential risk, contact Option Line.
Following abortion, many women experience initial relief. The perceived crisis is over and life returns to normal. For many women, however, the crisis isn’t over. Months and even years later, significant problems develop. There is evidence that abortion is associated with a decrease in both emotional and physical health, long term.46 Many studies have shown abortion to be connected to:
Women who have experienced abortion may develop the following symptoms:
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, pregnancy help centers offers confidential, compassionate support groups designed to help women work through these feelings. You are not alone.
People have different understandings of God. Whatever your present beliefs may be, there is a spiritual side to abortion that deserves to be considered. Option Line’s caring consultants are available to talk with you about any concerns you may have.
Note: Option Line and their network of participating pregnancy help centers offers peer counseling and accurate information about all pregnancy options; however, these centers do not offer or refer for abortion services. The information presented on this website is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.