Abortion Risks

Significant risk factors (like breast cancer) have been associated with abortion.

Bank robbery is a dangerous business. Many are injured or killed in such attempts each year. Of course, it is not the hazards of bank robbery that make it unlawful. Rather, it is the harm (physical or financial) that it does to other people. It’s the same with abortion. The primary opposition to abortion is not rooted in its potential danger to women (and it can be dangerous). The main opposition comes from the fact that abortion kills a living human being. The safety of a particular activity does not make it right or wrong. The impact it has on other people does.

With that said, there are two reasons why it is still important to lay out the medical risks of abortion. There may be many women (and men) who don’t care about the violence that abortion does to a baby, but there will be far fewer who don’t care about the violence that abortion might do to their body. A greater understanding of the medical risks will dissuade them. Secondly, the abortion industry’s refusal to adequately inform women of the potential risks of abortion is further proof that they care more about money and politics than they do about a woman’s health. If they didn’t have a vested interest in her “choice”why would they lobby so hard against disclosing all of the potential risks?

To get a better understanding of the severity of the abortion procedure, consider the following testimony from Abortion Practice, written by Dr. Warren Hern, a leading late-term abortionist.

A high level of operator skill is at least as important in abortion as it is in any surgical endeavour. Abortion is a blind procedure that proceeds by touch, awareness of the nuances of sensations provided by instruments, honesty, and caution…abortion, almost more than any other operation, demands experience to develop skill…Well trained, highly experienced, and reputable gynaecologists found, to their dismay, that when abortions became legal and they began performing them, the complication rates were frequently quite high. Certain competence in other aspects of pelvic surgery does not in itself assure competence in abortion.

Dr. Hern quotes in the same section from Dr. William Rashbaum who doesn’t consider that he became “competent” as an abortionist until performing “somewhere around 12,000 procedures”.

In an April 9, 1995 article, Dr. Hern tells the New York Times, “As a society, I think we’ve been in denial about the risks of abortion both because of ideology, and because of economics. There are a lot of respectable doctors doing a lousy job.” Dr. Hern admits that even with the best care, 5 to 10 percent of first trimester abortions are incomplete, leaving behind tissue or even the entire foetal sac.

As such, uterine damage, complications in future pregnancy, breast cancer, and death are all risk factors associated with legal abortion.

A wide range of peer-reviewed, medical studies have indicated that a woman who aborts her first pregnancy during the first-trimester is at least 30% more likely to contract breast cancer by the time she is 40 than had she carried her pregnancy to term.1 Since breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women today, one which kills 40,000 women annually, the connection between abortion and breast cancer should not be ignored.


The August 1989 edition of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology contains an article entitled, “The frequency and management of uterine perforations during first-trimester abortions”. In this laparoscopic study, three noted abortionists concede that uterine perforations from routine first trimester abortions happen seven times more often than previously thought. After performing early suction abortions on 708 women, the authors inserted the laparoscope through the abdominal wall to observe the female organs. The camera picked up what often goes unnoticed, and the three abortionists conclude: “most uterine perforations go unrecognised and untreated.” Perforations of the uterus are dangerous not only because they may provoke life-threatening internal bleeding, but because they are capable of leaving scar tissue in the womb that my “blow out” during a subsequent pregnancy. Though hard numbers are hard to come by, the article estimates that approximately 2% of all first-trimester abortions result in a perforated uterus.


The November 15, 1984 edition of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology contains an article entitled, “Postabortal pelvic infection associated with Chlamydia trachomatis and the influence of humeral immunity”. The article notes that, “pelvic infection is a common and serious complication of induced abortion and has been reported in up to 30% of all cases.” The following risks are associated with such a condition: “future infertility, chronic abdominal pain, or ectopic pregnancy”.

The April 20, 1984 edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly reports that between 1970 and 1981, the time period in which abortion was legalized, the frequency of ectopic pregnancies increased by 300%.

The May 15, 1983 edition of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology contains an article entitled, “The relationship between induced abortion and outcome of subsequent pregnancies”. The article contains the following conclusion: “Complications such as bleeding in the first and third trimesters, abnormal presentations and premature rupture of the membranes, abruptio placentae, foetal distress, low birth weight, short gestation, and major malformations occurred more often among women with a history of two or more induced abortions.” The article also identified a “twofold to threefold increased risk of spontaneous abortion for women with two or more previous induced abortions”.


The October 29, 1994 edition of the Los Angeles Times reports in an article entitled, “Induced Abortion Hikes Breast Cancer Risk, Study Says”, that, “an induced abortion raises a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer by age 45 at least 50%, and by three times that if she is under 18 when the abortion occurs, according to a large new study by Seattle epidemiologists” The article further notes that, “the risk was higher still if the pregnancy had proceeded beyond eight weeks or if the women had a family history of breast cancer. Women who were over 30 at the time of an abortion had a 110% increase in risk.”

Breast cancer has risen to epidemic proportions in South Africa. According to the Sandton Oncology Centre, breast cancer has in recent years become “the most common cancer in women.”2The exact cause of breast cancer is still unknown but induced abortion could very well be the most avoidable of all breast cancer risks. Other risks include: early age of menarche, late age at menopause, not having children, having the first child late in life, socio-economic status and consumption of dietary fats.

Despite a huge body of mounting evidence, the abortion industry continues to work hard to discredit all the evidence which links abortion to breast cancer. For a thorough examination of the evidence and the cover-up, visit The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer.


As proof of Dr. Hern’s assertion that many of his fellow abortionists are doing shoddy and unsafe work, consider the following excerpts from a Los Angeles Daily News article about Dr. Leo F. Kenneally.

The state medical board reversed itself this week and revoked the license of a Canyon Country doctor accused of gross negligence in the deaths of two women seeking abortions at family clinics he ran in Pacoima and near down-town Los Angeles.

Kenneally, whom medical board documents said ‘likely…performs more abortions than any other solo provider in the state,’ was accused of gross negligence and incompetence in the handling of two cases in 1986 and 1987 that led to the deaths of young women seeking to terminate pregnancies. The board also upheld complaints filed by five other former Kenneally patients, including two women who were injured during abortions so badly they had to undergo hysterectomies.

The court decision further stated that Kenneally’s “complication rates do not appear to be above average”. Life Dynamics maintains an online exhibit called the Blackmun Wall which provides the tragic details of 347 different women who have died from a “safe and legal” abortion. Life Dynamics notes that these women only represent “the tip of the iceberg when it comes to abortion deaths.” Their research “clearly indicates that, for a variety of reasons, the overwhelming majority of abortion-related deaths remain undiscovered.”

Nowhere is that more true than in South Africa. In 1999, the Beeld reported on the death of a woman caused by an abortion in a Marie Stopes clinic in Nelspruit.3 When questioned, national director Paul Cornelissen replied, “Almost every day women bleed in our clinics”4 Marie Stopes clinics claim that “there is very little risk associated with early abortion and no evidence at all that a straightforward abortion has any effect on future fertility or any other aspect of general health.”5 Yet Dr Albu van Eeden, chairman of Doctors for Life, contradicts their claims: “Studies show that 20-30% of suction abortions performed in hospitals have long-term physical side-effects affecting fertility and reproduction, even if performed by qualified staff.”6

While risk factors themselves do not make abortion unjust or immoral, when added to all the other evidence, they make the case against abortion that much stronger.

  1. Induced Abortion as Independent Risk Factor for Breast Cancer: A Comprehensive Review and Meta-Analysis, Brind, J.L., Chinchilli, V.M., Severs, W., & Summy-Long, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Volume 50, pp. 481-496
  2. http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/19/suppl_1/125.full
  3. http://www.pregnancyassist.co.za/Marie_%20Stopes.html
  4. http://www.cft.org.za/news/1999/30-8-1999.html

Adapted from Abort73.com. Used with permission.