Is Abortion Safe?
The argument used by many advocates of abortion -- that abortion is safer than childbirth -- is difficult to defend in light of medical evidence to the contrary. The Abortion Surveillance Branch of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
maintains that induced abortion is safer than childbirth  and that the serious complication rate is less than one percent. 
Yet there is no agreement among investigators as to what constitutes a major complication and no real national system for the reporting these kind of statistics,  making the accuracy of such assertions questionable. Furthermore, the
experiences of private physicians and gynecologists do not seem to support the validity of the CDC’s claim. 
Daniel J. Martin, M.D., Ltd., clinical instructor at St. Louis University Medical School, St. Louis, Missouri, has said, "The impact of abortion on the body of a woman who chooses abortion is great and always negative. I can think of no
beneficial effect of a social abortion on a body." 
Why is this so? Because induced abortion is the premature, willful, and violent penetration of a closed and safeguarded system -- a system in which nearly every cell, tissue and organ of a woman’s reproductive system has been specially
transformed and activated to carry out the function of sustaining and nourishing the developing child. Not surprisingly, any violation of the integrity of that system can lead to serious complications. Physical problems range from hemorrhage
and infection to sterility and even death. Psychological effects range from depression and mental trauma to divorce and even suicide.
NancyJo Mann is one of many who has experienced both kinds of complications. Infection and bleeding followed her abortion which eventually led to a hysterectomy. Recalling her experience, she said, "Beforehand, I liked myself. I had never
entertained the idea of abortion. But the minute that needle went through my abdomen, I hated it, because I knew it could not be reversed. I wanted to scream, ‘Don’t do this to me!’" 
[In most of the discussions below, the abortions referred to are surgical abortions. Chemical methods being relatively new and rare, most studies over the past twenty or so years usually tracked only complications for surgical
methods. Complication rates for chemical techniques may be somewhat different; for example, while there is little risk of perforation and laceration with a chemical method, pain and bleeding will probably exceed that of surgical methods.
Chemical methods also bring unique risks of their own (see pp. 9-12, 23).]
Despite the use of local anesthesia, a full 97% of women having abortions reported experiencing pain during the procedure,  which more than a third described as "intense,"  "severe" or "very severe."  Compared to other pains,
researchers have rated the pain from abortion as more painful than a bone fracture, about the same as cancer pain, though not as painful as an amputation. 
Studies also reveal that younger women tend to find abortion more painful than do older adults,  and that patients typically found abortion more painful than their doctors or counselors expected.  The use of more powerful general
anesthetics can reduce the pain, but significantly increases the risk of cervical injury or uterine perforation. 
Complications such as these are common, as are bleeding, hemorrhage, laceration of the cervix,  menstrual disturbance,  inflammation of the reproductive organs,  bladder or bowel perforation,  and serious infection. 
Even more harmful long term physical complications from abortion may surface later. For example, overzealous curettage can damage the lining of the uterus and lead to permanent infertility.  Overall, women who have abortions face an
increased risk of ectopic (tubal) pregnancy  and a more than doubled risk of future sterility.  Perhaps most important of all, the risk of these sorts of complications, along with risks of future miscarriage, increase with each
subsequent abortion. 
The particular type and severity of complications depend a great deal on the experience of the abortionist and the particular abortion method used. Given that most abortions are performed at abortion clinics rather than by a woman’s regular
ob-gyn,  the doctor performing the abortion is likely to be a stranger of whose skill and experience a woman knows very little.  Such things as an inadequate gynecologic examination prior to the operation, the carelessness of the
abortionist, or the retention of fetal and placental tissue can all bring on complications. These kinds of complications can usually be treated and generally subside (though not always),  but few women ever return to the clinics for
crucial post-operative examinations. 
There is strong evidence that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. A study of more than 1,800 women appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1994 found that overall, women having abortions increased their risk
of getting breast cancer before age 45 by 50%. For women under 18 with no previous pregnancies, having an abortion after the 8th week increased the risk of breast cancer 800%. Women with a family history of breast cancer fared even worse.
All 12 women participating in the study who had abortions before 18 and had a family history of breast cancer themselves got cancer before age 45. 
Of course, death of the mother is the most serious of all complications. Over 200 women have died from legal abortions since 1973.  The risk of death increases according to the duration of pregnancy  and the complexity of the
abortion technique employed. 
Clinical research provides a growing body of scientific evidence that having an abortion can cause psychological harm to some women. "Women who report negative after-effects from abortion know exactly what their problem is," observed
psychologist Wanda Franz, Ph.D., in a March 1989 congressional hearing on the impact of abortion. "They report horrible nightmares of children calling them from trash cans, of body parts, and blood," Franz told the Congressional panel.
"When they are reminded of the abortion," Franz testified, "the women re-experienced it with terrible psychological pain ... They feel worthless and victimized because they failed at the most natural of human activities -- the role of being
The emergence of chemical abortion methods poses a new possibly more devastating psychological threat. Unlike surgical abortions, in which women rarely see the cut up body parts, women having chemical abortions often do see the complete
tiny bodies of their unborn children and are even able to distinguish the child’s developing hands, eyes, etc.  So traumatic is this for some women that both patients and researchers involved in these studies have recommended that
women unprepared for the experience of seeing their aborted children not take the drugs.  Long-term psychological implications of this experience have not been studied.
Researchers on the after-effects of abortion have identified a pattern of psychological problems known as Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS). Women suffering PAS may experience drug and alcohol abuse, personal relationship disorders, sexual
dysfunction, repeated abortions, communications difficulties, damaged self-esteem, and even attempt suicide. Post-Abortion Syndrome appears to be a type of pattern of denial which may last for five to ten years before emotional difficulties
Now that some clinicians have established that there is an identifiable patterns to PAS, they face a new challenge. What is still unknown is how widespread psychological problems are among women who have had abortions. A Los Angeles Times
survey in 1989 found that 56% of women who had abortions felt guilty about it, and 26% "mostly regretted the abortion." Clinicians’ current goal should be to conduct extensive national research studies to obtain data on the
psychological after-effects of abortion.
With the growing awareness of Post Abortion Syndrome in scholarly and clinical circles, women with PAS can expect to receive a more sensitive appreciation of the suffering that they endure. Fortunately, a growing network of peer support
groups of women who have had abortions offers assistance to women who are experiencing emotional difficulties.
Many post-abortive women have also been speaking out publicly
about their own abortion experiences and the healing process
they went through.. Women or family members seeking information
about this particular outreach can contact American Victims of
Abortion, 212 10th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 20004.