Abortion Risks


Though presented as a safe and simple procedure, medical research indicates that abortion causes harm to many women. To make an informed decision, women who are contemplating abortion need to be told about the potential risks associated with the procedure.

     Abortion's aftermath is thoroughly documented in a new book by the DeVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research called Complications: Abortion's Impact on Women.  The book, based on over 650 peer-reviewed studies, covers every risk associated with abortion, including pain, hemorrhage, infection, depression, anxiety, and death.

     There are over 100 physical and psychological complications of abortion.1   As Dr. Warren Hern, one of America’s most prominent abortion doctors, states in the abortion textbook Abortion Practice,  “... There are few surgical procedures given so little attention and so underrated in its potential hazards as abortion.... It is a commonly held view that complications are inevitable.”

     Recent research shows that abortion has no mental health benefits but does have risks.  In its April 2013 issue, the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry published the results of 8 studies of women facing unwanted pregnancies. The studies revealed that abortion "was associated with small to moderate increases in risks of anxiety, alcohol misuse, illicit drug use and suicidal behaviour." Lead author of the study, Dr. David Fergusson, a pro-choice atheist, believes it is "scientifically irresponsible" to hide the evidence of abortion's mental health risks. 

     A 2000 study by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons of over 40,000 post-abortive women revealed that during the 3-month period following an abortion, women were 4 times more likely to be hospitalized for infections, 5 times more likely to require surgical events, and nearly 5 times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric problems than a similar number of women who did not have abortions.

     Physical complications include pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancies, endometritis, infections, bladder injury, bowel injury, hemorrhage, laceration of the cervix, more miscarriages later in life, perforation of the uterus, increased risk for breast cancer, sterility, death. The UK’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has established that the immediate physical complication rate of induced abortion is at least 11%.  Physical Risks Fact Sheet

     Psychological effects of abortion on women include guilt, depression, suicidal thoughts, sense of loss, mourning, regret and remorse, loss of confidence in decision making capability, preoccupation with "would be" due date or birth month, lower self-esteem, despair, nightmares, loss of interest in sex, inability to forgive self.  Subsequent psychiatric admissions are more common among low-income women who have an induced abortion than those who carry a pregnancy to term, both in the short and longer term (2). Psychological Risks Fact Sheet

Further Resources:

• The Elliott Institute is a leading research facility in the United States dedicated to research on the risks posed by induced abortion.  
Summary Paper on the impact of induced abortion on women’s subsequent mental and physical health, The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research

1. D. Reardon, Ph. D., Making Abortion Rare, Acorn Books, 1996.
2. D. Reardon, J. Cougle, V. Rue, M. Shuping, P. Coleman, P. Ney, “Psychiatric admissions of low-income women following abortion and childbirth”  (Canadian Medical Association Journal, May 13, 2003)  vol. 168 no. 10.