Every day in America, somewhere around 2,500 women have an abortion. Tens of millions of American women have had an abortion since 1973—the year that seven non-elected men unilaterally declared it to be a constitutionally-protected act. Over the 20 years that I have vocationally-opposed abortion, I’ve heard many women explain why their particular abortion was necessary. By and large, their rationales can be boiled down to one of two things. Either they didn’t want a baby, or they didn’t think they could handle a baby. Among those women in the second camp, the sentiment expressed below is not uncommon:
I think, maybe once I am working a good job and making enough money, once I can buy a nice house, once I find someone who WANTS to raise a child with me, that will be the right time. I don't regret my decision to get an abortion. It was an incredibly difficult decision, but now I am spending my time building a better future for my future child, so I can give them the life I wouldn't have been able to give to my first child.
This 22-year-old woman, who wrote to Abort73 some months ago, is not alone. She has lots of peers who share the conviction that by aborting their first child, they’ll help secure a better life for their second child. The future, they assume, will find them in a better place—and they might be right. “I am now in school and employed,” a post-abortive woman from New York told us, “and looking forward to when I can have children as a healthy adult in a happy and stable relationship.”
On the one hand, both of these women are demonstrating a measure of wisdom. It makes sense, after all, to wait until you graduate and get married to start having kids. Doing so all but guarantees better outcomes for everyone involved. The problem, of course, is that once you’re pregnant, you already have a kid. The life of your tiny son or daughter has already begun. So while still being in school or not being in a committed relationship are both excellent reasons to not get pregnant, can either one justify the killing of a human child, even if it is exceedingly small and dependent?
For those who are ethically-opposed to abortion, these arguments of expedience are not compelling. They don’t carry any moral weight. It doesn’t matter if abortion will make things better for your second child since it causes the death of your first child. And because we take a principled approach to the issue, we’ve left the first question unanswered—or perhaps taken abortion’s pragmatic advantages for granted. So that’s the question I want to look at now. Does aborting your first child help ensure a better future for your second child? To answer that, I’d like to direct your attention to the book Complications: Abortion’s Impact on Women. Assembled by a team of physicians, researchers, and psychologists, and published by The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research in Canada, it opens with the following disclaimer:
It is evident that the majority of women undergo induced abortion without experiencing any adverse consequences, physical or psychological.
What the book goes on to reveal, however, is that women who have an abortion are significantly more likely to experience adverse physical or psychological consequences than women who give birth—and so are their children. In fact, according to the rapidly-expanding pool of data, women who have had a prior abortion are more likely to experience an ectopic pregnancy, more likely to miscarry, more likely to deliver prematurely, more likely to have a child with autism or cerebral palsy, more likely to give birth to a child who is abused, more likely to be single, more likely to suffer depression and addiction, more likely to suffer partner abuse, more likely to contract an autoimmune disease, more likely to develop breast cancer, and more likely to commit suicide. In other words, aborting your first child may actually make life materially more difficult for you and your future children. If that sounds contrary to what you’ve been led to believe about the purported safety of abortion, consider this caveat, also from Complications:
Given the agreement among these large-scale studies from several countries (regarding the health risks of abortion), why do some North-American researchers continue to assert that abortion is safer than childbirth? One reason is that they confine their attention to the six weeks (42 days) after the termination or birth event.
Abort73 has already devoted a number of pages to the various ways abortion threatens the health of the aborting mother, but we haven’t published anything about the various ways abortion threatens the health of her future children. It’s clearly time we do. Though some aborting women demonstrate no concern for the well-being of future children, others certainly do. And abortion is doing them no favors. Even the best-case scenario in the long list of adverse health outcomes—preterm birth—can be plenty serious. “Preterm or low-birth-weight children,” as Complications points out, “have a much higher incidence of medical disabilities [and] fare worse in the educational system, on the job market, and in finding a life partner.”
The statements below all come from Complications and explain further how abortion makes all sorts of negative health outcomes far more likely than they otherwise would have been:
- Evidence linking ectopic pregnancy to previous induced abortion is overwhelming. One study showed 50.5 per cent of women with ectopic pregnancy had previous induced abortions, while only 6.3 per cent of controls had a previous abortion.
- The necessity to force open the cervix (dilation) during a surgical abortion can weaken the cervix and render it incapable of performing its primary function during pregnancy: holding in the baby. A weakened or “incompetent” cervix will mean a higher rate of miscarriage and premature births.
- It is now settled science that women who have had one or more induced abortions significantly increase their chances of later giving birth to a preterm or low-birth-weight child.
- Although research into the link between induced abortion and the later birth of a child with autism is in its early stages, the results that have been published so far give reason to believe that there may be a correlation between the two... No one disputes that a history of abortion increases the likelihood that a woman will later give birth prematurely. No one disputes that children born extremely prematurely experience a much higher rate of autism than children who are born after the normal 37 weeks’ gestation.
- An important Swedish study demonstrated that if the mother of a premature baby has had any prior induced abortions, her premature baby, on average, has a 60 per cent higher risk of cerebral palsy than a premature baby whose mother has had no previous induced abortions.
- Women who had an abortion history reported more frequent slapping, hitting, kicking or biting, beating, and use of physical punishment compared to women without an abortion history.
- Single women who have an induced abortion are more likely never to marry. Married women who have an abortion experience a much higher rate of divorce than those who do not have abortions... Far from abortion reducing the number of children born to single-parents, since its legalization in the early 1970s there has been a significant rise in the numbers of single-parent families and children born to single mothers.
- Abortion is associated with a heightened risk for mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, and substance use, which in turn may heighten the risk of child maltreatment. “Substance abuse is a particularly strong risk factor as it is implicated in almost half of all substantiated cases of child maltreatment.”
- A study of 700 women in New York State found that the use of illicit drugs was 6.1 times higher among women with a history of induced abortion when compared to women without such a history.
- World Health Organization report found miscarriage to be associated with partner physical and/ or sexual violence, but there was an even stronger association between abuse and induced abortion: “In the majority of settings, ever-pregnant women who had experienced partner physical or sexual violence, or both were significantly more likely to report having had at least one induced abortion than women who had never experienced partner violence.
- Studies to date indicate that if the fetal-maternal transfusion of cells increases a woman’s chances of contracting an autoimmune disease, a history of induced abortion will also increase her chances of contracting an autoimmune disease. This is because microchimerism occurs after induced abortion with much greater frequency than after a normal, completed pregnancy.
- Induced abortion is now a commonly-accepted risk factor for breast cancer—except in North America, where it is denied chiefly for political reasons.
- The high rate of suicide among whom women with a history of induced abortion is documented in at least four major studies.
All that to say, if you find yourself pregnant, but “the timing isn’t right,” know this. Having an abortion doesn’t increase the likelihood that your future children will enjoy a healthier, more-secure life. Statistically, it actually does the reverse. Though most women who have an abortion don’t exhibit adverse health consequences down the line, the proportion of women who do is massively higher than for those who gave birth. You might think that by having an abortion, you’re making it more likely that your future children will be healthy and happy—but it turns out you’re not.
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. You can also find him on Facebook and Google+. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.