8 Reasons Why Abortion is Bad for Women
by Georgette Forney
Co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign
President of Anglicans for Life
Women from the National Organization of Women scoffed at me as I held my homemade sign that said “I Regret Choosing Abortion.” As I walked away I thought of all the people who had contacted me, seeking help for the pain, shame and guilt they felt for having abortions.
That’s when the seed for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign was planted. Since that day, Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life have worked to raise awareness about the devastating effect abortion has on women and men. We want to expose the secrecy and silence surrounding abortion and heal the pain. I’ve learned that personal experience outweighs theories discussed by policy makers and judges. I’ve also identified the top 8 reasons why abortion is harmful to women.
1. Abortion is bad for women because personal experience shows it creates more problems than it solves. After an abortion many women find themselves dealing with increased use of drugs and/or alcohol to deaden their pain, reoccurring insomnia and nightmares, eating disorders, suicidal feelings, and many even attempt suicide. Difficulty in maintaining or developing relationships. Loneliness, isolation, anger, fears of the unknown, indecisive and a sense of self-hatred. Since 2001, 15 studies focused on the psychological affects of abortion have been done. These studies underscore the fact that evidence-based medicine does not support the conjecture that abortion will protect women from ‘serious danger’ to their mental health. It indicates the opposite!
a. For instance, Kathy had a saline abortion. A saline solution was injected into her fetus’s body, poisoning him to death. Kathy never grieved her abortion, and when she had children she began to experience intrusive thoughts about poisoning them. Very gentle and soft-spoken, Kathy was terrified. She sought counseling, and identified the root: her saline abortion. Her mourning over her abortion had mutated into these intrusive thoughts as a way to re-live her emotional experience. They stopped once she admitted her pain, and grieved her abortion.[i] Though most women who have abortions do not act upon these intrusive thoughts, their torment affects their mental health and their relationship with the living children.
b. Consider Cathie, she said, “I was 14 yrs old when I was coerced into having an abortion, the doctor lied to me at Planned Parenthood and told me my 2nd trimester baby was just a mass of flesh floating around my womb and they were going to stick a vacuum up me and suck the baby out! The doctors should also have to tell the patient the method used in the abortion from start to finish. They did not tell me that my baby would feel pain, or that the baby would first be cut up into pieces before the doctor sucks it out. I found this out after the abortion from looking at an abortion booth at the fair. I could not look at myself in the mirror. I had self-loathing after this knowledge. I was addicted to heroin, alcohol and other drugs for the past 30 years. Trying to mask what I had done to my baby. I am clean and sober now, but my life has been hell since that awful abortion ruined my entire life. I cannot have children; I had to have my fallopian tubes removed because of infections caused from the abortion.”
2. Abortion is bad for women because it creates physical problems. Abortion advocates frequently assert that carrying an unintended pregnancy to term is more harmful to women than abortion. But all the research and women’s personal experience says something else.
a. In the US, over 140,000 women a year have immediate medical complications from abortion.[ii] This includes problems such as: infection, uterine perforation, hemorrhaging, cervical trauma, and failed abortion/ongoing pregnancy.[iii] Consider that in 1998, Denise Doe (not her real name) left a Louisiana clinic with a 2-inch gash across her cervix and an infection so severe it sent her into a coma for 14 days. For the next six months, she could not even use the bathroom—she had to rely on a colostomy bag. An emergency hysterectomy at a nearby hospital ultimately saved her life. And in 2000, a woman in Bucks County, PA went home from clinic in pain—called back because painful bleeding and the doctor never responded. She went to the ER and had surgery to remove the fetus from the fallopian tube.
b. Long-term health risks include an increased risk of cervical and ovarian cancer.[iv] And a 30% increased chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer.[v] Abortion can also lead to infertility due to hysterectomies, pelvis inflammatory disease and miscarriage. Finally, abortion can lead to complications in future pregnancies including: premature birth, placenta previa, and ectopic pregnancy.[vi]
3. Abortion is bad for women because we are still dying from it. Death from abortion also proves that it is not safer than childbirth.
a. Women are also still dying from the abortion procedure itself. In February 2002, 25 year-old Diana Lopez died at a Los Angeles clinic because the staff failed to follow established protocols before and after the abortion. If they had followed protocols, they would have realized she was not a good candidate for abortion because of blood pressure problems, and afterwards when her uterus was punctured during the abortion they should have called for an ambulance. And In January 2004, a 15 year old girl died in Southfield MI from “uterine infarction with sepsis due to a second trimester abortion.” The Coroner, Dr. Hlavaty told Ann Norton, who is also a nurse, that the “girl’s death was normal.” The doctor explained: “I rule it normal because these complications are expected with this type of abortion.”
b. Women with abortion history have increased risk of dying from a variety of causes after abortion. A study done in Finland shows that 94% of maternal deaths associated with abortion are not identifiable from death certificates alone. Proper tracking of pregnancy associated deaths requires linking the death certificates to the deceased women’s medical records. Therefore with proper identification of pregnancy history, the research revealed that the death rate associated with abortion is actually three times higher than that of childbirth. The study was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Another study of 173,000 women’s health records in California, women who had abortions were almost twice as likely to die in the following two years and that the elevated mortality rate of aborting women persisted over at least 8 years. This study was published in the Southern Medical Journal.
4. Abortion is bad for women because it opens the door for subtle pressure and coercion by family, friends, employers, institutions of learning, sexual predators and the culture.
a. Jennifer O’Neill, the celebrity spokeswoman for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, and well-known actress, who starred in the movie “Summer of ’42,” was forced by her fiancé to abort the baby she wanted. He told her that he would sue for custody of her older daughter if she didn’t abort their child.
b. In some cases, parents threaten to kick the girl out of the home, boyfriends and husbands threaten to leave, or women are told by well-meaning friends that having a baby will ruin their lives and they simply have to have an abortion. For a woman who is already facing a crisis situation, this kind of manipulation, intimidation and pressure is subtle coercion; it can be the final push towards making a decision that she would not have chosen if someone had offered her support in her pregnancy. One Elliot Institute survey found that more than half of women suffering from post-abortion trauma said they were pressured to abort. Their experiences are haunting: “A homeless woman was denied shelter until she submitted to an unwanted abortion . . . a teen was ridiculed by a school counselor and bussed to the abortion clinic . . . a daughter was pushed into an abortion clinic at gunpoint by her mother . . . a girlfriend was injected with an abortifacient outside a parking garage . . . a 13-year-old was returned to her molester after her abortion . . . three sisters were raped repeatedly by their father and forced into abortions for nearly a decade . . . a wife miscarried after her husband jumped on her stomach to force an abortion . . . a waitress was fired after refusing to have an abortion. Many of these women say they would have carried to term if they had been given support by someone close to them.
5. Abortion is bad for women because it negatively affects future relationships.
a. When we have abortions, we struggle with issues of trust afterwards. Especially when those around us pressure us. How can someone love us and then make us go through this painful, violent procedure. I struggled to trust my husband for years.
b. It affects how we relate to children we have in the future. Sometimes we can’t bond with them or we over protect them. I was an over-protector.
c. Abortion is a secret we’ve kept from spouses, children, or parents; if we do want to seek healing, we must tell them. Telling others creates another set of problems and concerns. For instance explaining to my 8 year old that I aborted a baby when I was 16 was the most awful thing I ever had to do.
6. Abortion is bad for women because it has become a band-aid that allows society to abandon women.
a. Our culture has come to depend upon abortion so that individuals and churches don’t have to get involved in caring for today’s widows and orphans. It also frees many men from taking responsibility for their sexual promiscuity.
b. Abortion stops being one choice among many and becomes the only choice because all the emotional and financial support dries up. Friends default to endorsing abortion so they don’t have to be bothered. Pregnancy support should be emphasized instead of handing a girl $300 and telling her to take care of her problem.
7. Abortion is bad for women because it is a form of racism against poor and ethnic women –
8. Abortion is bad for women because it has led to increase violence against pregnant women. According to one study of battered women, the target of battery during their pregnancies shifted from their face and breasts to their pregnant abdomens, which suggests hostility toward the women’s fertility. Women are literally being killed for refusing to abort. The leading cause of death during pregnancy is homicide. In one study of violent deaths among pregnant women, three out of every four were killed during their first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
a. Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood) said in 1922, “All our problems are the result of over breeding among the working classes.” [the IFPA is a member of the IPPF (International Planned Parenthood Federation)] Today Planned Parenthood identifies its core clients as young women, low-income women and women of color. Black and Hispanic women represent only a quarter of American women of child-bearing age, yet account for more than half of all abortions in the US. Alveda King, Niece of MLK quotes her uncle who said’ “The negro cannot win as long as he is willing to sacrifice the lives of his children for comfort and safety. Today Alveda asks, “How can the ‘Dream’ survive if we murder our children?”
b. Legalized abortion doesn’t help poor women, after their abortion they are still poor.
These eight reasons are why thousands of women are joining the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and being SILENT NO MORE! The Campaign has three goals:
Educate the public that abortion is harmful emotionally, physically and spiritually with lasting consequences.
Reach out to those hurting after their abortion and let them know help is available.
Invite those who are ready to share their stories to join us in being silent no more.
We accomplish our goals by
- Holdings Gatherings out in public places where people share their abortion stories. People also share at churches and one-on-one. They write articles, op-eds and letters to editors.
- The Campaign Celebrity Spokesperson Jennifer O’Neill (Actress, Model and Author) and Dr. Alveda King (niece of Dr. Martin Luther King) frequently appear on television and radio shows and speak before thousands of people sharing the negative impact of abortion in their lives.
- Campaign Billboards, commercials and products that promote the Campaign message such as bumper stickers, pins, mugs and t-shirts.
The voices of experience need to be heard so others can learn about the help available. We want people who think abortion is a good solution for an unplanned pregnancy to understand the real long-term consequences their friend or loved one is likely to face in the future.
In closing – while abortion is a woman’s right, the evidence proves its wrong. It’s a bad choice, We need to really help women by:
- Giving them real choices.
- Providing help to those hurting from abortion
- Changing the culture so women don’t have to choose between school, job, and other kids.
- Working together, we can make a difference in many lives!
This is based on a complication rate of 11% and assuming the yearly abortion rate is 1.3 million US women a year. Most abortion advocates claim the complication rate is only 1%, but this is inaccurate when the data is analyzed. According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in the UK, the immediate physical complication rate from abortions is at least 11%, primarily infections that can lead to a host of other problems including pain and infertility. The UK statistics have been recently published in January of 2001. See: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (UK). The care of women requesting induced abortion: 4. Information for women. 2000. You can quickly find the data at: www.rcog.org.uk/guidelines.asp?PageID=108&GuidelinesID=31 On the web page click on Induced Abortion—Care of Women.*This number is probaby greater because complications are underreported, but due to the magnitude of abortions in the US many women suffer.
These are included in the web site for n. 2, but for an extended list of research studies documenting these health risks and many others, please see Detrimental Effects of Abortion: An Annotated Bibliography With Commentary Ed. Thomas W. Strahan, published by Acorn Books, Springfield IL, © 2001.
La Vecchia C, Negri E, Franceschi S, Parazzini F. Long-term impact of reproductive factors on cancer risk, International Journal of Cancer 1993 January 21;53(2):215-9, p. 217.
Albrektsen G, Heuch I, Tretli S, Kvale G. Is the risk of cancer of the corpus uteri reduced by a recent pregnancy? A prospective study of 765,756 Norwegian women. International Journal of Cancer 1995 May 16;61(4):485-90, p.485.*
Kvale G, Heuch I. Is the incidence of colorectal cancer related to reproduction? A prospective study of 63,000 women. International Journal of Cancer 1991 February 1;47(3):390-5, p. 392.*
Brind J, Chinchilli VM, Severs WB, Summy-Long J. Induced abortion as an independent risk factor for breast cancer: a comprehensive review and meta-analysis. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 1996 Oct; 50(5):481-496. *
It is important to note that abortion advocates completely deny these findings, this includes many researchers in the U.S. medical community. But a careful study of international literature indicates a strong correlation between abortion and breast cancer. Much like tobacco companies in the past have simply denied that cigarettes endanger the health of their customers, abortion advocates simply deny any research that indicates that abortion is harmful to women’s health and increases their risk for breast cancer.
Barrett JM, Boehm FH, Killam AP. Induced abortion: a risk factor for placenta previa. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1981 December 1;141(7):769-72.*
Rose GL, Chapman MG. Aetiological factors in placenta praevia—a case controlled study. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1986 June;93(6):586-8.*
Taylor VM, Kramer MD, Vaughan TL, Peacock S. Placenta previa in relation to induced and spontaneous abortion: a population-based study. Obstetrics and Gynecology 1993 July;82(10:88-91; p. 91.*
Michalas S, Minaretzis D, Tsionou C, Maos G, Kioses E, Aravantinos D. Pelvic surgery, reproductive factors and risk of ectopic pregnancy: A case controlled study. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 1992 June;38(2):101-5, pp.101, 103.*
Luke B. Every Pregnant Woman’s Guide to Preventing Premature Birth. 1995 [foreword by Emile Papiernik], New York: Times Books; p.32.*