Finnish Researchers: Induced Abortions Increase Risk of Preterm Birth

Researchers in Finland have published a new study that indicates that there is a link between the abortion procedure and an increased risk of preterm birth.

Authored by members of the National Institute for Health and Welfare and the Academy of Finland, the findings were published online in the Oxford journal Human Reproduction last week. According to a nationwide register-based research, R. Klemetti et al. found that pregnant women who had one "induced abortion" (IA) had a 19 percent increased risk of having a "very preterm birth," or a delivery before 28 weeks gestation, in subsequent pregnancies.

Women who had two IAs were found to have a 69 percent increased risk and women who had three IAs were found to have a 278 percent increase.

"In terms of public health and practical implications, health education should contain information of the potential health hazards of repeat IAs, including very preterm birth and low birthweight in subsequent pregnancies," reads the online article abstract.

"Health care professionals should be informed about the potential risks of repeat IAs on infant outcomes in subsequent pregnancy."

Clarke Forsythe, senior counsel at Americans United for Life, told The Christian Post that this study was important for it added to many other studies that had similar results.

"I think this new study is important, not because it alone will shift the debate, but because it adds to a growing body of data," said Forsythe. "I think it is important because educating the public, and doctors and women on the risks of abortion is critically important."

Reija Klemetti, lead researcher for the study, explained in a statement that despite the findings the researchers maintained that the danger was still not high.

"The risk is low ... and abortion is a safe surgical procedure. But having more than two can have consequences, and this information should be included in sexual education programs," said Klemetti.

Klemetti also explained to NPR that while the research seems to link preterm birth and the abortion procedure, correlation is not necessarily equal causation.

"No matter how large and well-controlled, it only shows there is a link between abortion and some adverse birth outcomes ... It cannot prove that abortions are the cause," said Klemetti.

According to Forsythe of AUL, there are over 130 studies from the 1960s to the present that have shown a link between preterm birth and abortion.

Among the publications where these studies can be found include Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, Indian Journal of Pediatrics, and Maternal Child Health.

With the addition of this latest study to the list, Forsythe told CP that he believed the body of evidence weighs against the rationale that was behind the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.

"Because the risks address both the Supreme Court's rationale for abortion (that women have come to rely on abortion as a backup to failed contraception) and the myth in public opinion that legal abortion is a 'necessary evil,'" said Forsythe.

The register-based study had a sample space of 300,858 "first time mothers" from 1996 to 2008 in Finland.

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