13-year Population Study in Published in Top OB/Gyn Journal
Springfield, IL (March 5, 2004) — A study of pregnancy-associated deaths published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has found that the mortality rate associated with abortion is 2.95 times higher than that associated with pregnancies carried to term. The study included the entire population of women 15 to 49 years of age in Finland between 1987 and 2000. The researchers linked birth and abortion records to death certificates.
The annual death rate of women who had abortion in the previous year was also 46% higher than that of non-pregnant women. Women who carried to term had a significantly lower death rate than non-pregnant women. Non-pregnant women had 57.0 deaths per 100,000, compared to 28.2 for women who carried to term, 51.9 for women who miscarried, and 83.1 for women who had abortions. The authors, led by Mika Gissler of Finland’s National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health, concluded that pregnancy contributes to a healthy effect on women.
The study also revealed the difficulties involved in identifying direct and indirect effects of pregnancy on subsequent deaths. An examination of deaths from natural causes that were identified as “not pregnancy related” revealed that women who had abortions were significantly more likely (1.7 times) to die from natural causes that were not attributed to pregnancy on the death certificates. They were also 6.3 times more likely to die from violent causes.
This is the second record-based study to be published in the last eighteen months to show that the death rates following abortion are significantly higher than those associated with birth. The other study, published in the a Southern Medical Journal, linked death records to Medi-Cal payments for births and abortions for approximately 173,000 low income Californian women. In that study, the researchers discovered that 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 eight years.
An unexpected finding in both the Finnish and the American studies was an elevated risk of death from cardiovascular diseases. This finding was most dramatic in the American study which examined longer term effects. It found that compared to women who delivered, those who had abortions were significantly nearly three times more likely to die of circulatory disease and five times more likely to die from cerebrovascular disease during the subsequent eight year period. Researchers believe that higher levels of depression and anxiety following abortion may explain this result.
Gissler M, Berg C, Bouvier-Colle MH, Buekens P. Pregnancy-associated mortality after birth, spontaneous abortion or induced abortion in Finland, 1987-2000. Am J Ob Gyn 2004; 190:422-427.
Reardon DC, Ney PG, Scheuren F, Cougle J, Coleman PK, Strahan TW. Deaths associated with pregnancy outcome: a record linkage study of low income women. South Med J 2002 Aug;95(8):834-41.