Abortion Risks

Complications of spontaneous miscarriages and therapeutic abortions include the following:

  • Problems of anesthesia
  • Post-abortion triad (i.e., pain, bleeding, low-grade fever)
  • Retained blood after abortion causing a repeat abortion procedure 13
  • Retained products of conception
  • Bowel and bladder injury
  • Failed abortion
  • Septic abortion (pelvic infection)
  • Cervical shock and/or laceration
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) 14
  • An infection in your uterus usually indicated by fever, severe pain in your pelvis, lower back or abdomen, or a very bad vaginal odor. Heavy bleeding, which is defined as soaking 2 maxi pads per hour for 2 hours in a row. Damage to the uterus or cervix resulting in problems in future pregnancies. 15
  • Uterus perforation requiring surgical repair of damage. 16

Long-Term Risks:

Pre-term births:
A previous abortion is associated with a significantly increased risk of low birth weight and early delivery. The risk increases as the number of abortions increase. This is the result of damage to the cervix and uterine lining from abortion instruments, and also increased infection risk from breaking the barrier between the uterine environment and vaginal discharges. An increase in cerebral palsy is also linked with extreme pre-term births (22-28 weeks) 17, 18

Psychological effects:
Much controversy surrounds another issue of the effects of abortion on women’s mental health. A large study revealed “that women who have an abortion face an increased risk for mental health problems including substance abuse, anxiety, and depression. Results indicate quite consistently that abortion is associated with moderate to highly increased risks of psychological problems subsequent to the procedure,” the authors wrote in the study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. 23 Problems also included increases in suicidal tendencies and specifically alcohol and marijuana abuse.” There are in fact some real risks associated with abortion that should be shared with women as they are counseled prior to an abortion,” Dr. Priscilla Coleman, professor of human development and family studies at Bowling Green State University, told the Daily Telegraph. 24

For helpful resources available to expectant mothers, please visit our Helpful Resources Page.

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