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Why Do So Many Women Die After Abortions?

Using data they know to be flawed, US abortion advocates repeatedly claim that abortion is ever so much safer than childbirth. But an unassailable study from Finland shows that women are actually four times more likely to die in the year following an abortion than in the year following giving birth.

STAKES, the statistical analysis unit of Finland's National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health, pulled the death certificate records for all the women of reproductive age who died between 1987 and 1994. They then searched the national health care data base to identify pregnancy-related events for each of these women in the 12 months prior to their deaths. The results did not paint a rosy picture for the year following an induced abortion.

The smallest impact of abortion subsequent death rates was in deaths by natural causes. All women who experienced a pregnancy were less likely to die due to natural causes during the year after the pregnancy ended than were women in the general population. This is attributed to the fact that women must be relatively healthy and active to become pregnant to begin with. But even here, we see that post-abortion women are more likely to die than women who have miscarried or given birth:

The next greatest risk category for post-abortion women was accidental death. In the year following abortion, women in the study were four times more likely to die of accidents than women who had given birth.

Women who miscarried likewise had an increased risk of accidental death compared to the general population, possibly due to emotional distress causing difficulty concentrating. Women who gave birth were significantly less likely to die an accidental death than were women in the general population.

After abortion, women were found to be seven times more likely to die by their own hand than were women who gave birth. As was the case with accidental death, birth seemed to offer a protective period, since this was the only pregnancy outcome that showed a lower risk than the general population in the year following the end of pregnancy.

The most shocking finding, however, was the especial vulnerability of post-abortion women to death by homicide in the year following their abortions. Post-abortion women were eight times more likely to be murdered in the year following their pregnancies than were women who gave birth.

There may be many factors involved in this finding. Women who abort are more likely to be in unstable, unloving, or abusive relationships with men to begin with; perhaps helping them to escape these relationships would offer a measure of protection, regardless of whether the woman gives birth or aborts. Women who abort are more likely to be risk-takers, which means that they might be more likely to engage in behaviors that put them in danger, such as hitchhiking, going places alone with strangers, and so forth. Post abortion symptoms such as preoccupation with the abortion, outbursts of anger, drug abuse, and increased promiscuity might also place women at risk in the year following their abortions.

Clearly, these findings call for more in-depth study of the relationship between abortion and the increased risk of violent death. We need to answer such questions as:

    Is there a causal relationship between abortion and the increased death rate?

    Is birth itself a protection against violent death, or is childbirth just part of a lower-risk lifestyle?

    Is abortion part of a high-risk lifestyle, or is it a "gateway event" into a high-risk lifestyle?

For a more in-depth look at the study, see:

All graphics by Elliot Institute and are linked back to their sources.

Previous Articles

For more on abortion and violence:
Abortion Related Violence

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