The Truth About Abortion

If you are considering an abortion, the topics presented here will help you make an informed decision. If you feel you are being pressured by others to have an abortion and you are unsure about what to do, please read the topics below before making up your mind.

If you have specific questions and would like to speak with someone who cares about you and your baby, call toll-free, (800)-848-LOVE [ 800-848-5683] When you call, you can remain anonymous and there is no obligation.

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What Is Abortion?
Medical dictionaries give clinical answers to this question – many of which can be deceptive. They use words like, "The premature expulsion from the uterus of the products of conception, of the embryo or of a nonviable foetus."1

All those words boiled down mean simply this: abortion is the deliberate killing of an unborn child.

While some in the medical profession may be uncomfortable using such direct language, it remains the truth. You may prefer to say, "Officer, I was engaged in discourse on my wireless communication device when that stop sign went by and escaped my view." But the policeman is going to boil it down to the hard truth as he writes you the ticket: "Miss, you blew a stop sign. That'll be $180."

You see, we can use whatever words we like to describe something – but ultimately, we know what the truth is. Some medical types might want to say abortion is the "expulsion" of the "products of conception" (sometimes also wrongly called a "lifeless clump of tissue"), but the truth is, "expulsion" doesn't quite describe what really happens. Many methods of abortion literally rip "products of conception" limb from limb in the process. Of course, before the abortion, those "products of conception" made up the beating heart, the functioning brain and the moving limbs of a living, developing human child.

Remember, you can dress up a pig in a silk evening gown, but underneath, it's still a pig. No matter what words people use to disguise abortion, it is always the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. Even Planned Parenthood, the organization which perfoms the most abortions in America, is very clear about what abortion is. They wrote: 

An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. It is dangerous to your life and health. It may make you sterile so that when you want a child you cannot have it. 2
Reference Notes: 
1 Response received to search on word "abortion" at

2 From the Planned Parent hood brochure Plan Your Children for Health and Happiness.


Is abortion moral?

In his book, Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments, Randy Alcorn makes a compelling statement. He writes,
What is legal is not always right. One of the weakest arguments for the legitimacy of abortion is that it is legal. Civil law does not determine morality. Rather, the law should reflect a morality that exists independently of the law. Can anyone seriously believe that abortion was immoral on January 21, 1973, and moral on January 23, 1973? If abortion killed children before the law changed, it continues to kill children after the law changed. Law or no law, either abortion has always been right and always will be, or it has always been wrong and always will be.

"In the last century, slaveowners argued that the slaves were theirs and they had the right to do with them as they wished. [Slaveowners] claimed that their personal rights and freedom of choice were at stake. They said slaves were not fully persons. They said they would experience economic hardship if they were not allowed to have slaves, and they developed slogans to gain sympathy for their cause. They maintained that others could choose not to have slaves, but had no right to impose their anti-slavery morality on them. Above all, they argued, slavery was perfectly legal, so no one had the right to oppose it.

"This point of view was given further legal support in the Dred Scott decision of 1857. The Supreme Court determined in a 7-2 decision that slaves were not legal persons and were therefore not protected under the Constitution. In 1973, the Supreme Court, by another 7-2 decision, would determine that unborn children also were not legal persons and therefore not protected under the Constitution. In 1857 the chief justice of the Supreme Court said, 'A black man has no right which the white man is bound to respect.' 1 Despite slavery's legality, however, Abraham Lincoln challenged its morality. 'If slavery is not wrong,' he said, 'then nothing is wrong.' 2

"In the 1940s a German doctor could kill Jews legally, while in America he would have been prosecuted for murder. In the 1970s an American doctor could kill unborn babies legally, while in Germany he would have been prosecuted for murder. Laws change. Truth and justice don't. 3

Reference Notes:

1 Roger B. Taney, cited by James C. Dobson and Gary L. Bauer, Children at Risk (Waco,Tex.: Word Publishing, 1990), 141

2 Ibid.

3 The references above from Randy Alcorn, writing in Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments (Portland: Multnomah Books, 1992).


But, if it's my body, why shouldn't I have an abortion if I want to?

Your tonsils or appendix are part of your body – individual organs you were born with – which you can have removed if necessary. Your baby, on the other hand, is not one of your organs, it's a whole new person, temporarily living and growing inside of you. The body you kill with abortion is not your own. The body killed by abortion belongs to another human being who is distinctly different and separate from you.

Randy Alcorn writes, 

One's body does not belong to another's body merely because of proximity. A car is not part of a garage because it is parked there. A loaf of bread is not part of the oven in which it is baked.

Louise Brown, the first test-tube baby, was conceived when sperm and egg joined in a petri dish. She was no more a part of her mother's body when placed there than she had been part of the petri dish where her life began. A child is not part of the body in which she is carried...

In 1974, the U.S. Congress voted unanimously to delay capital punishment of a pregnant woman until after her delivery. Every congressman – including those of the pro-choice persuasion – knew in his heart that this unborn baby was a separate person not guilty of his mother's crime. No stay of execution was requested for the sake of her tonsils, heart, or kidneys. It was done only for the sake of her child, a separate human being with a life and rights of his own. 1

Reference Notes:

1 Randy Alcorn, writing in Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments (Portland: Multnomah Books, 1992).

If it's just a clump of tissue, an abortion doesn't really kill a child, right?

You decide: Imagine a hospital ER team struggling to save the life of a baby who was born three months premature. As the technicians work frantically, the parents outside the operating room are praying, "Dear God, please help the doctors keep our clump of tissue alive."

Absurd, you say? Of course. Everyone knows that the doctors are trying to save a living human being, not a clump of tissue. Calling it anything besides what it is – a baby – is patently dishonest.

It makes as much sense to call a baby a clump of tissue as it does to call an adolescent a bag of grapes. The fact is, both the baby and the adolescent are in varying stages of development – but both are equally and fully human.


What if I am pregnant because of rape?

Sexual violence is a nightmare. Dragging it out for nine months of pregnancy seems an added cruelty. Then there's the child, for whom the truth about his or her father could be devastating. But did anyone think to ask the victims themselves?

In their book, Victims and Victors (Acorn Books, 2000) 1, editors David Reardon, Amy Sobie and Julie Makimaa draw on testimonies of 192 women who experienced pregnancy as the result of rape or incest, and 55 children who were conceived through sexual assault. It turns out that when victims of violence speak for themselves, their opinion of abortion is nearly unanimous – and the opposite of what the average person expects.

Nearly all the women interviewed in this anecdotal survey said they regretted aborting their babies conceived via rape or incest.

"I feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that abortion should be legal because of rape and incest," says Kathleen DeZeeuw, whose testimony is included in Victims and Victors. "I feel that we're being used to further the abortion issue, even though we've not been asked to tell our side of the story."

Her side of the story starts with skipping a church meeting to go with a girlfriend to a local coffeehouse. The sixth of eight children, Kathleen was raised in a Christian home with strict rules against associating with anyone outside her family's church congregation. So perhaps Kathleen was naive when she agreed to go to a movie with a young man she met at the coffeehouse.

Soon after, her head was being bashed against his car window until she was too weak to resist. Somehow she knew the rape that followed would make her pregnant.

"I remember screaming over and over again," Kathleen said-a reaction that brought only laughter from her assailant. He threw her out of the car, with a warning that he'd hurt her worse if she told anyone. She made her way home feeling shattered and dirty. Kathleen, only 16, kept the secret until it couldn't be concealed. When the pregnancy became obvious, her parents were distressed and her siblings were disgusted.

"Because I wouldn't talk about it, many rumors started about me, and everyone had his own interpretation of what must have 'really' happened." She was sent to a maternity home a thousand miles away. That's where something began to change in her heart. At first, she was repulsed at the thought of carrying "this man's child," yet as she felt the baby kick and move, her horror began to change to sympathy.

"I began to realize that this little life inside me was struggling, too . . . I was no longer thinking of the baby as the 'rapist's' . . . I now thought of this baby as 'my baby.' My baby was all I had. I felt abandoned by everyone. I had only this life inside me to talk to."

Not that everything was easy. The first time Kathleen held her son, Patrick, she felt "revulsion," because he looked exactly like his father-a resemblance that remained as he grew into adolescence.

"The laughter of my little boy often reminded me of the hideous laughter of this guy as he had raped me." But Patrick kept telling his mother she needed to forgive, as he himself had forgiven her sometimes-pained reactions to him as well as the actions of his unknown dad. In the end, forgiveness set Kathleen free. Victims of sexual violence need counseling and care, Kathleen says, and plenty of time for healing. "To encourage a woman to have an abortion is to add even more violence to her life," she says. "Two wrongs will never make a right." What rape takes away from a woman, abortion cannot restore. Though many outsiders view abortion as a quick and sanitary procedure that takes place behind closed doors, to the woman it is a second assault, a disturbing reminder of the invasive violence she already has endured.

"Many women report that their abortions felt like a degrading form of 'medical rape,' " Reardon writes. "Abortion involves a painful intrusion into a woman's sexual organs by a masked stranger . . . For many women this experiential association between abortion and sexual assault is very strong . . . Women with a history of sexual assault are likely to experience greater distress during and after an abortion than are other women." 2

Reference Notes:

1 Victims and Victors, David C. Reardon (Editor), Julie Makimaa (Editor), Amy Sobie (Editor). Acorn Books, May 2000 

2Rape and Incest are Tragic, But Abortion Doesn't Heal the Pain, by Frederica Matthewes-Green; Source: Citizen Magazine; October 2000


What if I am pregnant because of incest?

Abortion does not solve the emotional problems created by incest. In their book, Victims and Victors (Acorn Books, 2000) 1, editors David Reardon, Amy Sobie and Julie Makimaa draw on testimonies of 192 women who experienced pregnancy as the result of rape or incest, and 55 children who were conceived through sexual assault. It turns out that when victims of violence speak for themselves, their opinion of abortion is nearly unanimous – and the opposite of what the average person expects.

When it comes to incest, Reardon, Sobie and Makimaa point the reader toward the real problem.

The Real Problem
For victims of incest, itself a form of rape. . . pregnancy can represent their only hope of escaping the abusive situation. They may have been threatened and beaten; they may have been told, for example, "If you tell your mother, I'll kill her."

To such a girl, pregnancy may not be the problem. Incest is the problem, and pregnancy may be the solution – a way to force someone to recognize her plight and rescue her. Reardon writes: "Unlike pregnancies resulting from rape, most incest pregnancies are actually desired, at least at a subconscious level, in order to expose the incest."

Reardon discovered that in virtually every case of pregnancy after incest, the abortion was not the girl's decision. "In several cases, the abortion was carried out over the objections of the girl who clearly told others that she wanted to give birth to her child."
Instead, the abortion was demanded by the adults in her life, and frequently – for obvious reasons – by the perpetrator himself. Abortion turns out to be a great way to destroy evidence. 

Dr. Julio C. Novoa performed five abortions on three sisters who had been habitually raped by their father. The doctor didn't suspect a thing.

"When these patients came to my office, they came with a mother, and you, as a doctor, feel comfortable that the family knows," Novoa said in the book. "They never, never made a mention or a 'hint' that anything was wrong. The girls were between 13 and 19, and their mother facilitated the incest and the abortions."

The situation ended only when the youngest girl scrawled at the bottom of a history test that she hated life and wanted to die.

But surely a young girl who is pregnant shouldn't be encouraged to have a baby, should she? She probably has unrealistic ideas that the baby will provide her with the unconditional love she craves. She may have naive fantasies that the child will be like a doll she can dress up and play with.

"It is precisely the young girl's attachment to her baby, whether realistic or unrealistic, which ensures with 100 percent reliability that she will be traumatized by the abortion," Reardon writes. "To the young girl, the abortion is not an act of free will by which she is regaining her future. It is the destruction of her baby, her 'baby doll,' even. . . . Which would the young girl rather have? A baby or a traumatic surgery wherein she is forced to participate in the murder of her baby?"

Healing by Adoption
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the most loving thing a young girl can do for her child is also the best for her own emotional well-being: Give birth, then place the child for adoption. Reardon cites a 1979 article by Dr. George E. Maloof, a San Francisco-area psychiatrist who strongly recommended that children conceived in incest be adopted, not only for the child's sake but so the original family can begin to heal. (Incidentally, children of incest are not doomed to be victims of deformity due to "inbreeding." Such problems typically emerge following a repeated pattern of incest over several generations.)

Writes Maloof: "Only after having the child adopted can there be some assurance that this new life will not simply become part of the incestuous family affair. The family can be consoled by the knowledge that they have broken their incestuous pattern."

Some women who had children . . . then raised them, feel adoption would have been the better course. . . Kathleen DeZeeuw writes: "I personally believe that for her child's sake, the rape victim should strongly consider adoption. That may sound strange coming from me, but I know the emotional problems that can result from being daily reminded of the assault. In many cases it may be truly better for the child that he or she not be subjected to this added turmoil."

Sharon Bailey saw conflict over her daughter become one of the stresses that undermined her marriage. She says her daughter "would have had a more normal life" if she had been [placed for adoption].

On the other hand, Nancy Cole* raised a child after being impregnated by her father and is satisfied with her decision.

"My daughter is now 18, loves the Lord and is happy and well-adjusted. I have raised her all my life, and I know I made the right decision."

Conquering the Rape (or Incest)
While it looks at first glance as if rushing victims of violence to an abortion clinic is the greatest kindness, listen carefully and you'll find it is not at all what they want.

"The victim may sense, at least at a subconscious level, that if she can get through the pregnancy she will have conquered the rape," Reardon writes. "By giving birth, she can reclaim some of her lost self-esteem. Giving birth, especially when conception was not desired, is a totally selfless act, a generous act, a display of courage, strength and honor.

"It is proof that she is better than the rapist. When he was selfish, she can be generous. While he destroyed, she can nurture." 2

Reference Notes:

1 Victims and Victors, David C. Reardon (Editor), Julie Makimaa (Editor), Amy Sobie (Editor). Acorn Books, May 2000 

2Rape and Incest are Tragic, But Abortion Doesn't Heal the Pain, by Frederica Matthewes-Green; Source: Citizen Magazine; October 2000


Incest: The Story of Sharon Louise...

When I was a child, I had a magical visitor who came to me in the night. In the morning, I would remember him sitting at my bedside the night before. As my window was slightly open, I decided my night visitor was Peter Pan. I felt special to have a fairy-tale figure visit me, but was strangely uneasy about his visits.

Nevertheless, it was my secret. I never told anyone. It was not until I was 37 years old that I realized that Peter Pan was my father, and the secret was incest . . . a despicable secret that irreversibly altered my life long before I remembered its existence. My father began molesting me when I was two years old. It began when we would sit together on the back steps of our house. When he first began to slip his hand under me, I was startled and confused by this unusual behavior. I couldn't understand what was happening to me, or why. I knew my daddy loved me but why did he keep touching me in a way I didn't want to be touched? "This is our little secret," he would say, and I knew better than to disagree. Nobody in our household disagreed with Daddy.

Because my father could not hold a job, my mother had to work day and night to support the family. This gave my father easy access to me, and the molestation continued throughout my childhood. I was torn apart inside. I hated my father for what he was doing to me, and yet I loved him because he was my father. This added to the guilt I already felt since I, like most incest victims, I believed that somehow the incest was my fault. If I could only be a better little girl, if I could only pray harder, he would stop. I felt totally responsible and at the same time, completely helpless to stop it. When I was twelve, I became pregnant. I was fearful that my father would harm or even kill our baby, but I had no idea that he could destroy the child before he was even born. On the evening of November 26, 1966, my father met an abortionist and paid him a sum of money. I never knew the price of my child's life. My father sent me with the abortionist, telling me that I was to be "checked." He promised to wait outside. I was to have nightmares of that evening for the rest of my life.

There was not much time to dwell on feelings in my childhood. Life went on the same as before, with my father molesting me. I suppressed my emotions to survive. At age 14, I became pregnant again and my father arranged for another abortion. There was a different "doctor" and a different location, but the results were the same. My baby was killed to protect my father from disclosures of the incest. Again, my heart was broken, and I assumed the blame. I felt empty, hopeless, and very, very sad.

It was obvious to me after the second abortion that my father had complete control over me. Willing abortionists freed my father so that he could continue the assaults unabated. Hired assassins killed my children, children whose mere existence exposed my father's crimes. I believe it was following the second abortion that I blocked out all memories of the incest. It was all too much for the mind of a child to handle. I do not know how long after the second abortion the abuse continued, but believe it was throughout my high school years.

When the memories of the incest returned, pain and grief became my companions. I had not only blocked out my abusive childhood, but replaced it with a fantasy happy childhood and a Daddy I believed had always loved and cared for me. It has hurt deeply to see the truth, but I know this is the only way I can be healed of the destructive effects the incest has had in my life, such as depression, guilt, and shame which have always consumed me even though I had no memories of the incest.

The hardest to bear has been the abortions. I feel such a deep sense of loss and grief. It is extremely painful for me to be around babies or pregnant women, and tears flow easily when walking near the baby section of a grocery store.

There are those who would use my story as an excuse to keep abortion legal, since both of my abortions were illegal. But legal abortion would not have helped me. It would simply have made it easier for my father to victimize me. My pain would not be any less and my babies would still be dead. Abortion, legal or illegal, is not a simple, safe procedure.

People ask how can one be so cruel and heartless to say that an incest victim must carry her baby to term when she's already been through so much pain. Such people forget that abortion does not relieve the trauma that an incest victim lives with. It does not alleviate the shame, the emotional wreckage, the self-destructive feelings, the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. No! Legal abortion does not alleviate any of these problems; it merely adds one more trauma to the long list of scars that the victim must carry.

Reference Note:

Since most incest victims do not become pregnant, Sharon's story may not be typical of incest victims. However, her story is reproduced here because her experience is representative of the emotional trauma incest victims experience. Further, as you'll read below, there is no clinical evidence that abortion is of any benefit to victims of incest.
Incest: The Deep, Dark Secret...
The shame of incest is kept as "a deep, dark secret" – even in today's society. Because of the trauma which accompanies incest, abortion is routinely suggested as the only solution for the victim who becomes pregnant. Individuals with the best intentions argue that the woman should not have to carry the "reminder" of a painful experience for nine months. They argue further that the victim did not ask to become pregnant, so abortion is the obvious solution.

David Reardon, nationally recognized Post-Abortion Syndrome expert and researcher, has written about incest, pregnancy and abortion: ". . . Abortion was simply presumed to be the best answer – at least best for society if not for the women, girls, or children. Through abortion, they suggested, we could cover up these embarrassing victims of our sick society; we could destroy the 'unclean' offspring of our sexual perversions. But in fact, just as with rape, there is no psychiatric evidence, nor even any theory which argues that abortion of an incestuous pregnancy is therapeutic for the victim – it is only more convenient for everyone else."1

Abortion merely conceals the perpetrator's awful act of sexual transgression (through incest), and eliminates any physical evidence of wrongdoing. The reasoning goes, if there is no child, there is no evidence. Most importantly, abortion allows the denial and silence surrounding the incest to continue within the family, and prevents outside awareness and intervention. The perpetrator remains free to continue the abuse of his victim.

Reardon calls incest the conspiracy of silence. "Though the daughter desperately wants to be out of the situation, it should be remembered that she would prefer to break the incest pattern in a way that would allow her to maintain or regain the love of her parents. Pregnancy is an avenue which offers to fulfill both of these requirements.

Abortion of an incestuous pregnancy, then, not only adds to the girl's guilt and trauma, it also frustrates her plans for escape and attention. Abortion perpetuates the 'conspiracy of silence' by covering up the incest, or at least its results, and continues the family pattern of denying reality."2

Reardon adds, "The cry that abortion should be available for pregnancy resulting from incest has little or no foundation. Statistics available show that incestuous pregnancies are infrequent. American studies involving a total of almost 2,000 cases of incest report a pregnancy rate of only I percent..."3 As early as 1979, Dr. George Maloof, noted author, physician and psychiatrist in the San Francisco area, writes in The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, that "considering the prevalence of teenage pregnancies in general, incest treatment programs marvel at the low incidence of pregnancy from incest."4

However, pregnancies from incest do exist, but abortion does not solve these cases nor eliminate the trauma that case studies show incest victims experience. One such victim was Sharon Louise, who has her story reproduced above. She was an incest victim who was coerced into an abortion by her father, not once but twice. Her story shouts of her pain and helplessness, and demonstrates firsthand, the further victimization of women by abortion.

Reference Notes:

1 Reardon, David, Aborted Women: Silent No More, Loyola University Press, 1987, p. 199.

2 Ibid., p. 201.

3 Ibid., p. 202

4 Maloof, George, "The Consequences of Incest," The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, University Publications of America, 1979, p. 74.

"Incest: The Deep, Dark Secret" was assembled by Catherine Souhrada. She is the Education Director for the Wisconsin Right to Life Education Fund. She has a bachelor's degree in social work and a master's degree in health administration. She has worked extensively in the community on public education and in nursing homes as a social worker.


What if my unborn baby has medical problems?

Most expectant parents when asked if they want a boy or girl, respond that they don't care, as long as the child is healthy. Parents have been known to count their baby's fingers and toes almost immediately after birth for reassurance that the baby is okay.

With most pregnancies, a normal outcome can be expected. However, in that small number of pregnancies where something has gone awry, hopes and dreams can be shattered, and parents truly experience a sense of loss. Most often, this does not mean they love their child any less, but they grieve for their child and themselves, and experience fear and uncertainty regarding the future. What changes will they have to make in their lives? How severe is their child's disability? What does the prognosis, which is often overly grim, mean? Will their child live or die?

Increasingly, with the legalization of abortion at all stages of pregnancy, prenatal testing and diagnosis has become a tool by which parents decide whether or not to end the life of their unborn child should a disability be present. Physicians are pressured to offer such tests out of fear they will be successfully sued for the "wrongful" birth of a child with a disability.

Currently, most testing is done around 15 to 20 weeks into the pregnancy. The most common diagnostic tests are the triple screen (a combination of alpa-fetoprotein, HCG, and estriol used primarily to detect Down syndrone), ultrasonography, amniocentesis, or a combination of any of these tests. Another test is chorionic villus sampling (CVS), and when done is usually conducted early in pregnancy (8 to 12 weeks). Some medical studies have found the miscarriage rate to be higher following CVS than for anmiocentesis.1 CVS has been associated with the birth of babies with limb abnormalities (1-6%), especially when CVS is performed before the 8th week of pregnancy .2

The most common genetic abnormality is Down syndrome which affects one in 800 births. Down syndrome is most often associated with women who become pregnant at an older age and, perhaps, paternal age greater than 55 years. While for women in the 18-year-old-age group, the occurrence of Down syndrome is one in 2,100 births; for women age 30 it is one in 1,000 births; and for women 40, one in 100 births. 3

Although not considered a severe disability, a large, multi-institutional study published in 1991 showed that 92% of Down syndrome children detected prenatally have their lives ended by abortion. 4

Many people with Down syndrome are capable of living remarkably normal lives. Why? One word: hope.  

The second most common abnormality is the presence of a neural tube defect (NTD) which is "any defect of the brain and spinal cord caused by failure of the neural tube to close during growth during pregnancy...."5 The incidence of NTD is one child in 1,000 births. 6 This means that approximately 2,500 infants with NTDs are born in the United States each year. 7

Neural tube defects (which account for five percent of all U.S. birth defects each year) 8 cause conditions known as spina bifida (open spine), anencephaly (lack of brain formation), and encephalocele (an abnormal closure of the spinal column). Anencephaly in a condition incompatible with life, and these infants usually die within a few hours or days. Typically, spina bifida is accompanied by hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) in 70% to 90% of infants. "All will have bowel and bladder abnormalities, although with new techniques, bowel and bladder continence is becoming a realistic goal for most individuals with spina bifida," according to Dr. Harold Rekate, an expert on treatment for spina bifida.9Intellect of children with spina bifida can range from profound retardation to high intelligence, although few have profound retardation.10

"One of the most exciting medical findings in the last part of the 20th century is that folic acid, a simple, widely available water-soluble vitamin, can prevent spina bifida and anencephaly," proclaims a march, 1993 editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association.11 Read: Why should I be taking folic acid now, if I think I might become pregnant ?

Consequently, the U.S. Public Health Service has recommended that all women of childbearing age capable of becoming pregnant should consume 0.4 mg. of folic acid every day to reduce the risk of a neural tube defect.12

An unknown number of children with NTDs are aborted each year.13 The overall rate of abortion when an abnormality is detected in the child is at least 73%, with some authorities placing the rate between 80% and 100%.14 Not only are there questions about killing unborn children, but new technology has raised ethical questions regarding whether or not having a baby is becoming analogous to buying a car. These new technologies include: (1) screening embryos conceived through in vitro fertilization for genetic defects, (2) screening for the sex of the child, and (3) discovery of genes which could signify significant disease or even behaviors at some later time in the individual's life.

For example, in a recent study of 200 couples by the New England Regional Genetics Group, 1% would abort on the basis of sex, 6% would abort a child likely to contract Alzheimer's in old age, and 11% would abort a child predisposed to obesity.15 This raises the specter of a eugenic society which regards the perfection of the person as more important than the existence of the person.

Some justify this discrimination by arguing that the child is a "burden" placed on the family, that the child is "spared" a life of "suffering," or that the child is "better off dead" because his/her life is deemed not worth living. These attempts at justification speak volumes about cultural attitudes which demean those who have differences, and how far we have come in accepting elimination of those differences by whatever means available, including death.

Unquestionably, society must be concerned about the additional stress placed on a family caring for a child with a disability. We must be committed to providing services which not only assist the family but also offer opportunities for the child to reach his/her full potential. Fortunately, many of these opportunities now exist with:

  1. Educational programs geared to the needs of the individual with disabilities. 
  2. Birth-to-three early intervention programs, whose goal is to enhance the development of the child in the earliest years when results are most beneficial. 
  3. Vocational programs for those with disabilities. 
  4. Assistive technology, which perfects technological devices such as computers and voice boxes to assist specific disabilities. 
  5. Independent living programs to allow persons with disabilities to live in the community. 
  6. Programs to assist the person with a disability to be employed. 
  7. Codes requiring public places to provide access for people in wheelchairs. 
  8. Finally, many caring families are willing to adopt children with disabilities. 
How must a person with a disability feel to know that his or her existence is deemed so meaningless, so valueless, that an unborn child with any disability can be destroyed by abortion? That attitude can, many times, be more of a burden than the disability itself.

Parents who learn that their unborn child has a disability are initially confronted with fear and uncertainty. But with support and encouragement, medical technology and community support, they and their children can live fulfilling, successful lives.

Reference Notes:

1 Halliday et al, The Lancet, October 10, 1992, Volume 340, p. 886.

2 Brambati et al., Prenatal Diagnosis, 1992, Volume 12, p. 789-799. Journal of Assisted Reproductions and Genetics, 1992, Volume 9, Number 4, pp. 299-302.

3 "Down Syndrome," Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2000.

4 Vincent et al., Southern Medical Journal, October 1991, Volume 84, Number 10, Table 1.

5 Mosby Medical Encyclopedia, Plume Company, New York, 1992, P. 354.

6 Journal of the American Medical Association, March 10, 1993, Volume 269, Number 10, p.1292.

7 Ibid, p. 1233.

8 "Healthy Beginnings: Nutrition's Role in Preventing Birth Defects," An interview with James L. Mills, M.D., Chief of the Pediatric Epidemiology Section of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, on nutrition-related research on the prevention of neural tube defects, low birth weight and other adverse birth outcomes, 11/1/2000.

9 Rekate, Harold L., M.D., Comprehensive Management of Spina Bifida, 1991, Intro.

10 Ibid.

11 Journal of the American Medical Association, p. 1292.

12 Ibid., p. 1233.

13 Ibid.

14 Southern Medical Journal, p. 1211.

15 Cowley, Geoffrey, Newsweek Special Issue, Made to Order Babies," Winter/Spring, 1990, Volume 114, Number 4, p.98.


How many babies are aborted each year world-wide?

I fear the power of choice over life or death at human hands. I see no human being whom I could ever trust with such power -- not myself nor any other. Human wisdom and human integrity are not great enough. --Pearl S. Buck
Each year an estimated 50 million babies are aborted worldwide. At the current rate, an estimated 43% of women will have at least one abortion by the time they are 45 years old. 46% of women who get abortions have had one or more previous abortions.1

How many babies are aborted each year in the United States?

In the United States about 3,700 babies are aborted each day or approximately 1,350,500 annually. That's one every 24 seconds. For every 100 births in the United States, there are 31 abortions.1

How many babies are aborted each year in the Florida?

Florida Live Birth and Abortion statistics for 1999
Revision 05/00, by Florida Right to Life staff editor 

The number of live births and abortions performed in Florida thru December for 1999 have been reported by the Florida Department of Health. The Office of Vital Statistics reported there were 83,971 abortions recorded during 1999. This does represent a statewide increase of 1,636 since 1998. Of those reported abortions, 82,589 (98.3%) were personal choice elective procedures.

The total number of counties that reported abortions have decreased to 19 for 1999, vs. 21 reported abortions from 1998. In Orange County there was an eight percent (8%) decrease of abortions performed with 10,173 in 1998, vs. 9,341 in 1999. Seminole County had the biggest increase of abortions performed in 1999, with 735 total terminations of life reported in 1999, vs. Zero (0) in 1998.

Statewide there were 196,288 live births and 83,971 abortions in 1999. The percentage of abortions relative to the number of pregnancies in 1999 was 43%. This calculates to 33% of all pregnancies in Florida during 1999 ended in an abortion.

Listed below is a county-wide comparison of the abortion and live birth rates for year ending 1999. All statistical information is courtesy of the Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistic.

Thru December 1999



Live Births














* 0


























Palm Beach









*St. Lucie












* Note - The following counties had the highest increases in the abortions performed in 1999, vs. 1998:






6,544 (+9%) 




St Lucie







Why do women abort their babies?

Women abort their babies for all kinds of reasons but there is a usually a common element – fear. For example, some women:
  • fear what their parents will say 
  • fear they are either to young or too old to have a child 
  • fear they won't be able to support a child financially 
  • fear becoming a parent 
  • fear a child may interfere with their plans to finish high school or college 
  • fear a child may interfere with their current career or future career plans 
  • fear a child will be a reminder of a rape 
  • fear having "the secret" revealed, if they are victims of incest 
While all of these fears may be legitimate, none of them are impossible to overcome. As we have learned from the women's movement, a woman is strong, courageous and capable of overcoming whatever challenge life might throw at her – including carrying a child to term. Adoption is often the best alternative. Today, there are more loving, adoptive parents waiting for babies than there are babies to fill the need!

Sadly, one of the main reasons women abort their babies is because they are coerced. In other words, they are pressured by a boyfriend, a husband, a parent or an abortion clinic worker to abort their baby. Women should never make a decision about abortion without hearing both sides of the story. Without knowing both sides, women allow themselves to be forced into making a tragic decision that will effect them emotionally (and perhaps physically) for the rest of their lives.

To understand the side of abortion others may not tell you about, continue to read questions and answers about abortion on this web site. Take care to read about the wide variety of risks associated with abortion. There are physical risks (including an increased risk for breast cancer) as well as mental health risks (including the risk of post-abortion syndrome). Also, read about the various options you have by carrying your child to term. These include adoption, marriage, single-parenting and grand-parenting.

Studies show that many women feel pushed, prodded, pressured, even forced into abortion. While abortion is portrayed as a choice, the truth is, many women feel they had no choice at all. Randy Alcorn writes: Having been taught that abortion is the easiest way out of a difficulty, fathers, mothers, boyfriends, husbands, teachers, school counselors, doctors, nurses, media, and peers often pressure the pregnant woman into making a choice that is more theirs than hers.1 One young woman reflects back on her own pregnancy:

"There were plans racing through my mind of where we would live, what we'd name [him or her], what [he or she] would look like. . . but, on his father's advice of 'it'll ruin your life,' (my boyfriend) opted for an abortion.

I was in shock, so I went along with him when he said that there was no way I could have [my baby] alone and that I'd be kicked out of the family.

Reality set in, and the choice was not mine. That's the heartache – the choice was not mine – it was his, my family's, society's. It was his choice because he would have been the only financial support. It was my family's because of the rejection of me and the unborn. And it was society's because of the poverty cycle I would enter as a teenage mother." 2

All choices – none of them hers. In the panic of the moment, you can make a decision which will haunt you for a lifetime. Take plenty of time to make your decision and don't allow yourself to be pressured by others. No one should make this important decision but you.
The Darkest Truth
Perhaps the darkest truth about abortion is that the people involved in the abortion business are not interested in women's rights, freedom "of choice" or even in caring for women's health needs. Their dirty little secret is that they are interested in only one thing: selling abortions.

The annual statistics posted by the people of Planned Parenthood (who abort more babies every year than anyone else) show that abortion is a multi-million dollar profit-making business – even though they are supposed to be a nonprofit operation. According to World magazine, Planned Parenthood's 1998/1999 profits (income in excess of expenditures) were a staggering $125.8 million. "Of the [abortion] clinic operations earnings, $58.8 million - more than 1 of every 4 dollars earned - came from killing an unborn child." 3

No wonder they aren't likely to counsel women to carry their babies to term and place them for adoption. Abortion providers don't make money if they don't perform abortions.

Many unsuspecting girls and women, looking for help and information about their options, make phone calls to women's health centers – which are nothing more than abortion clinics. The help they receive is designed only to push them toward abortion. As Carol Everett, who worked in several abortion clinics, writes:

Those kids, when they find out that they are pregnant, may not want an abortion; they may want information, but when they call that number, which is paid for by abortion money, what kind of information do you think they're going to get? Remember, they sell abortions – they don't sell keeping the baby, or giving the baby up for adoption, or delivering that baby. They only sell abortions. 4
If you need truthful information about all your options, you can speak with someone who cares about you and your baby by calling toll-free, 1-800-395-HELP or 1-800-BETHANY. When you call, you can remain anonymous and there is no obligation.

Reference Notes:

1 Randy Alcorn, writing in Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments (Portland: Multnomah Books, 1992).

2 F. LaGard Smith, When Choice Becomes God, (Eugene Ore.; Harvest House, 1990), 192-3.

3 World magazine, 4/22/00

4 "Prochoice 1990", 27.


What are the different methods of abortion?

There are quite a number of abortion methods. At the beginning of each explanation, we will indicate the method (either surgical or chemical) the approximate time during the pregnancy when this type of abortion is performed, and the name of the particular procedure
Surgical, First Trimester: Suction Aspiration
Suction aspiration, or "vacuum curettage," is the abortion technique used in most first trimester abortions.9 A powerful suction tube with a sharp cutting edge is inserted into the womb through the dilated cervix. The suction dismembers the body of the developing baby and tears the placenta from the wall of the uterus, sucking blood, amniotic fluid, placental tissue, and fetal parts10 into a collection bottle.ll

Great care must be taken to prevent the uterus from being punctured during this procedure, which may cause hemorrhage and necessitate further surgery. 12 Also, infection can easily develop if any fetal or placental tissue is left behind in the uterus. This is the most frequent post-abortion complication.13

Surgical, First Trimester: Dilatation* and Curettage (D&C)
* Note: Sometimes the term "dilation" rather than "dilatation" is used.
In this technique, the cervix is dilated or stretched to permit the insertion of a loop shaped steel knife. The body of the baby is cut into pieces and removed and the placenta is scraped off the uterine wall. 14 Blood loss from D & C, or "mechanical" curettage, is greater than for suction aspiration, as is the likelihood of uterine perforation and infections. 15

This method should not be confused with routine D&C's done for reasons other than undesired pregnancy (to treat abnormal uterine bleeding, dysmenorrhea, etc.). l6 D&C's are routinely performed after a miscarriage.

What are chemical abortions (RU486)?

Chemical, First Trimester: RU 486

Thursday, September 28, 2000, the Food and Drug Administration approved RU-486, a dangerous drug combination that causes women to have chemical abortions early in pregnancy. To ensure the abortion pill is "used accurately and safely", the FDA mandated that women be given special brochures called ''MedGuides'' explaining who is eligible for a drug-induced abortion and what dangerous side effects to expect, and that they must make three trips to the abortion facility to undergo the abortion. a

The RU 486 chemical abortion procedure requires the administration of two potent and dangerous drugs. The first drug, RU 486, is a powerful steroid which blocks the action of the female hormone progesterone. As a result, the tiny developing child literally starves to death as the nutrient lining of the womb sloughs off. The secondary drug, either Cytotec or Misoprostol, causes muscular contractions to expel the dead baby.

Prolonged excessive bleeding, severe cramps, and diarrhea are some of the common side effect of the RU 486 abortion procedure. As many as 82 percent of patients reported painful contractions with bleeding continuing anywhere from ten days to six weeks. One to two percent of women bled so severely that surgical intervention is required to stop the bleeding. Some women have require blood transfusions. During trials in the United States, one woman in Iowa nearly bled to death. a

Often, the RU 486 abortion procedure does not result in a complete abortion and the women must still undergo a surgical abortion. In Wisconsin trials, 14% of chemically induced abortions were incomplete. a

The RU 486 abortion procedure requires 3 to 4 visits to a doctor. Fifty percent of the time, the woman does not abort in the doctor's office. She could abort in the car, at her place of work, at the grocery store...and she is left completely alone to deal with the remains of her child.

Even within the abortion industry and abortion-rights ranks, there is much dissension and disagreement about the safety and impact of chemical abortions. For example, Renate Klein, Deputy Director Australian Women's Research Centre, at Deakin University, Geolong, Australia stated, "RU486 has been falsely promoted as quick, easy and hassle free. I have vigorously refuted this . . . although I support a woman's right to a safe and legal abortion with good counseling, I am emphatic that this dangerous second-rate drug is not a positive addition to a women's decision-making whether or not to have children."

Dr. Hakim Elahi, the medical director of Planned Parenthood of New York City said the side effects of chemical abortion are so unpredictable that he would not use it as an abortion drug in any dose.

Janice Raymond, associate director of the Institute on Women and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology echoed Elahi's concerns when she said, "Claims that RU 486 abortion is private and demedicalized are belied by the number of medical visits and the whole drug cocktail a woman may be exposed to." b

While the FDA has approved RU-486, the fact remains that this drug has uncertain medical effects on the mother and clearly ends the life on an unborn child.

Chemical, First Trimester: Methotrexate
The procedure with methotrexate is similar to the one using RU 486, though administered by an intramuscular injection instead of a pill. 33

Originally designed to attack fast growing cells such as cancers by neutralizing the B vitamin folic acid necessary for cell division, methotrexate apparently attacks the fast growing cells of the trophoblast as well, 34 the tissue surrounding the embryo that eventually gives rise to the placenta. The trophoblast not only functions as the "life support system" for the developing child, 35 drawing oxygen and nutrients from the mother's blood supply and disposing of carbon dioxide and waste products, 36 but also produces the hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone which signals the corpus luteum to continue the production of progesterone necessary to prevent breakdown of the uterine lining and loss of the pregnancy. 37 Methotrexate initiates the disintengration of that sustaining, protective, and nourishing environment. Deprived of the food, oxygen, and fluids he or she needs to survive, the baby dies.

Three to seven days later (depending on the protocol used), a suppository of misoprostol (the same prostaglandin used with RU 486) is inserted into the woman's vagina to trigger expulsion of the tiny body of the child from the woman's uterus. Sometimes this occurs within the next few hours, but often a second dose of the prostaglandin is required, making the time lapse between the initial administration of methotrexate and the actual completion of the abortion take as long as several weeks. 38 A woman may bleed for weeks (42 days in one study 39 ), even heavily, 40 and may abort anywhere --- at home, on the bus, at work, etc. 41 Those found to be still pregnant in later visits (at least 1 in 25) are given surgical abortions. 42

Even doctors who support abortion are reluctant to prescribe methotrexate for abortion because of its high toxicity and unpredictable side effects. 43 Those side effects commonly include nausea, pain, diarrhea, 44 as well as less visible but more serious effects such as bone marrow depression, severe anemia, liver damage and methotrexate-induced lung disease. 45

The manufacturer warns in the package insert that while methotrexate has shown itself useful in treating certain types of cancer and severe cases of arthritis and psoriasis, "deaths have been reported with the use of methotrexate," and recommends that its use be limited to "physicians whose knowledge and experience includes the use of antimetablite therapy." 46 Though researchers performing methotrexate abortions have dismissed such concerns because of the low dosage used, 47 other doctors in the abortion trade have disagreed, 48 and the package insert clearly warns that "toxic effects may be related in frequency and severity to dose or frequency of administration but have been seen at all doses" (emphasis added). 49

Surgical, Second Trimester: Dilatation* and Evacuation (D&E)
* The term "dilation" is sometimes used instead of "dilatation."

Used to abort unborn children as old as 24 weeks, this method is similar to the D&C. The difference is that forceps with sharp metal jaws are used to grasp parts of the developing baby, which are then twisted and torn away. This continues until the child's entire body is removed from the womb. Because the baby's skull has often hardened to bone by this time, the skull must sometimes be compressed or crushed to facilitate removal. If not carefully removed, sharp edges of the bones may cause cervical laceration. Bleeding from the procedure may be profuse. 50

Dr. Warren Hern, a Boulder, Colorado abortionist who has performed a number of D&E abortions, says they can be particularly troubling to a clinic staff and worries that this may have an effect on the quality of care a woman receives. Hern also finds them traumatic for doctors too, saying "there is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator. It is before one's eyes. The sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current." 51

Chemical, Second and Third Trimesters: Instillation Methods
These methods involve the injection of drugs or chemicals through the abdomen or cervix into the amniotic sac to cause the death of the child and his or her expulsion from the uterus. Several drugs have been tried, 52 but the most commonly used are hypertonic saline, urea, and prostaglandins.

Salt Poisoning

Otherwise known as "saline amniocentesis," "salting out," or a "hypertonic saline" abortion, this technique is used after 16 weeks of pregnancy, when enough fluid has accumulated in the amniotic sac surrounding the baby.

A needle is inserted through the mother's abdomen and 50-250 ml (as much as a cup) of amniotic fluid is withdrawn and replaced with a solution of concentrated salt. 53 The baby breathes in, swallowing the salt, and is poisoned. 54 The chemical solution also causes painful burning and deterioration of the baby's skin. 55 Usually, after about an hour, the child dies. The mother goes into labor about 33 to 35 hours after instillation and delivers a dead, burned, and shriveled baby. 56 About 97% of mothers deliver their dead babies within 72 hours. 57

Hypertonic saline may initiate a condition in the mother called consumption coagulopathy (uncontrolled blood clotting throughout the body) with severe hemorrhage as well as other serious side effects on the central nervous system. 58 Seizures, coma, or death may also result from saline inadvertently injected into the woman's vascular system. 59


Because of the dangers associated with saline methods, other instillation methods such as hypersomolar urea are sometimes employed, 60 though these are less effective and usually must be supplemented by oxytocin or a prostaglandin in order to achieve the desired result. 6l Incomplete or failed abortion remains a problem with urea methods, often precipitating the additional risk of surgery.

As with other instillation techniques, gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea or vomiting are frequent, but the most common problem with second trimester techniques is cervical injuries, which range from small lacerations to complete detachments of the anterior or posterior cervix. Between 1% and 2% of patients using urea must be hospitalized for treatment of endometritis, an infection of the lining of the uterus. 62


Prostaglandins are naturally produced chemical compounds which normally assist in the birthing process. The injection of concentrations of artificial prostaglandins prematurely into the amniotic sac induces violent labor and the birth of a child usually too young to survive. Often salt or another toxin is first injected to ensure that the baby will be delivered dead, 63 since some babies have survived the trauma of a prostaglandin birth and been born alive. 64 This method is used during the second trimester. 65

In addition to risks of retained placenta, cervical trauma, infection, hemorrhage, 66 hyperthermia, bronchoconstriction, tachycardia, 67 more serious side effects and complications from the use of artificial prostaglandins, including cardiac arrest and rupture of the uterus, can be unpredictable and very severe. Death is not unheard of. 68

Surgical, Second and Third Trimester: Partial-Birth Abortion
Abortionists sometimes refer to these or similar types of abortions using obscure, clinical-sounding euphemisms such as "Dilation and Extraction" (D&X), or "intact D&E" (IDE) which mask the realities of how the abortions are actually performed. 69 This procedure is used to abort women who are 20 to 32 weeks pregnant—or even later into pregnancy. (Many babies born at 23 weeks (gestational age) or more survive. 70 This procedure eliminates that possibility).

Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist reaches into the uterus, grabs the unborn baby's leg with forceps, and pulls the baby into the birth canal, except for the head, which is deliberately kept just inside the womb. (At this point in a partial-birth abortion, the baby is alive.) Then the abortionist jams scissors into the back of the baby's skull and spreads the tips of the scissors apart to enlarge the wound. After removing the scissors, a suction catheter is inserted into the skull and the baby's brains are sucked out. The collapsed head is then removed from the uterus. 71

Partial-birth abortion is a particularly gruesome procedure. So much so that turned an abortion clinic nurse into an advocate for unborn children. You can read Brenda Pratt Shafer's personal story for yourself.

Surgical, Second and Third Trimester: Hysterotomy
Similar to the Caesarian Section, this method is generally used if chemical methods such as salt poisoning or prostaglandins fail (see pp. 14-16). Incisions are made in the abdomen and uterus and the baby, placenta, and amniotic sac are removed. 72 Babies are sometimes born alive during this procedure, raising questions as to how and when these infants are killed and by whom.

This method offers the highest risk to the health of the mother, because the potential for rupture during subsequent pregnancies is appreciable. 73 In the first two years of legal abortion in NewYork State, the death rate from hysterotomy was 271.2 deaths per 100,000 cases. 74


What is "emergency contraception?" Or 
"the morning-after pill"? Does it cause an abortion?

The "morning-after pill" (also called Emergency Contraception) can cause an abortion. This pill is similar to normal prescription birth-control pills except for the dosage. The "morning-after pill" is composed of a double dose (or more) of progesterone or estrogen (or some combination of these two steroids). Depending upon when during a woman's monthly cycle the "morning-after pill" is taken, several outcomes are possible.

First, the women taking the pill may not have been ovulating at the time of intercourse and therefore whether she takes the pill or not she is not pregnant.

Second, the "morning-after pill" may disrupt the woman's normal menstrual cycle and delay ovulation (the release of an egg). This would prevent the egg and sperm from uniting and therefore have a contraceptive effect.

Third, the pill may simply slow ovulation and retard the egg's release. Again this would have a contraceptive effect because egg and sperm never unite.

The fourth possible effect is an abortion. This happens when the egg and sperm have already united at the time the "morning-after pill" is taken. The pill causes the lining of the uterus to become irritated and it will not allow the newly created human to attach. If he or she cannot attached (or implant) the mother's body rejects the tiny baby and he or she will die. This is a chemical abortion. Abortion is always the killing of an innocent human life which has been created as the result of fertilization (the uniting of egg and sperm).


Can abortion cause complications and risks for the mother?

Yes. Women who abort their babies expose themselves to multiple risk factors. Despite the use of local anesthesia, a full 97% of women having abortions reported experiencing pain during the procedure, 81 which more than a third described as "intense," 82 "severe" or "very severe." 83 Compared to other pains, researchers have rated the pain from abortion as more painful than a bone fracture, about the same as cancer pain, though not as painful as an amputation. 84

Studies also reveal that younger women tend to find abortion more painful than do older adults, 85 and that patients typically found abortion more painful than their doctors or counselors expected. 86 The use of more powerful general anesthetics can reduce the pain, but significantly increases the risk of cervical injury or uterine perforation. 87 

Complications such as cervical lacerations 88 and uterine, bladder or bowel perforations 89 are common, as are bleeding, hemorrhage, 90 menstrual disturbance, 91 inflammation of the reproductive organs, 92 and serious infection. 93 

Even more harmful long term physical complications from abortion may surface later. For example, overzealous currettage can damage the lining of the uterus and lead to permanent infertility. 94 Overall, women who have abortions face an increased risk of ectopic (tubal) pregnancy 95 and a more than doubled risk of future sterility. 96 Perhaps most important of all, the risk of these sorts of complications, along with risks of future miscarriage, increase with each subsequent abortion. 97 

The particular type and severity of complications depend a great deal on the experience of the abortionist and the particular abortion method used. Given that most abortions are performed at abortion clinics rather than by a woman's regular ob-gyn, 98 the doctor performing the abortion is likely to be a stranger of whose skill and experience a woman knows very little. 99 Such things as inadequate gynecologic examination prior to the operation, the carelessness of the abortionist, or the retention of fetal and placental tissue can all bring on complications. These kinds of complications can usually be treated and generally subside (though not always), 100 but few women ever return to the clinics for crucial postoperative examinations. 101

There is strong evidence that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. A study of more than 1,800 women appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1994, found that over all, women having abortions increased their risk of getting breast cancer before age 45 by 50%. For women under 18 with no previous pregnancies, having an abortion after the 8th week increased the risk of breast cancer 800%. Women with a family history of breast cancer fared even worse. All 12 women participating in the study who had abortions before 18 and had a family history of breast cancer themselves got cancer before age 45. 102 

Of course, death of the mother is the most serious of all complications. Over 250 women have died from legal abortions since 1973. 103 The risk of death increases according to the duration of pregnancy 104 and the complexity of the abortion technique employed. 105 

* In this discussion, most abortions referred to are surgical abortions. Chemical methods being relatively new and rare, most previous studies have usually tracked only complications for surgical methods. Complication rates for chemical techniques may be somewhat different; for example, while there is little risk of perforation or laceration with a chemical methodic pain and bleeding will probably exceed that of surgical methods. Chemical methods also bring unique risks of their own. 


Does abortion raise the risks for breast cancer?

According to the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, 27 out of 33 worldwide studies have implicated abortion as a risk factor for breast cancer.

Dr. Joel Brind, President of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute in Poughkeepsie, New York, has conservatively estimated that an additional 5,000 to 8,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed yearly among American women because of previous abortions and that in twenty years there will be an additional 40,000 to 50,000 cases diagnosed yearly.

Karen Malec, coordinator of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer reported that "The average American woman already faces a 12% risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Abortion elevates that risk by 30% for the general population. Based on a 25% mortality rate and approximately 800,000 women who have abortions yearly, it is estimated that 1 in 100 women die of breast cancer due to their abortions." 1

Reference Notes:

1 Source of information about abortion/breast cancer risk found at: an international women's organization whose purpose is to protect the health and save the lives of women by educating and providing information on abortion as a risk factor for breast cancer.

Does abortion raise the risks for mental health problems?

Women who undergo abortions are at greater risk for mental health problems in subsequent years, according to a new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society (APS) held in June, 2000 in Miami Beach, Florida.

The study looked at California women who received state funded medical care and who either had an abortion or gave birth in 1989. Researchers examined the women's medical records for up to six years afterwards and found that women who had undergone abortions had significantly higher mental health claims than women who had given birth. Women who had abortions were more than twice as likely to have two to nine treatments for mental health as women who carried to term.

According to the authors, Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a psychology professor at the University of the South and Dr. David Reardon, director of the Elliot Institute, "the data presented in this report suggest that when compared to birth, abortion is associated with a significantly greater risk for psychological disturbance among low income women." Reardon said that the study avoided many problems that have plagued other post-abortion studies in the past, such as small sample sizes and a limited time frame. "Most other studies have only followed women for a few months at most," Reardon said. "However, the few long-term studies that have been done shows that many women's problems don't start cropping up until at least a year or so after the abortion, often when they reach the expected due date of the child or the anniversary of the abortion itself. By examining a larger period of time, this study was able to get a broader look at the association between abortion and subsequent mental health problems."

Yet another new study that was presented at the APS conference by researchers from the University at Albany in New York found that teens who had children were as well or better adjusted than teens who did not have children. Compared to their non-parenting peers, the teen moms in the study had fewer mental disorders, reported less stress, were less likely than their peers to engage in denial as a coping strategy, were less dependent on social support and reported greater satisfaction with the support they did receive.

"These two studies clearly contradict the popular notion that abortion benefits women in general and teens in particular," said Reardon. "Giving birth to a child is a naturally maturing experience. By contrast, abortion increases the risk of subsequent psychological problems, including a six fold higher risk of substance abuse as reported in one of our previous studies." 1

Reference Notes:

1 From: The Pro-Life Infonet - Subject: Women's Mental Health Declines After Abortion While Childbirth Helps - Source: Elliot Institute; July 26, 2000 Citations: Coleman, P. K., & Reardon, D. (June, 2000). "State-funded abortions vs.deliveries: A comparison of subsequent mental health claims over six years." Poster presented at the American Psychological Society, 12th Annual Convention, Miami, FL. Hanna, D. R., Lowe K. A., Leslie F. H. (June, 2000) "Pregnancy, coping strategies and stress: Are teenage mothers really more at-risk?" Poster presented at the American Psychological Society, 12th Annual Convention, Miami, FL.

Does abortion raise the risks for substance abuse?

Women who have an abortion are five times more likely to report subsequent substance abuse compared to women who carry to term, according to a study published in a recent issue of the prestigious American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. The study was authored by Elliot Institute director Dr. David Reardon and Dr. Philip Ney, a British Columbia psychiatrist who specializes in post-abortion counseling. According to the authors, while the connection between abortion and substance abuse has never been widely publicized, this is at least the 16th published study connecting a history of abortion to subsequent drug or alcohol abuse.

This latest study was drawn from a national reproductive history survey of a random sample of 700 women, from 24 to 44 years of age. "Even if we assume the lowest statistical range for the relative risk, our results would indicate that each year, in the United States alone, there are at least 150,000 new cases of abortion-related substance abuse," Reardon said. "Given the range of relative risks identified, the actual number could be as high as 500,000 cases per year."

Ney believes these findings are especially disturbing since substance abuse is a leading cause of neonatal death and malformation in subsequent planned pregnancies. "I have found that women with unresolved grief or trauma related to a prior abortion are more likely to feel anxiety, fear, and depression during subsequent pregnancies," Ney said. "If they are unable to legally obtain mood-altering drugs with a prescription, many of these women resort to alcohol or illegal drugs as a means of suppressing unwanted feelings about their past abortions."

Ney's clinical experience treating women is confirmed by several previously published studies that have documented much higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse among pregnant women who have a history of abortion. Substance abuse appears to be just one of several self-destructive tendencies related to abortion, said Reardon.

While many proponents of abortion dispute a causal link between abortion and substance abuse, Ney insists that his own experience in successfully treating abortion trauma proves that this connection is far more than a statistical fluke.

"I have treated women with a long history of self-destructive behavior who have only made progress in overcoming these tendencies after they had completed counseling for abortion trauma," says Ney. "Many other therapists have had the same experience. Consistently good results can only come from the right diagnosis and the right treatment." 1

Reference Notes:

1 The above from: The Pro-Life Infonet - Subject: Substance Abuse Five Times Higher After Abortion - Source: Elliot Institute Press Release, March 20, 2000

Does abortion raise the risks for death by suicide?

Self-destructive tendencies appear related to abortion, says Elliot Institute director Dr. David Reardon and Dr. Philip Ney, a British Columbia psychiatrist who specializes in post-abortion counseling. A recent major study of death certificates and government medical records in Finland has shown that the risk of death from suicide is six times higher for women who have had an abortion compared to women who gave birth. The researchers also found that the risk of dying from accidents and homicide was four and twelve times higher, respectively, in the year following an abortion.

According to Reardon, the increase in accidental or homicide-related deaths among post-abortive women is most likely due to risk-taking behavior that is an expression of self-destructive or suicidal tendencies. It is still unclear whether abortion causes self-destructive behavior or whether it simply aggravates previously existing self-destructive tendencies.

"Clearly, women with a propensity to risk-taking may be more likely to become pregnant and perhaps more likely to choose abortion," Reardon said. "In such cases, while abortion may not be the primary cause of their problems, it may contribute to their psychological deterioration. On the other hand, it is also clear that some women who were not previously self-destructive have become so as a direct result of their traumatic abortion experiences. At this time, however, we have no way of knowing how many women fall into each of these two categories." 1

Reference Notes:

1 The above from: The Pro-Life Infonet - Subject: Substance Abuse Five Times Higher After Abortion Source: Elliot Institute Press Release, March 20, 2000

What about the risk of developing post-abortion syndrome?

Clinical research provides a growing body of scientific evidence that having an abortion can cause psychological harm to some women. "Women who report negative after-effects from abortion know exactly what their problem is," observed psychologist Wanda Franz, Ph.D., in a March 1989 congressional hearing on the impact of abortion."They report horrible nightmares of children calling them from trash cans, of body parts, and blood," Franz told the Congressional panel. "When they are reminded of the abortion," Franz testified, "the women re-experienced it with terrible psychological pain . . . they feel worthless and victimized because they failed at the most natural of human activities – the role of being a mother." l06

The emergence of chemical abortion methods poses a new possibly more devastating psychological threat. Unlike surgical abortions, in which women rarely see the cut up body parts, women having chemical abortions often do see the complete tiny bodies of their unborn children and are even able to distinguish the child's developing hands, eyes, etc. l07

So traumatic is this for some women that both patients and researchers involved in these studies have recommended that women unprepared for the experience of seeing their aborted children not take the drugs. l08 Long-term psychological implications of this experience have not been studied.

Researchers on the after-effects of abortion have identified a pattern of psychological problems known as Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS). Women suffering PAS may experience drug and alcohol abuse, personal relationship disorders, sexual dysfunction, repeated abortions, communications difficulties, damaged self-esteem, and even attempt suicide. Post-Abortion Syndrome appears to be a type of pattern of denial which may last for five to ten years before emotional difficulties surface. 109

Now that some clinicians have established that there is an identifiable pattern to PAS, they face a new challenge. What is still unknown is how widespread psychological problems are among women who have had abortions. A Los Angeles Times survey in 1989 found that 56% of women who had abortions felt guilty about it, and 26% "mostly regretted the abortion.'' 110 Clinicians' current goal should be to conduct extensive national research studies to obtain data on the psychological aftereffects of abortion. 111

With the growing awareness of Post Abortion Syndrome in scholarly and clinical circles, women with PAS can expect to receive a more sensitive appreciation of the suffering that they endure. Fortunately, a growing network of peer support groups of women who have had abortions offers assistance to women who are experiencing emotional difficulties.

Many post-abortive women have also been speaking out publicly about their own abortion experiences and the healing process they went through. Women or family members seeking information about this particular outreach can contact American Victims of Abortion, 419 7th Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C., 20004.

The trauma of Post-Abortion Syndrome is real. Read Phillipa Peck's Personal Story "Remembering the Grief of Abortion."

Reference Notes:

Related text above and subsequent references from the booklet Abortion – Some Medical Facts, April 1998, National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund, Washington, D.C. Used with permission. More information can be found at the National Right to Life web site

106 Wanda Franz, Ph.D., testimony, U.S. Congress, Heuse, Human Resourees and Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, Hearing on Medical and Psychological Impact of Abortion, 101st Congress, Ist Session, March 16, 1989 (Hereafter referred to as Hearing on the Impact of Ahortion, 1989). See also Vincent Rue, Ph.D., testimony, U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Constitutional Amendments Relating to Abortion, R.J. Res. 18, S.J. Res. 19 and S.J. Res. 110, 97th Congress, Ist Session, Vol. 1, pp. 3329-378; David C. Reardon, Aborted Women, Silent No More (Chicago: Loyola University Press and Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1987); Anne Speekhard, Ph.D., The Psycho-Social Stress Following Abortion (Kansas City, MO: Sheed and Ward, 1987); and David Mall and Walter F. Watts, M.D., eds., Psychological Aspects of Abortion (Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1979).

107 Debra Rosenberg, Michele Ingrassia, and Sharon Begley, "Blood and Tears," Newsweek, September 18, 1995, p. 68; Louise Levanthes, "Listening to RU 486," Health January/February 1995, p. 88. See also Mary Ann Castle, et al, "Listening and Learning from Women About Mifepristone: Implications for Counseling and Health Education," Women 's Health Issues, Vol. 5, No. 3 (Fall 1995), pp. 132-133.

108 Philip J. Hiits, "Clinic Trials of French Abortion Pill Begin in U.S.," New York Times, October 28, 1994, p. A28; also Hausknecht, speaking on Donahue, cited in note 41, p. 6.

109 See note 106. See also Vincent M. Rue, Ph.D., Anne Speckhard, Ph.D., James Rogers, Ph.D., and Wanda Franz, Ph.D., "The Psychological Aftermath of Abonion: A White Paper," presented to C. Everett Koop, M.D., Surgeon General of the U.S., September 15, 1987, enclosure to testimony of Wanda Franz, Ph.D., Hearing on Impact of Abortion, 1989, cited in note 106.

110 George Skelton, "Abortion often causes guilt, poll finds," The Sacramento Bee, March 19, 19S9, p. A7.

111 Letter from C. Everett Koop, M.D., Sc.D., U.S. Surgeon General to President Ronald Reagan, January 9, 1989. 


Should the father of the baby have a say?

No one can force you to abort your baby. Similarly, no one can keep you from aborting your baby if that is what you choose to do. Even if the father of the baby does not want the abortion, he has no legal ability to save his child.

Of course, you must ask yourself the most important question: What is the right thing to do?

If you are not married to the father of the child, but you are hoping he will give you financial assistance (child support), ask him to voluntarily establish paternity when the child is born. From that point, his financial support (and visitation rights) can be established.

If you discover that the father is unwilling to take financial responsibility for the baby, you should obtain as much information about him as you can. For example, get his full name and address, phone numbers, social security number and his parents' names and address(s). This information will not only help you obtain child support from him, it will also be helpful for the child when he or she has grown up and begins to ask questions.


Where is my local pregnancy counseling center?


·        Bethany Christian Services: 1-800-BETHANY (8am-12pm EST, 7 days/week)

·        Several Sources Foundation: 1-800-662-2678 (Early to Late)

24 Hour Pregnancy Hotlines

·        National Life Center 1-800-848-LOVE

·        Birthright: 1-800-550-4900

Hotlines that Refer to Places for Help

·        Birthright: 1-800-550-4900 (24 Hour)

·        Catholic Charities: 1-800-CARE-002

·        CareNet: 1-800-395-HELP

·        The National Crisis Pregnancy Helpline 1-800-521-5530 (24 Hour)

·        The Nurturing Network: 1-800-TNN-4MOM (M-F, 9-5)

Adoption Information

·        Bethany Christian Services: 1-800-BETHANY (8am-12pm EST, 7 days/week)

International Hotlines

·        Birthright International 1-800-550-4900 (24 Hour)

·        National Life Center 1-800-848-LOVE (24 Hour)