Abortion Complications

Medical Complications Due To Abortion

It's Your Body. Teens are the most vulnerable to complications from abortion.

The following quotations are taken directly from medical and psychological studies on teen abortions.

Abortion Complications
About 20 per cent of all abortions taking place in the U.S. today are performed on teens. Teenage abortion has been linked to a number of physical and psychological problems, including drug and alcohol abuse, suicide attempts and suicidal ideation, and other self-destructive behaviors.

Compared to women who abort at an older age, women who abort as teens are significantly more likely to report more severe emotional injuries related to their abortions. This finding is supported by the fact that women who aborted as teens participate in disproportionately large numbers in post-abortion counseling programs.

Amy R. Sobie and David C. Reardon, PhD, "Detrimental Effects of Adolescent Abortion," The Post Abortion Review, Vol. 9, No. 1, Jan.-Mar. 2001

Types Of Physical Complications

The number and types of physical complications resulting from abortion are as diverse as the various abortion methods. Depending upon the type of abortion performed, physical complications can be as follows:

- Cervical tearing and laceration from the instruments.
- Perforation of the uterus by instruments. This may require major surgery, including hysterectomy.
- Scarring of the uterine lining by suction tubing, curettes, or other instruments.
- Infection, local and systemic.
- Hemorrhage and shock, especially if the uterine artery is torn.
- Anesthesia toxicity from both general or local anesthesia, resulting in possible convulsions, cardiorespiratory arrest, and in extreme cases, death.
- Retained tissue, indicated by cramping, heavy bleeding, and infection.
- Postabortal syndrome, referring to an enlarged, tender and soft uterus retaining blood clots.
- Failure to recognize an ectopic pregnancy. This could lead to the rupture of a fallopian tube, hemorrhage, and resulting infertility or death, if treatment is not provided in time.

Types Of Physical/Emotional Complications

Some women experience immediate psychological problems from abortion. Other women repress feelings of guilt, delaying emotional reactions sometimes for several years and oftentimes triggered by their first planned pregnancy.


These complications include:

- Sad mood.
- Sudden and uncontrollable crying episodes.
- Deterioration of self-concept.
- Sleep, appetite and sexual disturbances.
- Reduced motivation.
- Disruption in interpersonal relationships.
- Extreme guilt and anxiety.
- Psychological "numbing."
- Depression and thoughts of suicide.

New Studies Connecting Abortion To Broader Problems:

Suicide - Compared to pregnant women who had their babies, pregnant women who aborted were 6-7 times more likely to die of suicide.
D. C. Reardon et al, "Deaths Associated With Pregnancy Outcome: A Record Linkage Study of Low Income Women," Southern Medical Journal 95(8):834-41, Aug. 2002

Substance Abuse - Women who abort are five times more likely to report subsequent drug or alcohol abuse than women who deliver.
American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 2000

Among women who had unintended first pregnancies, those who had abortions were more likely to report, an average of four years later, more frequent and recent use of alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine than women who gave birth.
American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 2004

Psychiatric Treatment - A review of the medical records of 56,741 California Medicaid patients revealed that women who had abortions were 160% more likely than delivering women to be hospitalized for psychiatric treatment in the first 90 days following abortion or delivery. Psychiatric treatment rates remained significantly higher for at least four years.
Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2003

In a study of U.S. and Russian women who had abortions, 65% of U.S. women experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, which they attributed to their abortions. 60% of the American women reported that they felt "part of me died" after their abortions.
V. M. Rue et al, "Induced Abortion and Traumatic Stress: A Preliminary Comparison of American and Russian Women," Medical Science Monitor 10(10):SR5-16, 2004

Infertility and Life-Threatening Reproductive Risks - Abortion can damage reproductive organs and cause long-term and sometimes permanent problems that can put future pregnancies at risk. Women who have abortions are more likely to experience ectopic pregnancies, infertility, hysterectomies, stillbirths, miscarriages, and premature births than women who have not had abortions.
T. Strahan, Detrimental Effects of Abortion: An Annotated Bibliography with Commentary (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2002, 168-206

Subsequent Children Negatively Affected - The children of women who have had abortions have less supportive home environments and more behavioral problems than the children of women without a history of abortion. This finding supports the view that abortion may negatively affect bonding with subsequent children, disturb mothering skills, and otherwise impact a woman's psychological stability.
D. C. Reardon et al, "Psychiatric Admissions of Low-Income Women Following Abortions and Childbirth," Canadian Medical Association Journal 168(10):May 13, 2003

One study found that women with a history of induced abortions were 144% more likely to physically abuse their children than women who had not had an abortion.
Priscilla K. Coleman et al, "Associations Between Voluntary and Involuntary Forms of Perintal Loss and Child Maltreatment Among Low Income Mothers," Acta Paediatrica 94, 2005

Abortion is linked with increased violent behavior, alcohol and drug abuse, replacement pregnancies, depression, and poor maternal bonding with later children. These factors are closely associated with child abuse and would appear to confirm a link between unresolved post-abortion trauma and subsequent child abuse.
Reardon, Aborted Women, Silent No More (Springfield, IL:Acorn Books, 2002) 129-30

Teenager Dies After Taking Abortion Pill:

San Francisco (AP)- Holly Marie Patterson went to a Planned Parenthood clinic to quietly consider ways to handle a life change she wasn't ready for. One week later, the 18-year-old lay dying on an emergency room table, the victim of complications after she took the abortion pill.

Her death has already caused her grief-stricken father to hope that the tragedy will encourage other women considering abortion to seek support, especially from their families.

Holly Patterson, who lived in the San Francisco suburb of Livermore, visited a Planned Parenthood clinic Sept. 10 to take the pill. She followed the prescribed procedure for using RU-486, taking two more pills at home in the following days.

After experiencing bleeding and cramps so severe that she was unable to walk, her boyfriend rushed her to the hospital, where she was given painkillers and sent home. She was back in the hospital a few days later and died Sept. 17.

Monty Patterson said he learned from an attending physician at the hospital that she had died after a massive infection caused by fragments of the fetus left inside her uterus caused her to go into septic shock.