New Study Links Abortion to Premature Births

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

A new report published in a prestigious medical journal is confirming that abortion is associated with an increased risk of premature birth in subsequent pregnancies. is reporting that Dr. Jay Iams, professor and vice chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Ohio State Univeristy authored the report which is published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Iams writes, “Contrary to common belief, population-based studies have found that elective pregnancy terminations in the first and second trimesters are associated with a very small but apparently real increase in the risk of subsequent spontaneous pre-term birth.”

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) commented on the study and explained why Dr. Iams said his findings were “contrary to common belief.” This is because  “the association is systematically ignored or severely downplayed by the established authorities in our country. It is not mentioned under complications of induced abortion in any ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) literature we know of. It is not generally taught. It is denied by default.”

But the reality is that there are currently 114 studies showing a statistically significant association between induced abortion and subsequent pre-term birth, AAPLOG said, adding: “And just about none to the contrary.”

AAPLOG criticized Dr. Iams description of the risk as being “very small” saying this is not what the literature says.

“Fifty percent of women have more than one abortion, and the literature finds the pre-term birth risk ratio for them goes to 1.6 to 1.9; that is, a 60 to 90 percent increase in pre-term birth in subsequent pregnancies,” the organization said.

Other studies have shown a 36 percent increased risk for pre-term birth after one abortion and a 93 percent increased risk after two. The risk of children being born with low birth rate also increases by 35 percent in women who have had one abortion and 72 percent after two or more abortions. 

AAPLOG goes on to say that preterm birth is the leading cause of infant mortality in the industrialized world after congenital anomalies. Pre-term infants have a greater risk of suffering from chronic lung disease, sensory deficits, cerebral palsy, cognitive impairments, and behavioral problems. Low birth weight is similarly associated with neonatal mortality and morbidity.

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