Abortion

Abortion for Contraception

Although most abortions are performed for birth control, they are by no means contraceptive. Abortion involves ending the life of a developing human being by a number of surgical and medical techniques.

Abortion as Birth Control

Using abortion as birth control means that abortion is being used as a back-up method to ineffective or improperly used contraception, or no contraception is being used at all. Of women having abortions,

  • 46% did not use contraception during the month they became pregnant
  • 8% never used a method of birth control
  • 47% have had at least one previous abortion

Although there are situations in which abortion is in response to health concerns of the mother or fetus, or in response to pregnancy arising from abuse, the majority of abortions are obtained for social and financial reasons. The primary reasons given for choosing abortion are given below.

  • 75% say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or other responsibilities
  • about 75% say they cannot afford a child
  • 50% do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner

Using abortion as birth control is not healthy physically or psychologically, and is not a mature or responsible approach to sex. Women obtaining abortions are at higher risk for reproductive tract infections, including HIV/AIDS and PID. If you are using abortion as birth control, you are encouraged to rethink your sexual decisions. You might wait on sex until you find a relationship where you could continue a pregnancy should one occur.

Source: AGI, Facts in Brief, Induced Abortion, Revised 1/2008.

Abortion Risks and Side-Effects

There are medical risks associated with surgical abortion which increase with subsequent terminations and gestational age of the fetus. As the physician cannot see what he is doing during the abortion procedure complications may include cervical laceration, perforation of the uterus, and hemorrhaging which can be life-threatening. Medical abortion, performed using mifepristone (formerly RU486) or similar drugs can also result in prolonged hemorrhaging and other long term effects which are not yet known.

Common abortion-related problems include pain, infection, emotional distress, and problems in future pregnancies are possible — including miscarriage and prematurity leading to infant disability. Because of scarring to the uterus which can result from surgical abortion, a woman who has had an abortion is up to five times more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy if she conceives again. Ectopic pregnancy requires surgery to correct and can be fatal if not caught in time. There is also evidence that a first trimester abortion may increase the risk of breast cancer, especially among women who have not had children. Read more about the medical and emotional health effects of abortion...

Dive Deeper

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