Trisha's Final Paper

Trisha Dea
Professor Rachel Robson
Due April 25, 2008

The Untold Side of Abortions

Imagine that over eight hundred thousand people were killed for no reason, and no one acknowledged that it had even happened. They just disappeared as if they never existed at all, and no one was notified. The subject was not to be discussed. People went on with their lives. Now, imagine that all those people were killed by their very own mothers.
Actually this has happened. In 2004 there were a total of 839,226 reported legal induced abortions in the United States (Strauss et al. 2004). This means there were 238 abortions for every 1,000 babies born in the U.S. in 2004 (Strauss et al. 2004). The women with the highest percentage of reported abortions were unmarried, white, and under the age of 25 (Strauss et al. 2004). Since 1973, when abortion was legalized in the United States, abortion ratios have been higher for adolescents under the age of fifteen than for any other age group (Strauss et al. 2004). Many of these women are young and they don’t know enough about abortions to make an informed decision. There are many risks and consequences that women face when they choose to have an abortion. Some of them are obvious, while others are unknown. Ninety percent of women surveyed who have had abortions say they didn’t know enough information to make an entirely informed decision (Leadership U, 2002). Not only can there be physical consequences of abortion, but there are also psychological and economic consequences that may result. If women knew more about the risks and complications they faced getting an abortion less women would be willing to go through with the procedure.
The physical consequences of abortion can be different depending on the person and the situation. Different procedures have different risks and consequences. Some physical risks of having an abortion include heavy bleeding, infection, incomplete abortions, sepsis, damage to the cervix, scarring of the uterine lining, perforation of the uterus, damage to internal organs, complications with anesthesia, and even death (Pregnancy Centers, 2007).There is an overall rate of 29.1 complications per every 1000 abortion procedures. Of those complications, 27.4 per 1000 were caused by physicians and 30.8 per 1000 were caused by physician assistants (Freedman et. al, 1986). In the United States abortion is the fifth leading cause of maternal death (Straight-Talk, 2008).
Serious complications with early abortions occur in one out of every 100 abortions (Pregnancy Centers, 2002). Serious complications with later abortions occur in one out of every 50 abortions (Pregnancy Centers, 2002). One of the common complications is heavy bleeding (Pregnancy Centers, 2002). This may be a result of a number of things including damage to the cervix or perforation of the uterus (Pregnancy Centers, 2002). Other complications include damage to nearby organs like the bladder and bowel, complications from and reactions to the anesthesia used, and infections caused by tools used and accidental incomplete abortions (Pregnancy Centers, 2002). Some side effects of abortions may include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, and bleeding (Pregnancy Centers, 2002).
Not only are there the immediate side effects, but there are also long term side effects. Immediate complications occur in 6.1 out of 1,000 abortions, while delayed complications are more common occurring in 23.2 out of 1,000 abortions (Freedman et. al, 1986). Other, more long-term, problems can also result from abortion. Women who have had one or more abortions have a greater chance of having premature babies (Pregnancy Centers, 2002). Studies have also shown that there is some connection between abortion and breast cancer (Brewster et. al, 2005).Women who have had an abortion have an increased risk of cervical, ovarian, and liver cancers (Straight-Talk, 2008). Women who have had abortions have an increased risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (Straight-Talk, 2008). Women who have children after they have an abortion have a greater risk of having a child with a disability (Straight-Talk, 2008). Up to two percent of women who have abortions may suffer life threatening complications (Straight-Talk, 2008).
Not all women who have abortions suffer from serious physical complications, but many women who get abortions have some form of psychological problems (National Right to Life Committee, 2004). Between nineteen and sixty percent of women who have had abortions develop a pattern of psychological problems called Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS) (Straight-Talk, 2008). It appears as a form of denial that lasts anywhere from five to ten years before the emotional problems even occur (National Right to Life Committee, 2004). Women who suffer from PAS may experience some form of substance abuse (National Right to Life Committee, 2004). They may suffer relationship disorders, repeated abortions, damaged self-esteem, sexual dysfunction, communication difficulties, and may even attempt suicide (National Right to Life Committee, 2004). The women may even suffer overwhelming guilt and regret during later pregnancies (Straight-Talk, 2008).
Women are not the only parties that suffer psychological problems from abortions. Fathers may experience depression, regret, and guilt (Straight-Talk, 2008). Increased rates of domestic violence, child abuse, and divorces are seen with women who have had abortions (Straight-Talk, 2008). Children who are born from a mother who has had an abortion sometimes feel that something is missing. They may also suffer psychological problems because of the abortion, even if the abortion happened years before they were born. Some children may form guilt called “survivors’ guilt,” and wonder why they got to live but their sibling did not (Pavone, 2008). They may also be anxious and fell like something bad is going to happen to them (Pavone, 2008). Or they may form “Pseudo-Secret Collusion,” a psychological condition where the child wants to know what happened to the unborn baby, but is too afraid to ask (Pavone, 2008). Some children distrust their parents when they find out that they have had an abortion, and the children think that the parents can’t love them if they didn’t love the baby that they killed (Pavone, 2008). The children may also form a dislike for children due to the fact that they are unsure of their identity and existence (Pavone, 2008).
Not only is the mother and the family of the mother affected, but there is also an economic effect of abortion. In the last twenty years there have been 28.5 million potential Americans killed by abortions (Podles, 1996). If fewer babies are born then there are fewer consumers, and therefore less of a demand for goods and services, which means fewer jobs (Antkowiak, 2001). Abortion also slows the growth of the labor force (Antkowiak, 2001). It undermines advancement of technology by denying the world the ideas, uniqueness, and creativity of those potential human beings (Antkowiak, 2001). Abortion also creates a crisis in Social Security by decreasing the amount of young people to take care of the elderly. As the work force decreases so does the amount of people who contribute to Social Security (Antkowiak, 2001). Abortion can also create a problem with the tax structure of the U.S., because if these children were born then they would pay the money back for the birth and more in taxes on income throughout their lifetime (Antkowiak, 2001).
Women know when they go in to have an abortion that the procedure will kill what could potentially be a baby. Most of these women do not realize, or are not usually informed on how the procedure is done. There are many forms of abortion and they are cause different effects on the unborn child. Three of the abortion procedures include suction, saline injections, and dilation and curettage (Right to Life Association).
The suction procedure is what it sounds like. The baby is sucked out of the body in pieces. First the abortionist numbs the cervix, and then inserts a hollow plastic tube with a knife-like tip on it into the uterus (Right to Life Association). That is connected to a pump. The pump that is used has twenty-nine times more suction power than a household vacuum (Right to Life Association). Once the baby’s body is sucked out in pieces, the placenta is cut out and the scraps are sucked into a bottle (Right to Life Association). Since the head of the baby is too big to fit out the tube an instrument is used to compress and remove the head (Samuel, 2005).
Unlike suction, saline injections don’t tear the baby to pieces. Saline injections or salt poisonings are usually done after the first trimester (Wang et. al, 1973). For this procedure the abortionist injects a strong salt-like solution into the amniotic sac (National Right to Life Committee, 1995). The baby struggles as it swallows and takes in the solution and is poisoned (Wang et. al, 1973). It takes over an hour to kill the baby (Right to Life Association). Then the mother delivers a, usually dead, baby a day or two later (Right to Life Association). These dead babies look red and glazed over because the solution burns off the outer layer of the baby’s skin (Right to Life Association).
Dilation and Curettage is similar to suction. The abortionist inserts a loop-shaped knife into the uterus and cuts up the placenta and baby into pieces and then scrapes it all out into a basin (Right to Life Association). This can only be done in the first ten weeks of pregnancy (Right to Life Association). This procedure is performed in 87 percent of all reported abortions (Strauss et al. 2004).
Not only do these procedures kill the unborn child, but these procedures cause the baby to suffer. When abortions are done the baby doesn’t get anesthesia to stop the pain, so they feel everything that is happening to them. Fetal awareness of noxious stimuli, which is needed for them to perceive the feeling as painful, requires functional thalamocortical connections (Lee et. al, 2005). These fibers start to appear between 23 and 30 weeks of gestational age (Lee et. al, 2005). Therefore babies start to feel pain during the 29th or 30th week of gestation (Lee et. al, 2005). So during abortions, even if the mother isn’t feeling any pain, the baby can feel itself being torn apart by a vacuum, poisoned, and cut into pieces.
Surely no women would want to cause such harm to her own child, much less herself. If women were more informed of the risks and complications that come with having an abortion, then they would be less likely to go down that path. Since most of the women who get abortions are under the age of 25, and they don’t think about the risks that they may face, they tend to focus on how much their lives will change if this “problem” is not taken care of. They aren’t aware of the new problems that will arise from their “solution.” They just look at the situation at hand and the short-term problems. They don’t look ahead on how this situation could affect them in the long-term. These young women need to be better informed.
There has been a gradual decrease in the number of abortions performed since the peak of abortion ratios in 1990 (Strauss et al. 2004). Between the years of 2003 and 2004 there was a 1.1 percent decline in the abortion rate (Strauss et al. 2004). This decrease could be caused by the fact that women know more about abortion risks and complications now than they did ten years ago. Hopefully in the future, they will know even more. Because when abortion is really understood, it will stop.

Works Cited

Antkowiak, Laura. 2001. “What Do 40 Million Lost Lives Mean?” National Right to Life. Retrieved on April 15, 2008. From:
Brewster, D., Stockton, D., Dobbie, R., Bull, D., Berval, V. 2005 April. “Risk of Breast Cancer after miscarriage or induced abortion: a Scottish record linkage case-control study.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 59(4):283-287.
Freedman, M.A., Jillson, D.A., Coffin, R.R., Novick, L.F. 1986 May. “Comparison of complication rates in first trimester abortions performed by physician assistants and physicians.” American Journal of Public Health. 76(5): 550-554.
Leadership U. July 2002. “Physical and Psychological Complications of Abortion- The Second Victims of Abortion.” Leadership U. Retrieved on April 16, 2008. From:
Lee, Susan J., JD; Ralston, Henry J. Peter, MD; Drey, Eleanor A.,MD, EdM; Partidge, John Colin, MD, MPH; Rosen, Mark A., MD. August 2005. “Fetal Pain: A systematic multidisciplinary review of the evidence.” The Journal of the American Medical Association. 294:947-954.
NRLC. 1995. “Abortion Techniques: Instillation; Abortion: Some Medical Facts.” National Right to Life. Retrieved on April 26, 2008. From:
NRLC. 2004. “Is Abortion Safe?-Psychological Consequences, Abortion: Some Medical Facts.” National Right to Life. Retrieved on March 27, 2008. From:
Pavone, Frank. April 2008. “Pastoral advice when dealing with young people who find out that a sibling had been aborted.” Priests for Life. Retrieved on April 16, 2008. From:
Podles, Leon J. April 1996. “The 'big tent' case against abortion - economic costs of abortion – Column.” Insight on the News.
Pregnancy Centers. 2007. “Learn About Abortion Procedures and Abortion Risks.” Considering Abortion? Retrieved on April 15, 2008. From:
Right to Life Association. “Abortion Methods; Surgical Abortions.” Niagara Region Right to Life Association. Retrieved on April 26, 2008. From:
Samuel. 2005. “Abortion: Methods and Consequences.” Centro Gnóstico Anael. Retrieved on April 9, 2008. From:
Straight-Talk. January 2008. “Abortion Consequences.” Straight-talk. Retrieved on April 14, 2008. From:
Strauss, Lilo T., MA, Gamble, Sonya B., MS, Parker, Wilda Y., Cook, Douglas A., MBIS, Zane, Suzanne B., DVM, Hamdan, Saeed, MD, PhD. Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. November 23, 2007 “Abortion Surveillance – United States, 2004.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 56(SS09); 1-33.
Wang, J., Roufa, A., Moore, T.J., Tovell, H.M., Pierson Jr., R.N. September 1973. “Body composition studies in the human fetus after intra-amniotic injection of hypertonic saline.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 117 (1): 57-63.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License