In case more proof were needed that when liberals use the term “pro-choice,” what they really mean is “pro-abortion,” a report released recently by Democrats on the House Government Reform Committee alleges pregnancy resource centers that receive federal funding presented “misleading information” and “grossly misrepresented” the health risks related to abortion.
What health risks were reported? Breast cancer, infertility, and stress disorders — all negative outcomes linked to abortion by numerous studies in respected, peer-reviewed academic journals. Putting aside the fact that committee aides posing as pregnant 17-year-olds spoke to a grand total of 23 pregnancy centers (not exactly a large sample size), the fact is that negative physical and emotional responses to abortion can be both profound and far-reaching.
While the report alleges, “there is a medical consensus that induced abortion does not cause an increased risk of breast cancer,” there are at least eight medical organizations that acknowledge abortion leaves women with an increase in cancer-vulnerable tissue. In fact, the National Cancer Institute website clearly states that, “the possible relationship between abortion and breast cancer has been examined in over thirty published studies since 1957. Some studies have reported statistically significant evidence of an increased risk of breast cancer in women who have had abortions, while others have merely suggested an increased link. Other studies have found no increase in risk among women who had an interrupted pregnancy.”
Although the committee report takes issue with the fact that some of the pregnancy centers claimed abortion “could” hurt a woman’s chances of having children in the future, numerous studies have demonstrated a strong link. In fact, Russia, which aborts nearly twice as many babies as it births, has linked its soaring infertility rate (13% among married women) to their sky-high abortion rate. Vladimir Serov, chief gynecologist at the Health Ministry, recently told the Washington Post that abortions are one of the primary causes of infertility in Russia.
While the report states “Research shows that significant psychological stress after an abortion is no more common than after birth,” there has in fact been a consensus for years that abortion leads to psychological problems for many women. Back in 1993, in a special issue of the Journal of Social Issues dedicated entirely to research related to the psychological effects of abortion, editor Gregory Wilmoth concluded, “There is now virtually no disagreement among researchers that some women experience negative psychological reactions post-abortion.”
That statement was released at a time when few researchers had taken up the issue of post-abortion trauma. Since then, numerous studies have confirmed a link, including a recent New Zealand study that tracked women for more than three decades and discovered that 42% of women who aborted experienced major depression within the last four years, almost double the rate of those who never became pregnant. What’s more, numerous studies have shown a significant increase in the rate of suicide among women who abort. One study of the entire population of Finland showed women who aborted their first pregnancies were six times as likely to commit suicide as those who gave birth.
Here’s the plain truth about the academic research on the effects of abortion: Some studies have found no causal link between abortion and various negative physical and psychological problems. But at least as many studies have concluded that there is a link, something one hopes the pro-choice crowd would want women to be informed about.
During a committee hearing on the report, Rep. Henry Waxman (D.-Calif.), ranking member on the Government Reform Committee, declared that since Americans are divided on the issue of abortion, “It’s wrong to pour millions of federal dollars into organizations that are providing false information to vulnerable teenagers.” I agree, which is why I wish Waxman and his pro-abortion colleagues would apply the same level of scrutiny before dishing out millions of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion seller and an organization that still maintains that the effects of abortion are “largely positive.”