As with most things medical, there are many myths and stories surrounding abortion facts. Not many people know exactly what the abortion facts are. It’s no wonder that many girls and women are terrified at the very thought of abortion. Sure, an abortion is nothing to take lightly, but the abortion facts are not as bad as most people make them out to be in their heads. Self-education is the key to empowerment. So here’s setting the record straight. Let’s take a look at some common abortion questions and deal with some straightforward abortion facts from how many abortion statistics to common myths about abortion.
Abortion Facts #1 – Number Of Abortions
So how many abortions occur each year? The number is a little shocking actually.
Abortion facts: Roughly 43 million worldwide. Of these, more than 80% occur in developing nations and the remaining in developed nations. Can you imagine how many that is on a daily basis? More than 100,000 abortions a day.
Now that’s a huge number, by anyone’s standards. And this just includes that abortions that are recorded in hospitals and medical facilities that allowed their data to be used for the formulation of such statistics. There are still plenty of abortions occurring in third world countries which are never recorded because there are no resources for the same, abortions performed by less than qualified doctors which are, again, never recorded, and several family planning clinics or medical facilities that do not want to share their data for the purposes of statistical analysis. So even if we estimate 43 million from the available data, we may be falling short by a pretty wide margin – experts believe by more than 10 million.
But then again, you have to consider that not all these abortions were elective abortions i.e. abortions that are not backed up by any medical necessity but were simply the choice of the mother to terminate the pregnancy. These abortion facts and statistics include spontaneous abortions (miscarriage), therapeutic abortions (mother’s health is in jeopardy or baby has no chance of survival), and elective abortions.
To break it down further, over 93% of all abortions are elective abortions, and more than half of the women in this category are under the age of 25. Of the remaining 7%, only 6% of all abortions are therapeutic, while the remaining 1%, less than that, in fact, are abortions that are conducted because of pregnancies arising out of rape.
Abortion Facts #2 – Is Abortion Legal?
This one’s a toughie. Abortion is now legal in most developed and developing countries of the world. It is seen as a mother’s prerogative to have an abortion since it is her body and her life that is at stake. In some countries, elective abortions are not legal but therapeutic abortions may be conducted if there is enough evidence to show that continuing with the pregnancy will be detrimental to the health of the mother or that the pregnancy will not come to full term or that the baby will be born with severe birth defects.
Finally, there are countries that still have a very strong stand against abortion and will not permit abortions for any reason whatsoever. Some countries have laws that allow abortion, but the individual states themselves are not obligated to prescribe to the national stand and are allowed to create their own laws.
The legality of abortion is ever-changing, depending on the inclinations of the politicos in office. What will never change though is that this is a highly debated topic that transcends mere law and touches up on such delicate issues as religion and ethics, the rights of the baby, life, and a woman’s right of choice. It brings up sensitive questions that not everyone sees eye to eye on. So whether or not abortion is legal, there will always be folks who have their own views about it and will not hesitate to tell you what they think.
Some countries that are changing their laws to keep up with the times find themselves in a bind when pro-life activists conduct peace walks, start fiery campaigns or stage full-on angry riots outside medical planning facilities. Check for abortion laws in your state or nation if you planning on undergoing an abortion, especially an elective one since this is the touchiest of them all. At least if you have the law on your side, you won’t have to worry about being arrested and being kept under lock and key till the baby is born!
Abortion Facts #3 – Deaths From Abortion
Did you know that more than 60,000 women die from abortion each year. That really makes you wonder how safe abortion is if even at this point of medical progress women can die of them. The truth is that the abortion deaths are caused by unsafe abortions that are either conducted by an unqualified person, or in an unhygienic environment, or because of inadequate or non-existent abortion after-care. So while deaths do occur, it is only because the standard safety norms were no met.
We all know that in the past, abortion was not a very safe procedure and yes, women did die of them a lot more back then. But not anymore. Abortion is a routine and very safe procedure and if performed by a qualified doctor there is no likelihood of death or even harm.
So where did this most morose of abortion facts develop and why is it still so embedded in the human psyche? Probably a residue from the days of yore. Abortion has always been a bit of a taboo subject since it was perceived that the only women who would want an abortion were those who were not married and thus could not afford it to be known that they were having sex outside of marriage – another taboo. This led women to approach shady folks in alleys or unqualified doctors who performed hacked-up versions of abortions in unhygienic conditions that were far from clinical, thus leading to very high chances of the women themselves developing an infection which can often lead to death if untended.
Even today, in cultures where getting pregnant before marriage is taboo, uneducated desperate girls and young women will insert coat hangers or other objects into their vagina in an attempt to force terminate the growing foetus. This is not an abortion, it is a hack job. It is obviously not ideal and very likely to lead to several problems for the mother, perhaps even death from infection.
However, most cities and even small towns now have family planning clinics that perform the abortion under very safe conditions. The abortions are carried out by qualified doctors with trained nurses, interns and anesthesiologists at hand. Abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures carried out all over the world. Not to mention that an abortion is actually 10 times safer than actually seeing the pregnancy to full term.
Of course, an abortion is still taxing on the body and pre-existing health conditions may make abortion a not-so-safe option for some women. Always listen to your doctor’s advice about abortion before making the decision to have one. And make sure that you follow abortion aftercare instructions to the T whether it has to do with taking your medication on time or going for a follow-up exam.
Abortion Facts #4 – Will An Abortion Affect Future Pregnancies?
Of all the abortion facts, this is the one most people are confused about and the one that there is more misinformation about than any of the other abortion facts. Since most elective abortions are conducted on women under 25, it is safe to presume that the women having the abortions perhaps want children at some later point in life.
There are already so many risk factors for infertility or problems with getting pregnant, that you really cannot blame women for thinking that abortion might hamper their chances of getting pregnant in the future or create problems in future pregnancies. After all, abortion is messing with the natural functioning of the reproductive system in a way.
This issue has been researched time and again with no definite results. However, scientists and doctors alike theorize that abortion may have something to do with the following:
- Women who have had an abortion are more likely to experience some bleeding during the pregnancy first trimester. However, bleeding is quite common in the pregnancy first trimester so this is hardly a very convincing argument.
- Doctors feel that there might be a connection between past abortions and low birth weight babies. But the defining lines are not very clear since in most cases the reason for low birth weight could easily be attributed to other causes as well.
- Following on the heels of the previous point, it is felt that abortion may also be connected to premature delivery. However, there are several risk factors for low birth weight and premature birth that are inter-related. And several reasons why either or both of these situations could develop. Anemia during pregnancy, for one. So although some doctors may hypothesize that these pregnancy complications are connected to abortion, there is just not enough proof to justify it as true.
- Once again, just a theory – research points to a possible connection between abortion and placenta previa. Placenta previa is a pregnancy complication that is characterized by a placenta that lies low in in the uterus and either partly or wholly blocks the cervix, which is the baby’s exit from the womb. Placenta previa can be a pretty serious pregnancy complication if not managed properly.
- Some research suggests that having more than one abortion increases your risk for miscarriage in future pregnancies. The risk increases with each subsequent abortion.
Now don’t go scaring yourself with this set of theories disguised as abortion facts. As mentioned earlier, these are just theories that doctors feel may be true based on their observation. There is no evidence to support these theories, even though research continues to this day. To better understand the possible repercussions of an abortion on a future pregnancy it is best to have a detailed discussion with your doctor.
Abortion Facts #5 – Are There Any Other Risks or Complications of Abortion?
Of course, there are. Everything has risks. The coffee you drink every day, the junk foods you binge on on the weekend, most of the medication you take which you think are healing you… There are risks to everything. So it’s no surprise that something like an abortion will come with its own set of risks. Following are some of the medical complications or risks that can arise from a surgical abortion.
- In some cases of surgical abortion, the abortion procedure itself may cause some damage to the cervix or uterus or other parts of the reproductive system, which may cause infertility issues in the future. However, such cases are rare and can be corrected via surgery.
- With any surgery, there is always the possibility of nicks, cuts or perforation either on the organ that is undergoing surgery or on nearby organs. The same goes for a surgical abortion. The cervix or uterus may be damaged, as might the bladder or intestines.
- And again as with any surgery, there is always the possibility of infection. With surgical abortion, there is a slight risk that you may develop a uterine or cervical infection. However, if the procedure was done under hygienic conditions by a qualified doctor, the risk is very, very minimal. Plus, uterine infections are easily managed if caught early on and treated immediately.
- In about .2% of all abortions, there is a chance of heavy bleeding because the blood does not clot, in which case a blood transfusion may be required.
- If a blood transfusion is needed, it increases the risk of hepatitis.
You will hear a lot of abortion “facts” about abortion being related to a higher incidence of breast cancer. But research by prominent cancer foundations has proven that this is simply not true.