The physical side effects after an abortion can vary from woman to woman and there are potential side effects and risks that you should be aware of.
The Physical Complications of Abortion
National statistics on abortion show that 10% of women undergoing induced abortion suffer from immediate complications, of which one-fifth (20%) were considered major.
Over one hundred potential complications have been associated with induced abortion. “Minor” complications include minor infections, bleeding, fevers, chronic abdominal pain, gastrointestinal disturbances, vomiting, and Rh sensitization. The nine most common “major” complications are the infection, excessive bleeding, embolism, ripping or perforation of the uterus, anaesthesia complications, convulsions, haemorrhage, cervical injury, and endotoxic shock.
In a series of 1,182 abortions which occurred under closely regulated hospital conditions, 27 per cent of the patients acquired post-abortion infection lasting 3 days or longer.
While the immediate complications of abortion are usually treatable, these complications frequently lead to long-term reproductive damage of much more serious nature.
For example, one possible outcome of abortion-related infections is sterility. Researchers have reported that 3 to 5 per cent of aborted women are left inadvertently sterile as a result of the operation’s latent morbidity. The risk of sterility is even greater for women who are infected with a venereal disease at the time of the abortion.
In addition to the risk of sterility, women who acquire post-abortal infections are five to eight times more likely to experience ectopic pregnancies. Between 1970-1983, the rate of ectopic pregnancies in the USA has risen 4 fold. Twelve per cent of all maternal deaths due to ectopic pregnancy. Other countries which have legalized abortion have seen the same dramatic increase in ectopic pregnancies.
Cervical damage is another leading cause of long-term complications following the abortion. Normally the cervix is rigid and tightly closed. In order to perform an abortion, the cervix must be stretched open with a great deal of force. During this forced dilation there is almost always caused microscopic tearing of the cervix muscles and occasionally severe ripping of the uterine wall, as well.
According to one hospital study, 12.5% of first trimester abortions required stitching for cervical lacerations. Such attention to detail is not normally provided at an outpatient abortion clinic. Another study found that lacerations occurred in 22 percent of aborted women. Women under 17 have been found to face twice the normal risk of suffering cervical damage due to the fact that their cervixes are still “green” and developing.
Whether microscopic or macroscopic in nature, the cervical damage which results during abortion frequently results in a permanent weakening of the cervix. This weakening may result in an “incompetent cervix” which, unable to carry the weight of a later “wanted” pregnancy, opens prematurely, resulting in miscarriage or premature birth. According to one study, symptoms related to cervical incompetence were found among 75% of women who undergo forced dilation for abortion.
Cervical damage from previously induced abortions increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and complications of labor during later pregnancies by 300 – 500 percent. The reproductive risks of abortion are especially acute for women who abort their first pregnancies. A major study of first pregnancy abortions found that 48% of women experienced abortion-related complications in later pregnancies. Women in this group experienced 2.3 miscarriages for every one live birth. Yet another researcher found that among teenagers who aborted their first pregnancies, 66% subsequently experienced miscarriages or premature birth of their second, “wanted” pregnancies.
When the risks of increased pregnancy loss are projected on the population as a whole, it is estimated that aborted women lose 100,000 “wanted” pregnancies each year because of latent abortion morbidity. In addition, premature births, complications of labour, and abnormal development of the placenta, all of which can result from latent abortion morbidity, are leading causes of handicaps among newborns. Looking at premature deliveries alone, it is estimated that latent abortion morbidity results in 3000 cases of acquired cerebral palsy among newborns each year. Finally, since these pregnancy problems pose a threat to the health of the mothers too, women who have had abortions face a 58 per cent greater risk of dying during a later pregnancy.