Be Fully Informed Before
The Abortion Decision
How often do abortion complications and deaths occur?
Getting accurate statistics on abortion morbidity (complications) and mortality (death) rates is difficult. The rates are generally accepted as under reported. Reporting, on abortions is strictly voluntary in most states, and both the CDC and the Alan Guttmacher Institute acknowledge a significant undercount in their statistics on the number of abortions performed.” (16)
The rate of major complications resulting from abortion is usually reported at around 2%. The risk of complications rises as a pregnancy progresses. In many cases, physicians may not even know complications occur, as many women do not contact them if they experience problems, and many women fail to return for follow-up appointments. (17)
The CDC reports that between 1979 and 1986 almost 5% of maternal deaths were due to abortion (including spontaneous abortions), for a total number of 124. The leading causes of death from abortion during 1979-1986 were hemorrhage from uterine bleeding, generalized infection, and blood clots in the lungs.
However, many abortion-related deaths are not listed as such, but as a complication of childbirth, or to some factor caused by the abortion without mentioning the abortion.
To further illustrate the problem, Dr. C. Everett Koop, in his 1989 letter to President Ronald Reagan, explained that the lack of scientifically sound studies made it impossible to “provide conclusive data about the health effects of abortion on women,” and stated that complications are difficult to quantify for two reasons: “first,…because … abortions are done in free-standing abortion clinics where records which might have been helpful in this regard, have not been kept [Note: In the 1990s, over 90% of abortions are being performed in free standing clinics" (18)]. Second, when compared with the number of abortions performed annually, 50% of women who have had an abortion apparently deny having had one when questioned.”(19)
16. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, Abortion Surveillance Report, July 1991.
17. Hern, op. cit., pg. 173.
18. Dr. and Mrs. Willke, Abortion Questions and Answers (Cincinnati: Hayes Publishing Company, 1990), pg. 101.
19. Letter to President Ronald Reagan by the Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, January 9,1989.