The Dangers of Abortion – A Catch 22

20 Apr

I’ve been noticing an often used argument from anti-choicers recently, which is to point out the dangers of abortion and highlight any case where a woman is harmed and/or dies during an abortion. I don’t think they realize what a catch 22 this is. The more that they fight to limit access to abortion and for laws requiring waiting periods, the more women they are forcing to resort to shady clinics and illegal and dangerous practices.

Abortion, preformed correctly by a trained medical professional isn’t any more dangerous than most other medical procedures.

Below are some statistics from The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Each year, about 1.3 million women in the United States have an abortion to end a pregnancy.

Abortion is a low–risk procedure. An early abortion has less risk than a later one. Fewer than 1 in 100 women have complications from an early abortion. For later abortions, up to 2 in 100 women have complications. Although an abortion is low risk, as with any surgery or medicine, problems may occur.

The risk of perforation or tear of the cervix [during a surgical abortion] is less than 1 in 1,000 abortions. The risk increases with the length of the pregnancy.

The risk of death from abortion is lower than 1 in 100,000 women who have suction curettage. For women who have a medical abortion, the risk of death is about 1 in 100,000. The risk of a woman dying from giving birth is at least 10 times greater than the risk from an early abortion.

You’ll notice that these statistics are in relation to abortions performed early in the pregnancy by a licensed medical professional. Anti-choicers who fight to limit access to abortion are fighting to endanger women’s lives by prolonging the period before they can have abortions and/or forcing them to go to unsafe clinics or attempt a dangerous self induced abortion due to lack of safe access in their cities.

If you truly care about women’s safety during abortions, please push for better and safer access to abortion and more oversight in abortion clinics, rather than trying to limit it.


5 Responses to “The Dangers of Abortion – A Catch 22”

  1. Shelley April 20, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    Damn right!! Thanks for posting this.

  2. Dhalgren April 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    A very good post!

    Perforation of the uterus is a risk. By my count, it occurs about once in every 1,000 D&E’s performed at my local hospital. That’s about once a year for an attending at a high-volume D&E OR.

    Here’s an interesting tangent. I am an occasional troll over at and one of the arguments I see over there regarding safety is that abortions were actually ‘safer’ before Roe v Wade. Their theory, rooted in fiction and insanity, is that attendings were more cautious back then, because they didn’t want to get caught performing an illegal procedure. Today, they say, abortion is less safe because of ‘assembly line’ clinics and ORs. Therefore doctors today don’t care if they make mistakes and perforate uteruses.

    The counter-argument to this is ‘you cannot have it both ways.’ You (meaning antis) cannot claim that banning abortion will make the procedure safer by forcing doctors to be more careful and covert. You cannot sell the banning of abortion as an improvement in the quality and safety of procedures, while acknowledging that the demand for such procedures will never cease.

    But it is curious how they acknowledge that abortion will never die as a practice – in such an insane pretzel twist sort of way.

  3. Persephone April 22, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    Thank you Shelly 🙂

    Dhalgren, That is some insane logic. I’ve pretty much given up arguing with antis online. It seems like the arguments never change not matter how many different ways they’re debunked. I admire those like you who have the stamina to keep taking them on.

  4. WeCanChangeIt April 27, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    The “if you have an abortion you will die” message is so damaging and untrue. I know so many women (particularly Catholic women) who know abortion is the right decision for them but are told that there’s such a strong likelihood that they will die. In a moment like that, it’s not right for women to have to sort through completely false information. Much fewer women die having an abortion, particularly an early, legal, safe abortion than die in pregnancy.


  1. The Dangers of Abortion – A Catch 22 « Voice of Dissent - April 20, 2010

    […] Continue reading The Dangers of Abortion – A Catch 22 […]

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