The August issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology contains the article, “Care for women with prior preterm birth.” The lead author is Jay D. Iams, MD, MFM, Professor and Vice Chair of Ohio State University Dept. of OB/GYN. In the article is this statement:

Contrary to common belief, population-based studies [34-36] have found that elective pregnancy terminations in the first and second trimesters are associated with a very small but apparently real increase in the risk of subsequent spontaneous preterm birth [37].

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists commended this article to its readers in an email alert, writing:

We applaud his statement. Most high profile American writers won’t breathe such a thing. Allow us to mention 2 points in regard to his observation.

1. “contrary to common belief….” There are currently 114 studies in the literature all showing a statistically significant association between induced abortion and subsequent preterm birth. And just about none to the contrary. Why then would this association be “contrary to common belief”? Because the association is systematically ignored or severely downplayed by the established authorities in our country. It is not mentioned under complications of induced abortion in any ACOG literature we know of. It is not generally taught. It is denied by default. Maybe that is why it is “contrary to common belief.” Obviously 114 articles should carry some weight, even to the willfully blind.

2. “… terminations… are associated with a very small but apparently real increase in the risk of subsequent spontaneous preterm birth.” Here Iams references the 2009 BJOG Shaw article, which found a 1.36 RR (36% increase) for PTB with a previous induced abortion. Iams calls this a “very small” increase?

Additionally, 50% of women who abort have more than one abortion, and the literature finds the PTB risk ratio for them goes to 1.6 to 1.9; that is, a 60% to 90% increase in PTB is subsequent pregnancies

Finally, in the abstract Dr. Iams notes: “African American women have rates of recurrent preterm birth that are nearly twice that of women of other backgrounds.”

He hazards no guess as to why. African-American women have an induced abortion rate 3 times that of other American women. Might that factor in to the 2 times increased rate of PTB? Perish the thought! Rather than consider the abortion association, some have even suggested it may be a racial genetic failing in the cervical tissues of African-Americans! (“see no evil”)

Prematurity carries certain severe risks. Preemies under 32 weeks have a Cerebral Palsy rates 55 times higher that the rates for a term baby. Ignoring the 114 studies mentioned above (the “blind eye” approach) may not be in the best interest of women considering an induced abortion or of their subsequent children – wouldn’t you say?

I’ve kept the March 2003 issue of Pregnancy magazine in my file because it contained such a rare find. Click to enlarge….

Note induced abortion was listed last of 14 causes of premature births, in just about a worst case scenario, but it was there. I searched the magazine’s website today for the keyword “abortion” and came up empty.

[Photo via Los Angeles Times]