A dissertation submitted to the University of Hong Kong found that children in China are more likely to face serious health complications, including death, if their mothers have had multiple induced abortions. The study concluded that having more than one abortion increases the risk of low birth weight in subsequent pregnancies. Indeed, women who have had three or more induced abortions are at five times the risk of preterm birth in a subsequent pregnancy.
The study, conducted by Cui Limin, explained that nearly two thirds of neonatal deaths are related to low birth weight. For children surviving infancy, LBW increases the risk of neuron-developmental problems, respiratory tract infections, and behavioral problems. According to the study, those with very LBW suffer from conditions including cerebral palsy, blindness, impaired hearing and learning disabilities. Besides harming the child, these health problems put extra financial strain on parents, the study notes.
In addition, the study discusses the risk of multiple abortions on the health of the mother. These include an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and infertility. The study also discusses the risks of complication associated with the induced abortion procedure itself: uterine bleeding, uterine perforation, cervical impairment, and infection. The study concludes, “The prevention and intervention strategies are urgently needed for reducing the induced abortion rate.”
Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, stated: “Women in China are forced into induced labor abortions, up to the ninth month of pregnancy. This is a violation of women’s rights of the first degree. We are now learning that it also puts their future children at risk for respiratory complications, cerebral palsy, and even death related to low birth weight. It also may damage a woman’s future reproductive and general health. This is a violation of the women’s rights and the rights of their future children. Forced abortion must be stopped, and families should be compensated if their child experiences health problems caused by previous induced labor forced abortions.”
These findings are particularly relevant to China, where according to the study 14.37 million induced abortions were performed in 2012 – one quarter of the abortions in the world — many of which were repeat abortions. The study credited the One-Child Policy as “one of the most important factors for the increased induced abortion rate,” and cited the prevalence of forced and sex-selective abortions in China.
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Read the Study: The Effect of Induced Abortion on the Risk of Low Birth Weight, Cui Limin