WASHINGTON, DC, June 1 (C-FAM) A newly released research paper charges that medical journals and researchers are burying data that shows a link between abortion and dangerous preterm births in later pregnancies.

Dr. Byron Calhoun makes these charges in “Abortion and Preterm Birth: Why Medical Journals Aren’t Giving Us The Real Picture,” released by C-FAM.

Calhoun, Professor and Vice-Chair in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the West Virginia University-Charleston and a pioneer in delivering perinatal hospice care to unborn babies and their parents, cites 127 published peer review articles spanning five decades all showing an increased risk of preterm birth following an abortion. Even so, such studies tend to hide this finding and not report it in the paper’s abstract or conclusion. Not only do these tactics make it harder for readers to see the abortion-preterm birth link, but it also could be a sign of ideological preference for ignoring negative effects associated with abortion.

A case in point cited by Dr. Calhoun is an important Chinese study published in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, which finds that history of combined surgical-medical abortion is associated with increased preterm birth risk of over 200 percent. It also finds an increased risk of over 360 percent for women who had medical abortion with curettage, 1 in 5 women in the study. Despite these findings, the paper’s abstract trumpets that the most important conclusion was that “history of multiple first trimester mifepristone-induced abortions is not associated with a higher risk of preterm delivery among singleton births in the first subsequent pregnancy.” The most important results of the study are obscured, requiring the reader to dig deep into the paper to find them.

Despite the overwhelming evidence of the existence of the preterm birth-abortion connection, Calhoun writes, “the leading medical organizations for women’s healthcare, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in their online Compendium for 2011, refuse to acknowledge the increased associated risk of preterm labor or the substantial body of literature raising this concern.” ACOG’s disregard of the abortion-preterm birth link coincides with their longstanding pro-abortion advocacy.

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According to the recently published World Health Organization Global Action Report on Preterm Birth, about 15 million babies are born prematurely every year. That is more than 1 in every 10 babies born around the world. Over 1 million children die every year as a result of complications related to prematurity, and many more suffer lifetime health problems and disabilities. The costs of preterm birth, both financial and in terms of human suffering, are high and rising as preterm birth rates continue to increase in virtually all countries with reliable data.

Despite the gravity of the situation, the WHO report concludes that the causes and mechanisms of preterm birth still remain largely unknown. One reason is that medical journals tend to misrepresent the truth about factors associated with preterm birth and bury the findings that show connection to abortion.

Calhoun points out that the true victims of this such misreporting are not researchers, but women who are not given appropriate counseling on the link between previous abortion and preterm birth.

Reprinted with permission from c-fam.org