By Patrick B. Craine

AMSTERDAM, June 29, 2009 ( – Having an abortion is dangerous for subsequent children, an international team of researchers has concluded.  The team, led by Dr. Robbert van Oppenraaij of Erasmus MC University Medical Centre, presented their findings on Monday to the 25th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Amsterdam.

In his presentation, Dr. van Oppenraaij reported that one abortion increases the risk of premature birth in a next pregnancy by 20 percent. With two or more abortions, the risk is raised by 90 percent, and the risk of a very premature birth – meaning 34 weeks or less – is doubled.

“It can be concluded,” said Dr. van Oppenraaij, “that a history of abortion is associated with an increased risk for premature delivery and very premature delivery.”

The conference presentation was based on a March 2009 article published by the team in the ESHRE's Human Reproduction Update.  The research consisted of a literature review of over 75 investigations conducted between 1980 and 2008, focusing on predicting the health of pregnancies based on early pregnancy complications.

The article admits the difficulty of predicting adverse pregnancy outcomes after abortion because of the many variables, such as different abortion methods and gestational age.  Nevertheless, they say, “it can be concluded that a history of TOP [termination of pregnancy] is associated with an increased risk for PPROM [preterm premature rupture of membranes], PTD [preterm delivery] and VPTD [very preterm delivery]. These risks depend on the number of TOP.”

Numerous independent studies have found this link between abortion and premature births in subsequent pregnancies, as has reported.  Most significantly, LSN reported in February this year on the findings of a German team who evaluated over two million pregnancies between 1995 and 2000. According to this study, the risk of very premature birth is increased by 30 percent after one abortion, and by 90 percent after more than one.

See related coverage:

More Research Links Abortion with Preterm Births in Subsequent Pregnancies

Massive German Study Confirms Abortion Significantly Increases Premature Birth Risk

New Study Confirms Abortion Increases Risk of Future Premature Births