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Steve Weatherbe

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New research strengthens abortion-preemie link

Steve Weatherbe

VANCOUVER, November 19, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – One, two…four strikes, you're out, says Vancouver's indefatigable pro-life research analyst Brent Rooney, in summing up four recent studies cementing the strong link between surgical abortion and premature birth – and premature birth and miscarriage.

Rooney timed his "Justice for Kids Now" bulletin to coincide with World Prematurity Day on November 17. In it, he summarizes the results of four studies, three of which are systematic reviews and metanalyses (SRMAs) of dozens of original research projects, and two of which were conducted this year.

The studies not only establish a correlation, but argue for a causal link. What's more, the studies are both independent and current, refuting the arguments of such pro-abortion advocates as David Grimes that the abortion-prematurity link is a dead issue and that those who still argue for it are secret pro-lifers or just incompetent.

"For the abortion industry it is a STRIKE OUT, since all 3 SRMAs report significantly raised premature birth risk for women with prior induced abortions," Rooney states.

Premature birth itself is linked to 70 percent of miscarriages – and also, according to one of the studies, to "chronic lung disease … cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment and behavioural problems."

The two earlier SMRAs were both published in 2009. The first, led by Hanes M. Swingle, covered 21 original projects. It reported in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine that women with one abortion showed a 25-percent increased risk of a subsequent premature birth and with a second abortion, a 50 percent increase. The second, led by P.S. Shah and reported in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, showed that one previous abortion was associated with a 35-percent increased risk of premature birth and a second abortion with a 93-percent increase in risk.

The first of the 2015 studies, which is original research by a team led by Emmanuel A. Anam and published in Human Reproduction, is particularly significant since its purpose was to establish that black American women had significantly more "cervical insufficiency" leading to premature births than other Americans.  It did that, and it also found that "[p]rior pregnancy termination is also a major risk factor for cervical insufficiency."

The 2015 metanalysis by a Dutch-Australian team, headed by M. Lemmers and published by Human Reproduction, studied 21 original studies whose combined survey group comprised nearly two million women. It found that a single surgical abortion was associated with a 29-percent increased risk of prematurity, and it found a 74-percent increased risk with more than one abortion.

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Significantly, The Lemmers team argued not only that the data showed a co-relation (which abortion defenders admit), but that "[the added] risk in association with multiple D&Cs indicates a causal relationship."

Abortion proponents such as David Grimes deny all research that claims that abortion causes anything bad, let alone premature birth. In a June 2015 article carried by the Huffington Post, he argued that those who insist on causality have confused correlation with causation. Factors such as poverty, undernourishment, and unstable sexual relationships are the cause of both more abortions and more premature births, he claimed. Grimes figured that this notion was so complex for HuffPo readers that he had to explain it with kindergarten-level pictures.

Grimes concluded the article, "Abortion and Prematurity: A False Alarm," by insisting, "The question of a causal link between abortion and prematurity was resolved in medical and public health circles decades ago. Those who still cling to the discredited theory that abortion increases the risk of prematurity are either unaware of the evidence or are driven by other considerations." "Other considerations" turns out to mean that their brains and intellectual honesty have both been hopelessly compromised by being Christians.

Brent Rooney comments, "Grimes did not cite a statistic or a single study to the contrary to back up his argument. He has never published a single article in the field of premature birth. We have three SMRA studies. He has none." Not only are those studies recent, and not only are their authors respected in the field, but they have all appeared in reputable journals refereed by their peers, said Rooney.

"In epidemiology, there never is 100 percent certainty of a causal link," said Rooney. "But one of the main signs of causality is what is called 'the dosage response.'" Thus, one of the main proofs that smoking caused cancer was that people who smoked more got cancer more. Similarly, those with more abortions have more premature births."

What these studies show, Rooney told LifeSiteNews, is that abortion is a "plausible risk" factor for premature birth, a risk that women should be warned about. That is why, he argues, organizations such as the Institute of Medicine (part of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences) lists "prior first trimester induced abortion" third in its list of "4 Immutable Medical Risk Factors Associated with Preterm Birth."  

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