By Hilary White

VANCOUVER, October 26, 2007 ( – An article appearing in this month’s edition of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine concludes that nearly 32 per cent of “very preterm” U.S. births, that is, before 32 weeks gestation, are due to the mother having had a prior abortion. This information, combined with previous research in the relation between low birth weight children and cerebral palsy (CP), results in an estimated 1,096 children suffering from CP because of their mother’s prior abortion.

Dr. Calhoun et al. examined 2002 data (4,021,726 births, 486,629 preterm babies and 72,751 very-preterm babies) provided by Dr. Joyce Martin of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control)..

The study’s authors are Dr. Byron Calhoun an obstetrics and gynecology professor at Western Virginia University, Dr. Elizabeth Shadigian, obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan and Brent Rooney, the research director of RPRC (Reduce Preterm Risk Coalition, Vancouver, Canada) They concluded that prior induced abortion is a significant risk factor in very pre-term births and cerebral palsy.

The research backs up previous findings published in 2006 by Dr. Richard E. Behrman of Stanford University’s Institute of Medicine, that named “prior first trimester induced abortion” as “immutable medical risk factor associated with preterm birth”. (Preterm Birth: Causes, Consequences, and Prevention)

Very pre-term babies have much higher than normal risks of suffering medical problems including cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism, epilepsy, blindness, deafness, lung impairment and serious infections.

In 2002 there were 58,717 U.S. newborn with a birth weight under 1,500 grams (3 pounds 5 ounces) according to a CDC (Center for Disease Control) article by Dr. Joyce Martin et al.
Most of these under 1,500 gram babies were delivered very prematurely.

Calhoun estimated that since 31.5 per cent of children born with very low birth weight are due to prior induced abortions. Approximately 7.7 per cent of children with very low birth weight develop CP according to a comprehensive study by Dr. G. Escobar et al. in 1991.

At least 1,096 cases of CP are directly associated with the mother’s prior abortion according to the estimates of Dr. Calhoun, Dr. Shadigian, and Brent Rooney.

The article further estimated a direct cost to the health care system of abortion-related pre-term babies at US $1.2 billion in 2002. This estimate did not include long-term costs for ongoing, often life-long medical expenses and lost income such children will suffer.

The article is listed in the Journal index as:
Cost Consequences of Induced Abortion as an Attributable Risk for Preterm Birth and Impact on Informed Consent
B. C. Calhoun, E. Shadigian and B. Rooney
Induced abortion contributes to significantly increased initial neonatal health costs, >$1.2 billion, and 1,096 excess cerebral palsy cases per year in the United States

Read related coverage:

1,100 Excess Brain Damaged Babies are Born Yearly in US Due to Previous Abortions

New Study Confirms Abortion Increases Risk of Future Premature Births