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The Numbers

As a result of the National Right to Life's analysis of data from both Guttmacher and the CDC through 2020, and estimating figures for subsequent years (2021-2022), National Right to Life estimates that 64,443,118 abortions have been performed in the United States since 1973. Download the PDF for the National Right to Life's State of Abortion in the United States 2023.

According to the latest abortion statistics released by the PA Department of Health, there was an increase of 4.91% of abortions from 2021. Reported was 34,838 lives lost in 2022 by abortion.

Abortion Procedures

Chemical Abortion: Chemical abortions now account for the majority of induced abortions in the U.S. They are typically accomplished with a two-drug regimen consisting of mifepristone followed by misoprostol. The former drug blocks the action of progesterone, depriving the developing embryo or fetus of essential nutrients and oxygen for survival. The latter causes uterine contractions that expel the embryo along with other pregnancy tissue. This drug combination is inaccurately touted as being as “safe as Tylenol”, a false narrative that has been used to justify removing important safeguards on chemical abortion, placing the health and safety of women and girls at risk. Read more from the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dilation & Evacuation (D&E): Most second trimester abortions are performed using this method. The cervix must be opened wider than in the first trimester abortion because the baby is larger. Laminaria and/or vaginal medications are placed in the cervix for several days before the procedure to soften and dilate the cervix. On the day of the procedure, both local anesthesia and sedation are typically used to reduce pain and awareness. Occasionally, general anesthesia may be available, however it increases both the cost and the risk of the procedure. Up to about 16 weeks gestation, the uterine contents are suctioned out, and remaining fetal parts are removed with forceps (grasping tool). A curette (a loop-shaped tool) may also be used to scrape out remaining tissue.

After 16 weeks, much of the procedure is done using forceps to grasp, tear, and pull the baby's body apart and out through the cervical opening, as suction alone will not work due to the baby's size. The doctor keeps track of what fetal parts have been removed so that none are left inside. Lastly, a curette, and/or the suction machine are used to remove any remaining tissue or blood clots, which if left behind could cause infection and bleeding.

Medical Methods for Second and Third Trimester Induced Abortion: This procedure induces abortion using drugs to cause labor and eventually delivery of the baby and placenta. Like labor at term, this procedure typically involves 10-24 hours in a hospital's labor and delivery unit. Digoxin or potassium chloride is injected into the amniotic fluid, umbilical cord, or fetal heart prior to labor to avoid the delivery of a live fetus. The cervix is softened using laminaria and/or medications. Next, pitocin, misoprostol, and sometimes mifepristone are used to induce labor. In most cases, these drugs result in the delivery of the dead fetus and placenta. The patient may receive oral or intravenous pain medications. Occasionally, scaping the uterus is needed to remove the placenta. Potential complications include hemorrhage and the need for a blood transfusion, retained placenta, and possible uterine rupture.

Dilation & Evacuation (D&E): This procedure typically takes 2-3 days. Because a live birth is possible, injections are given to cause fetal death. This is done in order to comply with the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which requires the baby be dead before complete removal from the mother's body. Medications (digoxin and potassium chloride) are either injected into the amniotic fluid, the umbilical cord, or directly into the baby's heart, causing his/her death. The remainder of the procedure is done the same as the second trimester D&E. Fetal parts are reassembled after removal from the uterus to make sure nothing is left behind to cause infection or bleeding.

Intact D&E: An alternate procedure is also used. The goal is to remove the baby in one piece, thus reducing the risk of leaving parts behind or causing damage to the woman's body. This procedure requires the cervix to be opened wider, however it is still often necessary to crush the fetus' skull for removal as it is difficult to dilate the cervix wide enough to bring the head out intact.

Information from Before You Decide by Carenet.

Risks of Abortion

Heavy bleeding, incomplete or failed abortion, infection, damage to the organs, emboli, anesthesia reactions, RH sensitization, and death.

Long-term, abortion carries possible risks. Women who undergo one or more induced abortions carry a significantly increased risk of delivering prematurely in the future. Premature delivery is associated with higher rates of children with cerebral palsy, as well as all other newborn complications (respiratory, bowel, brain, and eye problems).

Research has shown that carrying a pregnancy to full term gives a measure of protection against breast cancer, especially a woman's first pregnancy before the age of 30. Terminating a pregnancy results in a loss of that protection. The hormones of pregnancy cause breast tissue to grow rapidly in the first three months, but it is not until after 32 weeks LMP that breasts mature enough to produce milk and become more cancer resistant. That's why a premature birth before 32 weeks LMP significantly increases a woman's risk of breast cancer, as with late term abortions. The majority of worldwide studies show an increased risk between induced abortion and later development of breast cancer. First trimester miscarriages, unlike induced abortions, do not increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer.

Abortion and Placenta Previa: This is when the placenta covers or partially covers the cervix. This can result in unpredictable massive bleeding that threatens the life or baby and mother, especially during labor. In addition to the risk of bleeding, it is associated with the risk of preterm birth and death in early infancy. The risk of placenta previa is higher in women who, among other factors, had a prior induced abortion (especially D&E type), are over 34, had a prior C-section, and/or had a prior placenta previa.

Information from Before you Decide by Carenet.

Psychological Impact/Emotional Impact

After abortion, some women say they initially felt relief and looked forward to their lives returning back to normal. But other women report negative emotions after abortion that linger, unresolved. For some people, problems related to their abortion emerge months or even years later. There is evidence that abortion is associated with a decrease in long-term emotional and physical health.

In line with the best available research, women should be informed that abortion significantly increases the risk for: clinical depression and anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Pregnancy often affects a woman's most important relationships. Many couple choose abortion to preserve their relationship. Yet research reveals that couples who choose induced abortion are at increased risk for problems in their relationships.

Women who experience lack of support and pressure to abort from their partners were more likely to choose abortion. Women who face intimate partner violence are significantly more likely to experience abortion.

Information from Before you Decide by Carenet.

Note, Abortion often does not remedy problems, but adds to them.

Spiritual Consequences

People have different understandings of God. Whatever a person's present beliefs may be, having an abortion may affect more than just one's body and mind. There is a spiritual side to abortion that deserves to be considered. What might God think about the situation? What thought does a person have about their own spiritual development and the unborn baby's future as a spiritual being?

A Light in the Dark: We offer you the opportunity to speak with those who have experienced abortion, the negative effects, and also are experiencing healing from the procedure. If you or anyone you know is dealing with anything involving abortion - from considering having an abortion to struggling emotionally decades after having an abortion, please know we are here for you.

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