.- A medical researcher from the University of Michigan Medical School urged members of the U.S. Senate last week to support further study into the physical and psychological side effects of abortion on women, reported the Culture of Life Foundation.
Dr. Elizabeth Shadigian testified before the Senate Sub-Committee on Science, Technology, and Space and said abortion increases rates of breast cancer, placenta previa, pre-term births and maternal suicide. She was one of three witnesses calling for further study.
Shadigian told the committee that because "25 percent of all recognized pregnancies are terminated, the high prevalence of a history of induced abortion means that even small, negative effects on long-term health could influence the lives of many women."
Shadigian said obstetrics and gynecology in the U.S. are relying on old data.
The doctor referred to two recent European studies, which showed "a strong association between induced abortion and ectopic pregnancy." Five combined studies "found that women with prior induced abortion had a relative risk of placenta previa," which results in high rates of preterm birth, low birth weight and perinatal death.Higher incidence of breast cancer and attempted suicide
Shadigian said one study "concluded that induced abortion is an independent risk factor for breast carcinoma," and emphasized this "clearly demonstrated the need for additional studies, [since] the high incidence of both breast cancer and induced abortion would ensure a substantial impact on women's health if their conclusions are correct."
Shadigian also underlined the relationship between abortion and suicide or attempted suicide. “The fact that the effects are seen after induced abortion rather than before indicates either common risk factors for both choosing abortion and attempting suicide, such as depression, or harmful effects of induced abortion on mental health," she said.
Shadigian argued that the "current literature is insufficient to be informative for counseling, "and that more studies were still needed, "so that women can get better answers for their health care choices.
“Women deserve to be fully and accurately informed about potential health effects of elective abortion,” she said, “preferably in a health education context, separate and distinct from the timeframe of actually being faced with making difficult decisions about whether to continue or end a pregnancy.
“I'm surprised that people aren't talking about this more," she added.
According to sub-committee chairman Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), the hearing was the first of its kind to look into the physical and psychological effects of abortion on women.
But not all senators are supportive. According to the Culture of Life Foundation, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) tried to convince his fellow senators that looking into the effects of abortion are not within the scope of the subcommittee, and that there was no research to substantiate the claim that abortion is harmful to women