New Campaign Educates About Risk Factors for Preterm Birth, Including Abortion

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June 1, 2015


Over 100 peer-reviewed studies have found that abortion is a risk factor for premature birth in subsequent pregnancies.  But that research has largely been drowned out in the highly contentious public debate about abortion. 


A new campaign is trying to change that.


Prevent Preterm ( educates the public on three known risk factors for premature birth: tobacco use, lack of prenatal care, and prior abortion. 


“We get it: abortion is, to say the least, a touchy subject,” the site proclaims.  It then invites readers to educate themselves about the link between abortion and preterm birth.  The highlight of Prevent Preterm is a layperson-friendly report summarizing the medical literature.


Prevent Preterm is a project of Secular Pro-Life, which developed the campaign in consultation with families affected by premature birth and medical professionals. 


“Unfortunately, despite the strength of the research, it’s become hugely politicized,” said Kelsey Hazzard, the president of Secular Pro-Life.  She cited an effort by abortion lobby groups to keep information about the abortion-preterm birth link out of the sex education curriculum in North Carolina public schools.


Prevent Preterm’s educational effort is not limited to sharing studies; it also shares personal stories.


Deb had an abortion when she was 19.  "At the time, abortion had only been legal for a few years. They really had no way of knowing what the long-term effects would be," she says.  She did not learn that abortion was a risk factor for preterm birth until more than twenty years later—after her son was born eleven weeks prematurely.  He survived, but has vision problems caused by his premature birth.


The Guttmacher Institute, an abortion think tank, has conducted surveys about the reasons women have abortions.  Most survey respondents said that they had not completed their childbearing.  They did not feel prepared for parenthood at the time of the abortion—typically for financial reasons—but were open to parenthood in the future. In fact, some interviewees said that they were having abortions because they wanted to set up an ideal situation in which to parent the future sons and daughters they had not yet conceived.


“If women have future children in mind when considering whether or not to have an abortion, knowing about the potential for premature birth is obviously crucial,” said Hazzard.  “The tragic irony is that children born prematurely can face lifelong health problems that place a huge financial burden on the family—exactly the outcome the mother was trying to avoid by having an abortion.”


Prevent Preterm also offers information about how to quit tobacco and how to locate affordable prenatal care.



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