In blog

In today’s NZ Herald, Dr. Christine Roke of the Family Planning Association was asked about the Right to Know pamphlet, and she confirmed that the Right to Know pamphlet was ACCURATE when it stated that subsequent premature birth is one of the physical risks that can happen to women after abortion:

“There is some small amount of evidence that premature births may be just a little more common after an abortion.”

As Dr. Christine Roke has stated in the NZ Herald today, the Right to Know pamphlet is definitely right about the risk of subsequent premature birth after abortion, and Roke’s confirmation of this fact is supported by other sources as well.

According to recent research conducted by a team of academics at Aberdeen University led by gynaecologist Professor Siladitya Bhattacharya, women who had abortions were 33% more likely to subsequently have a premature birth than those who had never had an abortion at all.

They also found that women who had abortions were also 44% more likely to subsequently give birth extremely prematurely – before 34 weeks.

These research conclusions were reached after this team examined the pregnancies of 170,000 women who had previously had abortions, and they controlled for social factors which are known to have an effect on premature births.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering about Dr. Christine Roke’s other comment in today’s NZ Herald that “most of the studies quoted in the [Right to Know] pamphlet dated from the 1990s or earlier”.

All we can assume is that she didn’t actually read the Right to Know pamphlet properly, because the majority of studies quoted in the Right to Know pamphlet are from the 2000’s, and ONLY ONE of them is from the 1990’s.

Here are the four studies referred to in the Right to Know pamphlet with the date of each study’s publication is listed in bold beside it:

Fergusson D. Abortion and mental health disorders: evidence from a 30-year longitudinal study
The British Journal of Psychiatry – 2008

Moreau C. et al. Previous induced abortions and the risk of very preterm delivery: results of the EPIPAGE study
British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology – 2005

Major B, Cozzarelli C, et al. Psychological responses of women after first-trimester abortion
Archives of General Psychiatry – 2000

Suicides after pregnancy in Finland, 1987–94: register linkage study
BMJ – 1996

As you can clearly see, the majority of the studies quoted in the Right to Know pamphlet are NOT from the 1990’s as Dr. Christine Roke wrongly states in today’s NZ Herald (or did the Herald reporter make a mistake when writing this article?), in actual fact only one of them is from that period, the remaining 75% are from the 2000’s.

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