Don’t understate risks of abortion


Leo Hee Khian

Published: 9:37 PM, December 11, 2014
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To add to the discourse on whether abortion is risk-free, I cite some major works in this field, selected for their representative sample size and sound methodology. (“Don’t overstate risks of abortion”; Dec 9)

In Finland, a nationwide study of women found that compared with the mean annual suicide rate (11.3 per 100,000), the suicide rate associated with birth was half (5.9), and the rate associated with induced abortion was three times higher (34.7).

This suggests that the initial stress of having a child is transitional and that, overall, having a child has positive and protective effects on women’s mental health.

In Denmark, two more recent studies of the entire population of childbearing women are also significant.

The first found that compared with women who deliver a first pregnancy, women who abort a first pregnancy have a higher risk of death within the first 180 days, and this higher risk persists for at least 10 years.

The second revealed that each additional abortion contributes to a rising death rate by approximately 50 per cent. Clearly, abortion is not a risk-free procedure.

When my wife was pregnant, I realised how miraculous a baby’s development in the womb is. The zygote contains all of the genetic information needed to form a human body and would become a formed being without any external intervention.

The zygote needs only days before the brain, spinal cord and heart develops, followed by the gastrointestinal tract, arms, legs, eyes, ears, spine and bones. Within weeks, a full body would be formed.

My first lesson as a parent was that my child is a life on her own and has worth that not even I should define. Hence, she has rights that not even I have the right to take away.

Would it be fair if someone else decides against our right to live, even if we are already and inherently alive?

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