Complication Rate in Ontario

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Report on Therapeutic Abortions – Ministry of Health Ontario Complications

  • Hemorrhage
  • Infection
  • Laceration of cervix
  • Perforation of uterus
  • Retained products of conception
  • Death
  • Other

The above complications are listed on the Report on Therapeutic Abortions which is a form that hospitals and clinics have been invited to fill in, in the past in Ontario in order to form a demographic picture of women who procure induced abortions.

In Canada there is almost no information on the physical, emotional or psychological aftermath of abortion. One of the main reasons is that there has been no long-term follow up of women after abortion in this country. Another reason is that no complication is listed as being a complication of abortion unless it actually happens on site when the abortion is performed. This has resulted in an inaccurate picture of the effects of abortion on women’s health in Canada.

Over one hundred potential complications have been associated with induced abortion. “Minor” complications include: minor infections, bleeding, fevers, chronic abdominal pain, gastro-intestinal disturbances, vomiting, and Rh sensitization. The nine most common “major” complications which are infection, excessive bleeding, embolism, ripping or perforation of the uterus, anesthesia complications, convulsions, hemorrhage, cervical injury, and endotoxic shock.

It is important that other countries have not had such a cavalier attitude to women’s health. In 2002 a new publication entitled, “Women’s Health After Abortion: The Medical and Psychological Evidence” published by the deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research in Toronto, carried extensive worldwide research which highlights the connection between induced abortion and breast and other cancers, abortion’s effect on future fertility, it’s pain both physically and emotionally, it’s effects on relationships, on men, siblings and extended family.

The book also notes the past problems with the way Post-Abortion research has been conducted. The authors also comment on the important need for women to be informed of the inherent negative effects of abortion. In the introduction to the book the authors note the following;

“As this book was going to press we learned of a recent study sponsored by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. A comparison was made between 41,039 women who had had induced abortions and a similar number who did not undergo induced abortions. The study only concerned itself with short-term consequences, but in the three month period after the abortion, the hospital patients had a more than four times higher rate of hospitalizations for infections (6.3 vs 1.4 per 1000), a five times higher rate of “surgical events” (8.2 vs 1.6 per 1000), and a nearly five times higher rate of psychiatric problems (5.2 vs 1.1 per 1000), than the matching group of women who had not had abortions…”

When contacted by our provincial office the College of Physicians and Surgeons said that they found nothing unusual about the findings. I wonder if Ontario women would  undergo abortions at the rate of 40,000 a year would agree that these elevated risks were acceptable – we even wonder if they know!

In his 1983 book Dr Myron K. Denney strongly supported abortion, but he candidly spoke about abortion risks. “When we consider the complexities of the human body,” he wrote, “we should not be surprised that abortion can result in complications. Even with the best surgical techniques, when plastic or metal suctional and scraping instruments are brought into contact with delicate tissues of the vagina, cervix and uterus, inadvertent injury to internal organs can result. Even without injury, abortion taxes the normal bodily protective mechanism.”
Reardon, Aborted Women-Silent No More, (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1987).
Denney, M.K., “A Matter of Choice: An Essential Guide to Every Aspect of Abortion.” New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983, p.75

Immediate complications from abortion

Injuries to the cervix: Instruments used to stretch open the cervix during the abortion procedure can damage it. Miscarriage and premature delivery of future pregnancies may result.
Injuries to the intestine and bowel: Punctures in the bowel and intestine can result from the use of abortion instruments, requiring a bowel resection. (repair) Injuries to the urinary tract: Perforation or tearing of the bladder can occur which may effect bladder functions in the future.
Hemorrhage: Due to severe blood loss women may need blood transfusions.
Infection: Sometimes fetal body parts may be left inside of the uterus or because of lack of sterile conditions in the operating room. Tubal infection with subsequent sterility can occur.
Delayed complications from abortion: Incomplete Abortion or Retained Tissue: Because the abortionist cannot “see” into the uterus and if the body parts are not checked after the abortion – sometimes pieces of the embryonic or fetal child are left inside the uterus.
Spontaneous Miscarriage :Women who have had abortions experienced spontaneous miscarriages at a much higher rate than women who have not had undergone induced abortion.
Impaired child-bearing ability: Lime 5, Mark Crutcher, Life Dynamics Inc. 1996 .Hogue, C. Impact of vacuum Aspiration abortion on future child-bearing: A review, Family Planning Persp.,15 119-26 1986
Lembrych, “Fertility Problems Following Aborted First Pregnancy”,eds.Hilgers, et.al., New Perspectives on Human Abortion (Frederick, Md.: University Publications of America, 1981).

Cervical damage from previously induced abortions increase the risks of miscarriage, premature birth, and complications of labor during later pregnancies by 300 – 500 percent.
Ectopic Pregnancies: In this pregnancy, the baby develops in one of the mother’s Fallopian tubes, rather than in the uterus. It is a most dangerous condition and significantly increases the risk of death to the mother. There has been a substantial increase in ectopic pregnancies  causing an Alert to be issued by the New York Commissioner of health, stating: “The diagnosis should be thought of especially if there has been history of an abortion or menstrual extraction in the past.
Emotion/psychological effects of abortion: Studies within the first few weeks after the abortion have found that between 40 and 60 percent of women questioned report negative reactions.  Within 8 weeks after their abortions, 55% expressed guilt, 44% complained of nervous disorders, 36% had experienced sleep disturbances, 31% had regrets about their decision, and 11% had been prescribed psycho tropic medicine by their family doctor.


Harlap and Davies, “Late Sequelae of Induced Abortion: Complications and Outcome of Pregnancy and Labor”, American Journal of Epidemiology (1975), vol.102,no.3.
Hogue,”Impact of Abortion on Subsequent Fecundity”, Clinics in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (March 1986), vol.13,no.1.
Levin, A. Ectopic Pregnancy & prior induced abortion, AM.J.Public Health, 72,253,1982
Alert on Ectopic Pregnancies, Commissioner of Health, New York City, (July 1979) .Ashton,”They Psycho social Outcome of Induced Abortion”, British Journal of Ob&Gyn.(1980),vol.87,p1115-1122.
Zimmerman, Passage Through Abortion (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1977

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