December 6th 2008

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Opposition tensions to resurface in 2009?

EDITORIAL: Left-liberals to dominate Obama Administration

GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS: Disentangling the new world disorder

SUPERMARKETS: GroceryWatch is a white elephant

POLITICAL IDEAS: The realisable goal of property for all

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Giving to the have-mores / How long can Labor last? / Degraded educational standards / Future prospects

BANKING: The Medici — manipulators of money and soft power

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: Abortion increases risk of pre-term births

EUGENICS: The menace of eugenics, yesterday and today

MARRIAGE: US battle to preserve traditional marriage

CINEMA: Depraved film the symptom of a sick culture - the Coen Brothers' Burn After Reading

Australian Christian Lobby responds (letter)

Chechen terrorists (letter)

BOOKS: WARSAW 1920: Lenin's Failed Conquest of Europe, by Adam Zamoyski

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Abortion increases risk of pre-term births

by Babette Francis

News Weekly, December 6, 2008
Poland in just a few years has managed to reduce the incidence of premature births by restricting the availability of abortion. Babette Francis reports.

Poland in just a few years has achieved something American medical researchers can only dream about, according to Brent Rooney, a Canadian medical researcher with a special focus on premature birth risk factors.

The Demographic Yearbook of Poland reports that, between 1995 and 1997 the rate of extremely pre-term (i.e., under 28 weeks' gestation) newborn babies dropped by 21 per cent. Extremely pre-term newborn have a 14.6 per cent risk of cerebral palsy and about a 26 per cent risk of autism.

The US pre-term birth rate, however, has soared by 44 per cent between 1980 (8.9 per cent) and 2006 (12.8 per cent) and the US extremely pre-term birth (XPB) rate is about 58 per cent higher than Poland's.

Brent Rooney explains why Poland's XPB rate plummeted by 21 per cent. "Between 1989 and 1993 Poland's induced abortion rate per 100 live births dived by 98 per cent due to a new restrictive abortion law.

Opponents of the law predicted a health disaster. Some disaster! Not only did the pre-term birth rate decrease, but maternal mortality declined by 41 per cent between 1995 and 1997 and infant mortality was cut by 25 per cent."

Low maternal mortality rate

Interestingly, the Republic of Ireland, which bans induced abortions, has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world.

In a massive 2007 book, Preterm Birth: Causes, Consequences and Prevention, published by the US's prestigious Institute of Medicine, Greg R. Alexander, ScD, was quoted as identifying "prior first trimester induced abortion" as an "immutable medical risk factor associated with pre-term birth".

In 2003, Brent Rooney and Byron C. Calhoun MD published a review article, providing overwhelming evidence supporting Alexander's findings. This review has never been challenged via a "letter to the editor" in over five years.

Rooney points out that premature birth is a risk factor for many serious birth defects, including cerebral palsy, mental retardation, epilepsy, blindness, deafness, respiratory distress, gastrointestinal problems, serious infections, autism, etc. Indeed, premature birth is regarded as the major factor affecting morbidity and mortality in newborns.

In 2008, Norwegian researchers led by Dag Moster reported that extremely premature newborn (under 28 weeks' gestation) had 9.7 times the autism risk of full-term newborn (at least 37 weeks' gestation).

Another 2008 study by Catherine Limperopoulos reported that newborns under 1,500 grams (i.e., 3 lbs. 5 ozs.) had an absolute 26 per cent risk of autism.

As pointed out by Charles Francis QC, Philip Steer, editor-in-chief of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, let the cat out of the bag in an e-mail to a colleague, but not meant to be seen by the general public, that admitted "... none of us dispute the link between termination of pregnancy and pre-term labour, the evidence is overwhelming".

It is a tragedy that the Victorian Law Reform Commission, the Victorian Brumby Labor Government and those who voted for the Abortion Law Reform Bill 2008 — all of whom had access to the above data — did not evaluate the costs of abortion to our health care system in terms of future high-risk pregnancies and high-tech, labour-intensive care in neo-natal units, not to mention the emotional costs to parents of children with disabilities due to premature birth.

Economics researcher Dennis Howard, president of the Movement for a Better America, has evaluated the impact of abortion on the US economy in trillions of dollars, including the lost support for the social security system, which experts say still presents a host of challenges for the future and questions about whether younger Americans will receive anything from it.

Other people's children

I guess that Australian politicians such as former Australian Democrat senator Lyn Allison and Victorian upper house Greens MP Colleen Hartland, who say they do not regret aborting their only pregnancies, expect other people's children to provide services for them in their older years.

It is not a simple matter of having a parliamentary pension. Other people's children will have to grow the food, provide the transport, and all the other basic necessities of life.

And who will Lyn and Colleen take to the office on that feminist festival, "Take your daughter to work day"?

— The author Babette Francis, B.Sc. (Hons), is national co-ordinator of Endeavour Forum Inc.


1. Richard E. Behrman, Adrienne Stith Butler (eds),Preterm Birth: Causes, Consequences, and Prevention (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2007).

2. Brent Rooney and Byron C. Calhoun, "Induced abortion and risk of later premature births", Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol. 8, No. 2, Summer 2003.

3. D. Moster, R.T. Lie and T. Markestad, "Long-term medical and social consequences of pre-term birth", New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 359, No. 3, July 17, 2008.

4. C. Limperopoulos et al. "Positive screening for autism in ex-preterm infants: prevalence and risk factors", Pediatrics, Vol. 121, No. 4, April 2008.

5. Cited in Charles Francis, "Abortion bill cannot enforce gestational limits", News Weekly (Melbourne), October 11, 2008.

6. Steven W. Mosher and Colin Mason, "The economic consequences of abortion", News Weekly (Melbourne), November 22, 2008.

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