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For US Women, Abortion Remains Medically Safe

Experts say that all the evidence that has been collected shows that abortion is a fundamentally safe procedure for women.

Dr. Sarah Prager said that abortion is much safer than childbirth and it is also safer than a lot of commonly conducted procedures. This includes plastic surgery, colonoscopy, and tonsillectomy. She is a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Abortion Remains Medically Safe

Prager noted that there are no enduring mental or physical health problems faced by women who receive abortions.

For US Women, Abortion Remains Medically Safe

Prager said that from abortion, there are no long-term health risks and that it was not associated with future risk of ectopic pregnancy or infertility.

There was no correlation to miscarriage or birth defects either. She added that when compared to carrying a pregnancy to term, there are no increased risks of mental health problems either.

Prager said that the mortality rate is about 0.7 for every 100,000 procedures for legal abortion. The death rate for childbirth, for comparison, is about 9 for every 100,000 deliveries.

Prager said that colonoscopies have a death rate of 3 for every 100,000, plastic surgery has 1 for every 100,000, and tonsillectomy has 3 for every 100,000.

Prager said that when compared to carrying a child to term and other procedures, abortion is relatively much safer.

Amanda Stevenson said that the abortion rate in the United States has been declining for decades.

According to Guttmacher Institute, in 2017, the abortion rate was 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women who were of childbearing age. This was down 8% from 2013. This is a non-profit reproductive health policy research group.

In the United States, this is the lowest rate that has ever been observed. In 1973, the rate was 16.3 and it rose to a high of 29.3 in 1981. The institute said that it has been declining ever since.

Stevenson said that right after abortion was made legal in the US by Roe v. Wade, the number and rate of abortions increased rapidly. Through the 1980s, it stayed relatively stable and after that, it started declining.

Stevenson said that around 3 out of every 5 abortions are performed for women who are in their 20s.

For teenagers, the abortion rate has declined most rapidly. It has dropped from 6.1 to 3.4 per 1,000 between 2008 and 2014 for girls between the ages 15 and 17.

About 2/3rd of abortions, in recent years, occurred at eight weeks of pregnancy or earlier. Stevenson said that 88% of these abortions occurred in the first 12 weeks.

After 20 weeks, only 1.3% of abortions happen.

Prager said that there are 3 types of abortions: abortions by the usage of medication like mifepristone. This induces premature labor.

Vacuum suction is used by uterine aspiration in order to remove the uterine contents from the cervix. Prager said that it takes less than 5 minutes to accomplish during the first trimester. She said that it generally does not even require anesthesia.

After 14 weeks of gestation, surgical abortion occurs. This involves the evacuation of uterine contents after dilation. This has lower complication rates than a medication abortion and is performed as an outpatient procedure.

Prager said that mifepristone is not understood properly by many people as it is highly regulated just like other dangerous medicines even though it is very safe.

She said that the FDA, for mifepristone, requires that a provider needs to register in order to dispense the medication. She said that it cannot be prescribed by a physician to be picked up at a pharmacy.

Prager said that the Plan B emergency contraception is not the same.

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