Physical effects

Physical effects

Physical effects of induced abortion

Each year Irish women are referred to England for abortions. Most of these women have been advised by medical practitioners or health professionals. Are they being made aware of the risks involved?


1. The neck of the womb is tightly closed and must be opened by artificial dilation.

2. An instrument called a sound, like a steel rod which indicates the direction of the canal and the size of the uterus, is the first instrument introduced into the neck of the womb in the process of dilatation. If this sound is pushed too far or too forcibly the uterus may be perforated. However, use of the sound may avoid perforation by abortion instruments "which would produce greater injury" (Stubblefield 1986)

3. Infection in the Vagina (the birth canal) can be carried upwards into the uterus and spread into the fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (P.I.D. / salpingitis). The operator may lack experience and fail to estimate the gestational age, or to recognise developmental abnormalities in the uterus (Hern, 1984).

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1. "uterine perforation, laceration of the cervix, haemorrhage and anaesthesia-related accidents" (Castadot 1986)

2. Pelvic infections, bleeding requiring transfusion and unintended surgery (laparotomy, hysterotomy, hysterectomy) these represent 88% of all major early complications (Tietze 1983)

3. Shock, haemorrhage, failure of the uterus to contract, immediate re-evacuation being necessary (Stubblefield 1986)

4. Anaesthetic accidents; collapse (Baird 1984, Cates 1987); Epileptic fit (Sederberg-Olsen 1983, Brash 1976);. Death (Kafrissen 1986, Mulder 1985, Cates 1981)

5. Incomplete abortion - to check this "a gauze bag is commonly used to collect tissue within the suction bottle" (Hern 1984)

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