Yesterday was World Prematurity Day. Social media campaigns sought to disseminate information about reducing the risk of preterm birth and all of the accompanying health complications endured by babies who suffer from being born before their bodies are ready. Medical advances have been significant in improving the outcomes for babies born prematurely. In fact, today babies can survive outside the womb after barely reaching the halfway point in gestation. The discovery of surfactants, for example, has brought hope to countless premature babies who would have otherwise died as a result of underdeveloped pulmonary tissue. Incubators, ventilators, neonatal surgery, volunteer baby cuddlers– many factors have converged to increase the odds of a child born prematurely surviving.
However, the ideal is to prevent premature birth altogether. The medical community is of one mind where term is concerned: full term is the gold standard, and today that goal rests firmly at 37 weeks gestation. If a baby can achieve the 37 week milestone, he has a much firmer guarantee of being born healthy and going home very soon after birth.
You may know that smoking and lack of prenatal care are preventable risk factors for preterm birth. Large, well-funded, and far-reaching organizations like the March of Dimes have made significant strides in raising public awareness of these risk factors. But, in spite of undisputed, well-documented evidence, the same nonprofits – and the medical community at large – have been conspicuously mum about the link between abortion and preterm birth. This risk factor is 100% preventable.
As American Life League’s Leslie Tignor explains, groups ostensibly created to reduce the rate of premature birth – specifically, the March of Dimes—fail “to educate women that the procedures used for abortion involve artificially dilating the cervix in order to suction the contents of the uterus – the child in the womb – and that this leads to a higher incidence of incompetent cervix – the inability of the cervix to remain closed and support a continued pregnancy.”
Furthermore, many women cite a desire for the well-being of their future children as a motive for undergoing an abortion! So why are mothers not being apprised of the risk they are imposing on said future children before they undergo their abortion? “At the very least,” said Tignor, the March of Dimes “should explain why it has chosen to exclude potentially life-saving information – especially since it says it is “walking for the health of ALL babies.”
To find out more about what you can do to raise awareness of the abortion-prematurity link, visit Secular Pro-Life’s Prevent Preterm initiative.