This is an overview article (McCaffrey M: Abortion’s Impact on Prematurity: Closing the knowledge gap.  Family North Carolina. (Spring) 2013; 8(2): 22-27)  by Dr. Martin McCaffrey.  Dr. McCaffrey is a clinical professor of pediatrics at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, director of the Perinatal Quality Collaborative of North Carolina, and member of the N.C. General Assembly Child Fatality Task Force The article is found in the North Carolina Family Policy Council Spring Edition.  The following comments are taken from: There are 137 studies reporting on the abortion-prematurity link. In 2006 the Institute of Medicine published the most complete review of preterm birth. The IOM called abortion an “immutable risk factor for preterm birth,” meaning a woman having an abortion always has an increased chance for future preterm birth. Two well-designed meta-analyses in 2009 combined data from 41 abortion-prematurity studies. A meta-analysis combines multiple studies on a research topic. It is the gold standard for establishing association between a risky behavior, like abortion or smoking, and an outcome like preterm birth. The results showed that after one abortion, risk for a future preterm birth before 37 weeks increases by 36 percent and risk for a future very preterm birth before 32 weeks increases by 64 percent. When a woman has multiple abortions, risk for a future preterm birth increases by 93 percent. There are no meta-analyses that refute this association. The abortion-preterm birth link is settled science. This evidence dwarfs what the IOM called “modest and inconsistent evidence” that smoking increases risk for preterm birth, yet since 1985 Surgeon General Warnings on tobacco products have warned of an increased risk for preterm birth in pregnant women who smoke…Never discussed is the established abortion-prematurity link, which is estimated to be responsible for 31 percent of all very preterm births. In 2009, Dr. Phil Steer, the distinguished editor of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, commented on one 2009 meta-analysis by Dr. Prakesh Shah: “A key finding is that compared to women with no abortion history, even allowing for the expected higher incidence of socio-economic disadvantage, women with just one abortion had increased odds of future preterm birth. We have known for a long time that repeated abortions predispose to early delivery in a subsequent pregnancy.” If we are serious about reducing infant mortality and the toll preterm birth takes…., we must educate about the abortion-preterm birth link. Dr. McCaffrey’s article can be accessed at :’sImpactOnPrematurity2.pdf (PDF also available here.)