Southern Cross Bioethics Institute, bioethical advisers to SPUC, have sent me the following analysis of a disturbing new paper published by the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons:
Commentary for SPUC on Does Induced Abortion Account for Racial Disparity in Preterm Births, and Violate the Nuremberg Code?, Rooney et al., December, 2008
“The great irony is that abortion has done what the [Ku Klux] Klan only dreamed of.” (Dr Alveda King, niece of Rev. Martin Luther King, human rights campaigner.)
Black American women and their children are 4.3 times more likely than non-black American women to be subject to a procedure that was never tested on animals. Added to this inequality is the resulting high rate of preterm and extremely preterm births, and associated disability, in black infants – triple the risk of early preterm birth, and quadruple the risk of extremely preterm birth. This is according to a paper published this year in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, by Rooney, Calhoun and Roche. 
This procedure is abortion. It seems that no animal testing or small human studies have ever been undertaken for the most common method of abortion, vacuum aspiration. This violates the Nuremberg Code that has required, since the 1940s, that “the danger of each experiment must be previously investigated by animal experimentation.”
Animal experimentation possibly has higher ethical standards than the average abortion clinic. For example, in
The tragedy here is not simply that the principle of the Nuremberg Code has been broken. Rather it is that abortion is now known to have substantial risks to women’s health, and to the health of their future children. Not to mention the deadly nature of the procedure for their unborn child.
As Rooney and colleagues note, there is a large body of research evidence to show that abortion is a risk factor for early preterm birth and extremely preterm birth. Extremely preterm birth infants have a 129 times higher risk of cerebral palsy, as well as higher risks for other disabilities and health problems.
But rather than proceeding by the accepted scientific method of initial animal studies, these risks have been established by subjecting millions of women all over the world to abortion. In effect, this means that millions of women have participated in an experiment using the most common method of abortion, vacuum aspiration, and have not been made aware of the risks involved in such experimentation.
In 2004, 38.2% of all surgical abortions in the
Is this an important cause of the observed higher rates of preterm birth among black American babies? Rooney and colleagues think so, and point to the dramatic drop in abortion in
In summary, this paper makes the following disturbing points:
- abortion has not been subject to the usual rigorous process of experimentation before being applied on a large scale to women and children;
- in particular, no animal studies are known to have been undertaken using vacuum aspiration abortion procedures;
- black women have an abortion rate 4.3 times higher than non-black women in the US;
- abortion is now known to increase the risk of preterm and extremely preterm birth in infants born later in the woman’s life; so that not only are more black children killed in the womb, but more experience disability from birth.
At the very least, this data calls for abortion consent forms to carry clear information regarding the risk of preterm and extremely preterm birth, and exactly what that means for a woman’s future children. As Rooney and colleagues point out, “even if an adverse risk from a medical treatment is merely a potential or plausible risk, the patient must be warned of it.” Notably, the May 2007 online consent form provided by Planned Parenthood of Australia makes no mention of the established link between abortion and preterm birth.
The other key issue emphasised by Rooney and colleagues is the high abortion rates of Black American women compared to others. This serious issue must be investigated for its possible eugenic implications.
 Rooney B, Calhoun BC and Roche LE (2008), Does Induced Abortion Account for Racial Disparity in Preterm Births, and Violate the Nuremberg Code?, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Vol. 13, No. 4, Winter, pp. 102-104
 National Health and Medical Research Council (2004), Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes, 7th Edition, Australian Government, Canberra, p. 31.