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New Analysis: Abortion Does Not Improve Maternal Health

by | Aug 31, 2012

By Carol Tobias, President
National Right to Life

Recently National Right to Life, in conjunction with Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach, released a new analysis of research from Chile and other sources showing that it is improved medical care, not legalizing abortion, that is the solution to the problem of maternal deaths in the developing world.

The analysis was released at the World Health Assembly in Geneva Switzerland.

Both National Right to Life and MCCL GO called for a renewed emphasis on improving health care for women as the only sure means of reducing maternal mortality.

As National Right to Life Vice President for International Affairs and UN Representative Jeanne Head observed, “We have known for decades that most maternal deaths can be prevented with adequate nutrition, basic health care, and good obstetric care throughout pregnancy, at delivery, and postpartum. Yet some in the international community have focused their resources primarily on legalizing abortion at the expense of women’s lives.

Scott Fischbach, executive director of MCCL GO, added that the “analysis presents clear, factual evidence to repudiate the claim that legalized abortion reduces maternal mortality.”

The analysis, “Women’s Health & Abortion,” compares the impact of improved medical care and legalized abortion on maternal mortality rates in several countries.

Maternal deaths declined sharply in the United States through the 1930s and 1940s, for example, coinciding with advancements in maternal health care, obstetric techniques, antibiotics, and in the general health status of women. This occurred long before the widespread legalization of abortion.

Chile offers the most striking proof that maternal mortality is unrelated to the legal status of abortion. Chile reduced its maternal mortality rate even after its prohibition of abortion in 1989, and now has the lowest maternal mortality rate in Latin America. Even maternal deaths due specifically to abortion declined—from 10.78 abortion deaths per 100,000 live births in 1989 to .83, less than one percent, in 2007, a reduction of 92.3 percent after abortion was made illegal.

In the developing world, the danger of legalized abortion is profound, the analysis found. As Jeanne explains: “Women generally at risk because they lack access to a doctor, hospital, or antibiotics before abortion’s legalization will face those same circumstances after legalization. And if legalization triggers a higher demand for abortion, as it has in most countries, more injured women will compete for those scarce medical resources. The number of abortion-related maternal deaths may actually increase.”

Because international organizations such as the United Nations and its various commissions and conventions and the World Health Assembly, have often been co-opted by international pro-abortion forces to push abortion as a worldwide “human right,” National Right to Life and MCCL GO called upon the World Health Assembly to focus its resources on the improvement of women’s health care in the developing world.

In a press statement, Scott noted, “We urge the World Health Assembly to adopt measures to significantly reduce maternal mortality in the developing world by improving women’s health care. We call upon the World Health Assembly to save lives, not expend endless energy and resources in areas where there is no demonstrated benefit to maternal health and now reason to believe abortion would make things worse.”

For nearly two decades, National Right to Life has been a leader at the United Nations in educating delegates and ambassadors from the far corners of the Earth about abortion and the threats to human life that lurk in every document, commission, and convention at the UN. Even as pro-abortion efforts falter domestically, organizations such the International Planned Parenthood Federation, continue to push a radical agenda worldwide in an attempt to repeal the protective laws of pro-life countries.

This latest analysis from MCCL GO and National Right to Life goes a long way in educating the diplomatic community about the dangers of abortion to maternal health and the benefits of overall improved medical care for women worldwide. Just like here at home, every step we take internationally makes a difference for unborn children.

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Categories: United Nations