Women’s Health and Abortion

By Dave Andrusko

Last week we posted a link to an important new educational resource  titled “Legalized Abortion is Not Good for Women’s Health: The Evidence Shows that abortion access does not reduce maternal mortality.” The report can be found at here.

We also posted a summary of the main findings titled “New Analysis of Maternal Mortality Confirms Health Care, Not Abortion, Key Factor in Saving Lives,” which you can read here

Neither is long, so I am imploring you read at least the latter, if not both. Let me make just three quick points you whet your appetite.

First, there are lots of pluses to this analysis, but in terms of arguing the case in an open forum, it helps enormously that the analysis draws on data from sources no one would accuse of being pro-lifer outlets, such as the World Health Organization, United Nations, and the British medical journal, the Lancet.

Second, properly understood, these studies make a crucial point that cannot be overlooked by anyone seriously concerned about maternal mortality: Improved medical care, not abortion, is the solution to the problem of maternal deaths in the developing world.

Third, and finally, that conclusion makes impeccable sense. Take the impact of legalization. In 1989 Chile prohibited abortion. It now has the lowest Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in Latin America. By contrast in 1997 South Africa legalized abortion on demand. The MMR there is now estimated at 410, “nearly double the rate in 1990.”

That is the case—as you will read—for many reasons but two in particular. Legalization typically increases the number of abortions but does nothing to solve the underlying problem of poor medical care in the developing world.

Legalizing abortion aggravates a major existing problem: the absence of “adequate nutrition, basic health care, and good obstetric care throughout pregnancy, at delivery, and postpartum.”

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