By Paul Stark and Dave Andrusko
The opinions expressed in the prestigious British medical publication The Lancet carry enormous weight, even when the conclusions are at war with the facts. A recent example is “Women’s choice is key to reduce maternal deaths.”
This November 24 editorial is the latest pro-abortion attempt to exploit the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant Indian woman who died on October 28 in Galway University Hospital, Ireland, from overwhelming infection. Based on the most fragmentary “evidence,” the pro-abortion establishment insisted she died because the hospital refused to abort her unborn child by inducing labor.
There are two investigations underway trying to find why she died and what, if any, errors the hospital made in treating her. As Michael Kirke has written, “Many of the facts surrounding the case are not at all clear, but one thing is certain: this tragic case is not the result of Ireland’s law protecting the unborn child. At issue is medical practice in a particular Irish hospital and whether or not the medical team involved in this case did everything they could do to save this woman’s life, as they were obliged to do by Irish law and the ethics of their profession.”
The Lancet editorial takes it as a given that she had been denied an abortion by a “developed” country by way of preface to the real subject of its editorial: the claim that legalized (elective) abortion is necessary to prevent maternal deaths. In fact that is a giant non sequitur, and counterexamples prove that it is simply false.
The editorial acknowledges that “maternal deaths are thankfully now rare in developed countries” but that “the story is a different one in the developing world.” Exactly.
Maternal mortality is more a function of the overall medical circumstances than of the legal status of abortion. Ireland and Chile are two of the safest places in the world for women, and they do not permit the killing of unborn children. And some countries, like Guyana, have legalized abortion but have not seen maternal deaths decline (Guyana’s rate only increased).
Legalizing abortion, note the authors of a recent peer-reviewed study of maternal mortality in Chile, “is unnecessary to improve maternal health: it is a matter of scientific fact in our study. We think this should be recognized by a scientific community guided by principles of honesty and objectivity in science, no matter how controversial the finding might be.” The editors at The Lancet should pay attention.
Developing countries must not neglect the basics of maternal health care in order to promote abortion — or implement WHO’s dangerous new abortion “guidelines,” as the Lancet editorial recommends. Women and unborn children deserve better.