WHO concedes that making abortion legal does not make it safe


By Pat Buckley, European Life Network

abortionhurtswomenThe pro-life movement has always rejected the rhetoric put forward by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) the World Health Organization (WHO) and many others in favor of so called ‘safe and legal abortion’.

Hillary Clinton is on the record for making statements such as the following (Toronto Star 2010)

“You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health and reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortions.”

The implication in this statement and many other similar expressions, is that all legal abortions are safe and illegal abortions are unsafe.

A standard response to this claim from pro-lifers has always been that irrespective of whether the terms ‘safe and legal’ are used it is never safe for the baby and regularly unsafe for the mother.

The World Health Organization should have known better than to blindly follow pro-abortion propaganda but it seems that they have had a late conversion to the fact that making abortion legal does not make it safe judging by an editorial in their latest Bulletin.

The editorial with the title, ‘From concept to measurement: operationalizing WHO’s definition of unsafe abortion’, considers the definition of “unsafe abortion” and distinguishes the safety of abortion from its legality. This is a reversal of a policy that has been in place since the early 1990s and a step in the right direction.

The article acknowledges, “WHO has historically used a pragmatic operational construct that measures safety in terms of only one dimension—legality—in developing its regional and global estimates of rates of unsafe abortions.”

Thus, illegal abortion is not synonymous with unsafe abortion, as indicated by the original definition: “… legality or illegality of services, however, may not be the defining factor of their safety […] the safety of abortion must be considered within both the legal and legally restricted contexts.”

Rates of induced abortion are difficult to measure because of frequent underreporting or misclassification in surveys, hospital records and health statistics.

In light of this, WHO has historically used a pragmatic operational construct that measures safety in terms of only one dimension – legality.

Clearly this methodology distorts the number of so called “unsafe abortions” in countries that prohibit abortion, and has been a useful tool in the hands of pro-abortionists in persuading Governments to legalize abortion.

In point of fact legalizing abortion has never made it safe. It only makes it more common. Evidence from around the world clearly demonstrates that legalizing abortion is not necessary to reduce maternal mortality and protect the lives and health of women.

The article concludes,

“This emphasizes that the termination of pregnancy is neither as simple nor as safe as some advocates of abortion would have the public believe. Moreover, the incidence of such complications as infertility, recurrent miscarriages, premature labor, ruptured uterus or emotional manifestations cannot be assessed at this stage.“

It is to be hoped that the WHO conversion to the truth in respect of this one issue will continue and that they will revise their entire approach to motherhood and childcare by recognizing the humanity of the unborn, the injustice of terminating the lives of unborn babies and that they will genuinely research the physical, psychological and emotional consequences of abortion for women.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Buckley’s blog.