Abortion does not lessen maternal mortality in developing countries

Editor’s note. This comes from the Toronto-based deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research.

Toronto, Ontario: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent ear-marking of tens of millions to promote abortion in the developing world is not justified by the evidence about what genuinely promotes women’s health. Contrary to a widespread assumption, research shows that statewide abortion practice does not result in improved health for women or children.

Based on official UN statistics, four countries that have banned abortion in the past two decades (Poland, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua) have experienced dramatic improvements in maternal and infant health.*

• In addition, countries where legal abortion has long been unavailable (Ireland, Egypt, Uganda, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Mexico) have done significantly better at maintaining or improving maternal and infant health than neighboring countries where abortion is legal on request.*

• The record of the US, the UK, Russia, Hungary, South Africa, India, Cambodia and Nepal, where abortion is legal has been worse than nearby countries where there is legal protection of pregnancy.*

Why is this so?

  • Studies show that the keys to reducing maternal mortality include
  • Skilled attendance at birth
  • Improved education for women
  • Emergency obstetric care (including C-sections)
  • Transportation for emergency obstetric care
  • Community outreach
  • Improved referral systems

It is clear from the research that countries where abortion is not permitted do a much better job of caring for women and their babies than comparable countries where statewide abortion is practiced.

The Canadian government could serve women in developing countries far better by providing improved education, skilled attendance at birth and better obstetrical care than by trying to pressure these nations into accepting abortion.

*Complications: Abortion’s Impact on Women. Dr Angela Lanfranchi, Ian Gentles, and Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy. Published in 2013. (An analysis of over 650 peer-reviewed international studies.)