Abortion and Maternal Mortality
by Bradley Mattes, MBS
International groups such as the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have been aggressively marketing a new strategy to push their pro-abortion agenda.
Third-world countries, they insist, must have safe abortion. Further, they claim the only way to make abortion safe is to
make abortion legal in nations where unborn babies are currently protected by law.
These pro-abortion organizations also believe that legal abortion is essential to lowering maternal mortality, that is, the number of deaths of mothers per 100,000 births. The highest levels of the US government are echoing this sentiment. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health." Then, as if to remove all doubt of what she meant, Secretary Clinton added, "And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal.abortion." It is an unmistakable strategy of making reduced maternal mortality rates and access to legal abortion inseparable,
all in the name of protecting women's lives.
They should have researched the facts before embarking on this methodology. Our friends at LifeSiteNews.com have thoroughly investigated the matter, and we'd like to share some of their findings. There is a considerable body of evidence from around the world showing that
permissive abortion laws result in a higher maternal mortality rate, not a lower one.
For example, the country of Mauritius has the lowest maternal mortality rate of African nations,
yet it has some of the continent's most protective laws regarding the unborn. Contrast this with Ethiopia that has permissive
abortion laws and a maternal mortality rate forty-eight times greater than Mauritius.
When looking at countries in South America, Chile, which protects unborn children, has the lowest maternal mortality rate. By comparison, Guyana, which basically allows abortion-on-demand, has a rate thirty times higher than Chile.
Looking at Southeast Asia, Nepal has no restrictions on abortion and has the highest rate of maternal mortality.
The lowest in this area of the world is Sri Lanka—fourteen times lower—and they have some of the most protective laws in the world.
The Central American nation of El Salvador experienced a decrease by half in their maternal mortality rate after they began protecting unborn babies in 1998. Poland's rate dropped by forty-percent after they passed major pro-life legislation.
In contrast, South Africa saw maternal deaths increase twenty-percent in the wake of liberalizing their abortion laws. Even the International Planned Parenthood Federation admitted that part of what they called a "surge" in deaths of South African women was due to complications of legal abortion in that country.
Worldwide, Ireland, which protects its unborn children, has the lowest rate of maternal mortality of all. Ironically, three of the richest and most advanced nations on earth: the United States, Norway and Canada, showed an increase in maternal mortality. All three have the most liberal abortion laws in the world.
Dr. Donna Harrison is a diplomat
for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the president of the American Academy of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She believes that the key to reducing maternal mortality isn't abortion,
but instead can be found in prenatal care, better skilled birth attendants, antibiotics and oxytocics.
Legal abortion, Dr. Harrison points out, actually increases a woman's chances of experiencing hemorrhage, infection and damage to her reproductive organs, particularly if pieces of the unborn child are left in the womb. This makes chemical abortion, or RU 486, most risky for women because of an eightfold increased risk of bleeding, five times higher chance of an incomplete abortion and twice the risk of having to rely on a surgical abortion as a backup. Ironically, chemical abortions are being widely promoted by pro-abortion organizations that stress the need for abortion to reduce maternal mortality.
Contrary to what international pro-abortion organizations and political leaders in the Obama administration say, making abortion legal in third-world countries will not reduce the incidence of maternal mortality. The extensive evidence shows quite the opposite is true. Nations that protect their unborn children also enjoy the benefits of better health for their women.
In most of these nations, mothers are the backbone of families and society.