Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Does legalizing abortion protect women's health?

Assessing the argument for expanded abortion access around the globe

MCCL's brochure on the maternal mortality argument used by international pro-abortion groups is now available online here. Past posts on this subject here (MCCL presented the report at a Geneva World Health Assembly meeting last month).

The first few paragraphs:

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 42 million abortions worldwide each year, and 20 million of these are clandestine or illegal. According to WHO, unsafe abortion causes about 65,000 to 70,000 maternal deaths each year, 99 percent of which take place in the developing world.

Based on these figures (which are largely questionable and unreliable), some groups argue that repealing laws prohibiting or restricting abortion would prevent many women from dying or being harmed as a result of dangerous, illegal abortions. "The legalization of abortion and the provision of family planning services dramatically cut abortion-related deaths," claims the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

But this conclusion is contrary to the available evidence. The lack of modern medicine and quality health care, not the prohibition of abortion, results in high maternal mortality rates. Legalized abortion actually leads to more abortions -- and in the developing world, where maternal health care is poor, this would increase the number of women who die or are harmed by abortion.

Read the rest.