Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Great Britain and Ireland: Data refute myths about abortion law and women's health

A new paper published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons contrasts maternal and neonatal health in Great Britain, which has legal elective abortion, with Ireland, which prohibits abortion. The data from these countries refute three myths about abortion that are prevalent in the international (and domestic) debate.

Myth #1: Legalizing abortion reduces maternal mortality; prohibiting abortion increases it. False. In their paper ("Maternal and Neonatal Health and Abortion: 40-Year Trends in Great Britain and Ireland"), Byron C. Calhoun, John M. Thorp and Patrick S. Carroll note that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (both of which prohibit abortion) have very low maternal mortality rates—typically lower than England, Wales and Scotland (which permit elective abortion). This is consistent with other evidence from around the world showing that maternal mortality is determined by the quality of maternal health care and not by the legal status of abortion.

Myth #2: Prohibiting abortion in one country only causes women to travel to neighboring countries to obtain abortions. Many women do, of course, but most don't. The total abortion rate in 2011 among women in England and Wales was four times greater than the rate among women in the Republic of Ireland and 6.5 times greater than Northern Ireland. The low Irish abortion rates included all Irish women who traveled elsewhere to obtain abortions. Calhoun, Thorp and Carroll observe, "Single parents choose in Northern Ireland to have additional children when their contemporaries in Great Britain tend more often to have abortions. And in Ireland expecting couples often choose to marry while their British contemporaries are more prone to have abortions."

The evidence from Great Britain and Ireland suggests that abortion law does affect the number of abortions—that legalizing abortion increases and prohibiting decreases its incidence.

Myth #3: Abortion doesn't increase the risk of subsequent preterm birth (which is linked to cerebral palsy) or cause other harm to to the health of women and children. The connection between abortion and preterm birth is demonstrated by a wealth of research. A 2009 meta-analysis of 22 studies, for example, found a 36 percent increased risk of future premature birth following abortion. This is further supported by the examples of Great Britain and Ireland. Preterm birth is more common in England, Wales and Scotland than in the Republic of Ireland, which also boasts lower rates of stillbirths and low-birthweight babies.

Calhoun, Thorp and Carroll conclude:
Over the 40 years of legalized abortion in the UK there has been a consistent pattern in which higher abortion rates have run parallel to higher incidence of stillbirths, premature births, low birth-weight neonates, cerebral palsy, and maternal deaths as sequelae [aftereffects] of abortion. In contrast, both Irish jurisdictions consistently display lower rates of all morbidities and mortality associated with legalized abortion.
Legalized abortion offers no benefit to the health of women or their children.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fathers and abortion

Fathers will be honored this Sunday, as they should be. Abortion is often called a women's issue, but here are three ways that it intersects with fatherhood.

(1) The importance of supportive fathers. A 2009 study published in the International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction found that pregnant women who felt they lacked support from the child's father were more likely to choose abortion. A 2004 study in Medical Science Monitor found that 64 percent of American women having abortions said they felt pressured by others to abort. Other studies and evidence confirm that fathers often play a central role in determining pregnancy outcomes.

Men who help conceive a baby must support (emotionally and in whatever other ways) both mother and child. When they don't, abortion is more likely, and women and children suffer (whether abortion is chosen or not).

(2) The effect of abortion on fathers. Abortion can detrimentally affect men just as it can women. Fathers may experience grief, guilt, anger, depression and other psychological consequences following abortion. Books like Men and Abortion: A Path to Healing, Redeeming a Father's Heart and Men and Abortion: Losses, Lessons and Love have explored this issue. A 2000 Canadian study of couples having first-trimester abortions concluded that "being involved in a first-trimester abortion can be highly distressing for both women and men."

Still, the tragedy of "lost fatherhood" has largely been unstudied and ignored. It shouldn't be.

(3) Speaking out. Pro-choice advocates like to say that only women can speak about abortion, and many men are silent or (if they are pro-life, but strangely not if they are pro-choice) their opinions are disregarded. But that doesn't make any sense. The pro-life (or any other) position must be considered on its merits, not dismissed because of some characteristic of a person advancing that position. Many, many women, after all, make the very same pro-life case. Men have an obligation to graciously speak the truth and to defend the lives of those who cannot defend themselves.

Father's Day recognizes that fathers play an essential role in the lives of their children. They are also essential to restoring a culture of life in which all human beings, especially the youngest and most vulnerable, are respected and protected.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

MCCL celebrates 45 years of saving lives

The following news release was issued today, June 12, 2013.

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state's oldest and largest pro-life organization, today celebrates 45 years of dedication to protecting and defending human life. Many hearts have been changed, protective laws passed and lives saved due to the tireless labor of MCCL volunteers and contributors throughout the decades.

"The dedicated, compassionate work of our grass-roots members is the sustaining power of Minnesota's pro-life movement," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "MCCL is one of the most effective pro-life organizations in the nation, thanks to these activists. They are steadily transforming our state's culture into one that respects and protects all innocent human life at every stage."

MCCL has taken a three-pronged approach to advancing its pro-life mission. First, citizens are continually educated on the threats to human life posed by abortion, euthanasia, infanticide and embryo-killing experiments. People are then mobilized to become active pro-life citizens who in turn work to educate others and to support passage of lifesaving laws. Third, MCCL members work to establish legal protection for vulnerable lives.

From a handful of pro-life activists in 1968, MCCL has grown to include more than 70,000 member families and 200 chapters across the state. Together they deliver pro-life educational messages through booths at 88 county fairs and Student Day at the Capitol, call for protective legislation at the annual Jan. 22 MCCL March for Life and as citizen lobbyists, work with public officials to pass legislation protecting the right to life, and much more.

MCCL's innovation and leadership led to passage of the nation's first Parental Notification law in 1981, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and became model legislation for other states. MCCL also has been instrumental in passage of Minnesota's Human Conceptus law (1973), Baby Doe provisions to protect disabled infants (1985), Fetal Homicide law (1986), tightened law on assisted suicide (1992), Woman's Right to Know law (2003), Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act (2005), Positive Alternatives (2005) and a ban on taxpayer funding of human cloning at the University of Minnesota (2009). MCCL also helped bring national attention to the brutal partial-birth abortion method when it was uncovered in 1993.

Abortion numbers have steadily declined for more than 10 years as a result of these protective measures. Last year, MCCL helped to pass two more bills protecting women's health and safety: the licensing and inspection of abortion facilities and a ban on dangerous webcam abortions. Gov. Dayton vetoed both measures.

"It is a testament to our effectiveness that the abortion issue is still front and center in Minnesota," Fischbach said. "MCCL's member volunteers refuse to allow the abortion industry to destroy the dignity and sanctity of human life, no matter how small or vulnerable. We will continue to compassionately fight for those who cannot fight for themselves."

Monday, June 10, 2013

Video: Tongue in motion at 12 weeks after conception