Abortion is Deadly

At least, it’s deadly when it’s performed in unsafe conditions. Every year, 68,000 women die due to unsafe abortions, of which there are 19 million. In addition, 5 million women have to be hospitalized due to complications arising from unsafe abortions.

Lead researcher Dr Susheela Singh said: “The evidence shows that the health burden of unsafe abortion is large.

“The most effective way of eliminating this highly preventable cause of maternal illness and death, would be to make safe and legal abortion services available and accessible.

“A second, more immediately achievable, goal is to prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place through improved contraception use.”

Also writing in The Lancet, Marge Berer, editor of the journal Reproductive Health Matters, said the study painted a grim picture.

“The burden of injury and hospital admission are all the worse for being almost always avoidable.

“When legal restrictions on abortion are reduced, the rate of deaths and morbidity decreases greatly.”

Predictably, the wingnuts are going crazy because of the study; Lifesite’s article puts scarequotes around the word “study” and says that it’s “based on pro-abortion guesses,” even though the WHO reached the exact same numbers in a study from 2004 based on figures from 2000.

Like the previous controversial study published in the Lancet, this study is facing criticism that’s long on ideologicaly platitudes and short on facts. The only concrete piece of evidence anti-choicers are fielding in opposition to the study’s conclusion that legalization of abortion increases its level of safety is the experience of Poland, which “imposed new legal restrictions on abortion in the mid 1990s and consequently showed improved maternal and infant health.”

Poland outlawed abortion in almost all cases in 1993. Its infant, child, and maternal mortality rates had been falling before 1993 and kept falling afterward, because of the tremendous economic growth that followed the fall of communism. Similar trends in maternal mortality can be observed in Romania, Hungary, and the three Baltic states.

In fact, Romania, where this trend was strongest, achieved it mostly due to legalizing abortion. The WHO report linked above has a nifty graph of Romania’s maternal mortality rate (p. 3 on paper, or 9 in the PDF file), which went up by 50% of almost two in the four years following Ceausescu’s ban on abortion, with the rate of abortion-related deaths going up by 200%, and then crashed by 50% in the first year after abortion was legalized.

The bodies of women who died in self-induced abortions look more horrific than aborted 22-week-old fetuses. The only differences between the two are that you don’t need to magnify a picture of a dead woman ten times for people to be able to see it, and that pro-choicers have enough scientific facts behind them that they don’t need to resort to these emotional appeals.

Like an individual fascist or communist, an individual anti-choicer need not be a murderer. But the policies he supports usher in millions of injuries and myriads of deaths every year, and retard the development of tens of third-world countries. Suppressing individual rights is murderous regardless of whether it’s in the name of some god, the state, the working class, or the rights of blastulas.

(Via Appletree)

6 Responses to Abortion is Deadly

  1. Axel says:

    So many good articles to think about and so less time…

    I don’t understand why people are so astonished or annoyed by the study. Isn’t this common knowledge in the US? If you prohibit abortion women will try to have it nevertheless. That’s exactly what history teaches us.

    During the Nazi time, abortion was prohibit by death penalty but even under these conditions, abortions were practiced . Women asked her boyfriend to push her down the stairs or to beat her stomach, they went to charlatans or “backyard doctors”. Women helping pregant women doing illegal abortions were called “Engelmacherinnen” – angel makers – because of the high death rates. They typically used rusty dress hangers or poke around with a quill. Today, some medical exhibitions exist where such “instruments” are collected and presented. It’s horrifying.

    I think one of the problems in the whole debate is the non-drawed distiction between, what Max Weber called, “Gesinnungsethik” und “Verantwortungsethik”. “Gesinnungsethik” refers to an ethic which is defined by radical, religious foundational principles while in another sense it pertains to a person’s faithfulness to such principles from the perspective of intention. A good translation is “absolute ethic” or “ethic of conviction”. At the other hand, “Verantwortungsethik” is an ethic which takes the (political) consequences into account, so “ethic of responsibility” seems a good translation to me.

    Arguing that abortion is murder and therefore it should be prohibited or that it is a women’s right to choose is another level of argumentation as the weightings of the pro’s and con’s for different politcal ways and means reaching a political goal like the reduction of teen pregancy rates or abortion rates. I’m not very familiar with the actual debate in the US but it’s my impresson in general that political disputes are often framed in terms of an ethic of conviction. That’s an appropriate political (and very emotional) mean for mobilization supporters in social movements but it’s very problematic if you are politically responsible, have to bargain and to find political compromises that are stabile and supported by a majority. “morality” or “values”, that’s my impression, are catchphrases mostly occupied by politicians of the political right.

    So if liberals have a political disadvantage in the voters’ perception of their “morality” why aren’t there more discussions in terms of an ethic of repsonsibility? Or do they also exist? As a politician, don’t waste taxes for anti-sex-educational “abstinence only” programs. They don’t work, that’s the uniform result of more than 30 years of social scientific work. Respect the decades of experiences and successes in other countries, esp. the statistics in sex-positive European countries like the Netherlands where the pregancy and abortion rates are drastically lower than in the US. If you really want to protect unborn children as most as possible, implement the most promising political means. Politicians denying the facts are irresponsible. And that’s immoral.

  2. [...] Usually, when an article has a name like “Abortion is Deadly” I brace myself to get really, really PO’d.  This one is different. [...]

  3. hazardouswords says:

    Good article. I must admit that I was pro-abortion for quite a long time until a person changed my outlook on it. But regardless, the fact to dismiss the study, as was done with Lifesite, is ludicrous, especially when the study was dismissed soley based on assumptions. It doesn’t matter if every person working on that study was pro-choice. A study is a study as long as it is done legitimately. And, as you said, the WHO came to the same conclusion.

    As far as whether to legalize abortion or not to legalize it goes, I feel that it should be legal. Although I am against abortion, I am sane enough to believe that we should keep God out of politics. I feel that abortion should be allowed in cases of sexual abuse, but not when a woman is 8 months into her pregnancy.

    Once again, very well written article. I enjoyed reading it and hope that others enjoyed it as well.

  4. [...] These deaths are tolerated because they’re poor women in developing nations. “Pro-life” activists and politicians are perfectly happy to sacrifice the lives and bodies of those women in order to promote their political agenda. And when you present definitive evidence that their policies are killing people — and there is no shortage of such evidence — they stick their fingers in their ears and simply pretend not to hear you. [...]

  5. person!! says:

    aborition is just plain wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! bad bad bad

  6. [...] their policies are killing people — and there is no shortage of such evidence — they stick their fingers in their ears and simply pretend not to hear [...]

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