Hat-tip to Jill: the Global Gag Rule is lethal, to the tune of several hundred thousand people per year.
[Link] Approximately 500 000 women die each year of causes related to pregnancy, abortion and childbirth, 99% of them in developing countries, according to the World Health Organisation.
These deaths would not be tolerated in other circumstances,” says Dorothy Shaw, senior associate dean of the faculty of medicine at the University of British Columbia in Canada.
Countries are failing in their responsibilities and promises to fund sexual and reproductive health programmes, including supporting universal access to contraception, Shaw says. Contraception alone would dramatically reduce abortion rates, she says.
If you want to get it straight from the horse’s mouth, read the WHO’s 2000 report, which says that every year there are 529,000 maternal deaths, out of which 2,500 are in developed countries.
Here’s the thing: the developing world doesn’t have 99.5% of the world’s population. Depending on how far east you draw the boundary in Europe and whether South Korea is considered developed, the developing world has 80-90% of the world’s population.
Access to abortion and family planning services is not the only factor behind maternal mortality. But still, when China, one of the most pro-choice countries in the world, has a ratio of 48/100,000 while the global average is 400, one cannot help but conclude that access to family planning increases maternal health.
Unfortunately, the people who decide development policy in the US right now don’t have “improves people’s lives” as a top criterion for policy ideas. So rules that cut off funds to organizations that even mention abortion as a choice (mind you, even under Clinton USAID didn’t fund abortions) stay, regardless of their actual consequences.