Tuesday 21 July 2009

Does legalizing abortion protect women's health?

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world's largest abortion promoter, has publicised a study by a Dr Suzanne Belton, a researcher at Charles Darwin University, Australia. The study claims that "[w]omen in East Timor are forced into potentially fatal abortions because they cannot legally terminate a pregnancy". The study was funded and commissioned by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), one of the world's major anti-life agencies. The goal behind the so-called research is clear, as Dr Belton herself describes it: "investigating and canvassing a way forward" - in other words, how to legalize abortion in East Timor. The flaws in the research are immediately apparent - Dr Belton admits that "there were no figures on the number of unsafe abortions" in East Timor.

This sort of propaganda masquerading as research has long been the stock-in-trade of the anti-life movement. I'm therefore delighted to read a new factsheet debunking the claims made by IPPF, UNFPA et al. "Does legalizing abortion protect women's health?" has been produced by the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund and Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach. Do read this vital factsheet in full. Here are some key extracts:
  • "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."
  • "Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former leading abortionist and co-founder of NARAL Pro-Choice America, wrote in 1979 that the argument that women could die from dangerous, illegal abortions in the United States “is now wholly invalid and obsolete” because “antibiotics and other advances [have] dramatically lowered the abortion death rate."
  • "In England and Wales, the maternal mortality rate fell from a high of over 550 (maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) in 1931 to less than 50 by 1960. The steep fall corresponded with the use of antibiotics, blood transfusions, and the management of hypertensive pregnancy disorders."
  • "[L]egalized abortion does nothing to solve the underlying problem of poor medical care in the developing world."
  • "Nations with strong abortion restrictions actually have lower maternal death rates than countries that permit abortion on demand."
  • "The evidence shows that a country’s maternal mortality rate is determined to a much greater extent by the quality of medical care than by the legal status of abortion."
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