Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Two deaths, and looking at the data

On September 28, 1929, 29-year-old Barbara Auer died in Chicago from complications of an illegal abortion performed at an unknown place. The person or persons responsible were never identified or prosecuted.

Fast forward to 1982, when 20-year-old Rhonda Hess underwent a safe, legal abortion. After the procedure, she developed an infection. The infection led to problems with clotting of the blood. Rhonda was taken to Moss Regional Hospital in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she died on September 28, 1982.

Yes, such deaths were rarer in 1982 than they were in 1929. Before concluding that it was abortion's legal status that caused Barbara's death and killed many other women like her, consider that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. In fact, during the first two thirds of the 20th Century, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality, including mortality from abortion. Most researches attribute this plunge to improvements in public health and hygiene, the development of blood transfusion techniques, and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.

external image MaternalMortality.gif

Look at that graph. Consider that abortion-on-demand wasn't legalized until 1970 in some states, and 1973 nationwide. Does it REALLY look like legalization was the big lifesaver?

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