Saturday, February 13, 2010

Who woulda thunk it? Better prenatal care prevents deaths!

Chilean Maternal Mortality Study Undercuts Pro-Abortion Claims

It's a favorite ploy of abortion advocates to lament high rates of maternal death in poorer countries -- and propose widespread cheap legal abortion as the solution.

Aside from the fact that the women in question might not actually want abortions -- Fancy that! -- is the fact that widespread cheap legal abortion does absolutely diddly-squat to address the causes of maternal mortality.

According Dr. Elard Koch, an epidemiologist on the faculty of medicine at the University of Chile, Chile's promotion of "safe pregnancy" measures such as "prenatal detection" and accessibility to professional birth attendants in a hospital setting are primarily responsible for the decrease in maternal mortality. The maternal mortality rate declined from 275 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1960 to 18.7 deaths in 2000, the largest reduction in any Latin country.

Because Chile is a nation that protects unborn life in its penal laws and constitution, the decline is therefore not attributable to access to legal abortion. In fact, the preliminary study shows, maternal mortality in Chile declined over the last century regardless of whether abortion was legal or illegal. Chile tightened its restrictions on abortion in the late 1980s.

Likewise, maternal mortality plummeted in the United States long before the introduction of legalized abortion.

For more information on how abortion advocates repeatedly claim that it's their pet cause that reduces maternal mortality, rather than the hard work of decent, innocent people, see:

  • Who to Thank for Public Health Miracles
  • The unmistakable, undeniable, clear impact of legalized abortion on maternal mortality

    I'll make it clear here by posting maternal mortality in the US over the 20th Century, with a vertical line at Roe vs. Wade, so we can see the clear, unmistakable, undeniable, staggering and spectacular impact ready access to safe, legal abortion had on maternal mortality:

    For those of you with a faulty sarcasm detector: Roe didn't even amount to a blip on the line.

    For those of you who get your information from abortion lobby "fact sheets" this might come as a bit of a shock. You're accustomed to being told things like: "The legalization of induced abortion beginning in the 1960s contributed to an 89% decline in deaths from septic illegal abortions (15) during 1950-1973." (Courtesy, in this case, of the Centers for Disease Control -- for those of you who had any doubts as to their abortion-praising agenda.)

    But if legalized abortion had a great impact in reducing maternal mortality, it somehow magically did it retroactively.

    The way to prevent maternal deaths is to ensure that children grown up well-fed and healthy in a clean, safe environment, and that women have access to good overall health care and specifically good prenatal care.

    Who woulda thunk it?
  • 1 comment:

    Kathy said...

    Thanks for this link -- it really came in handy on my blog when someone blamed El Salvador's "no abortion" policy on its high maternal mortality. It's odd because Chile has the same policy, but an MMR comparable to the US's.

    Here's part of what I wrote in response to the post:

    The reality is, that often in countries where abortion is illegal, health services in general and maternity services in particular are horrible, with high rates of death and disease from things that barely raise a blip on the radar of developed nations... These [illegal American] abortions were unsafe, not because they were illegal nor because they were done by unqualified personnel, but because they were unsafe by their very nature. Up until the development of antibiotics, if a woman got sepsis from childbirth or abortion, there was precious little that could be done for her. Maternal mortality dropped like a rock with the advent of sulfa drugs and penicillin, because it gave doctors for the first time the ability to fight infection. Maternal mortality dropped below 600/100,000 in 1934, and was in a free-fall for decades after, dropping to 75/100,000 in 1951 when abortion was still quite illegal, and continuing to fall to 18.8 in 1972, the year Roe and Doe were decided. Legalizing abortion did not alter its safety; good health practices did. MMR did fall below that, but is now on the upswing again -- all with abortion still very legal. In countries where antibiotics and other health-saving measures are not easily available, we still see high rates of preventable deaths from all sorts of reasons, including abortion.

    Here are abortion laws by country for 2007. As you can see, El Salvador does not allow for abortion for any reason. It has a maternal mortality rate of 170/100,000. However, what you may not have noticed from those same sources is that Chile also does not allow abortion for any reason, even to save the life of the mother, yet its maternal mortality rate is 16/100,000 -- about the same as the United States' rate.

    While one might say (as is often said of Ireland), that women are merely going across the border to neighboring countries where abortion *is* legal, I would point out that their neighbors (Argentina, Bolivia and Peru) all have abortion restricted only for the life and health of the mother, and sometimes for rape. Plus, all three of these countries have *much* higher MMRs than does Chile: 77, 240, and 290/100,000 respectively. Somehow, even with a full abortion ban, Chile enjoys an MMR comparable to that of the United States.