Would you expect a country that prohibits all abortion to have a higher or lower rate of maternal mortality? Can countries which prohibit abortion achieve a standard of maternal health care comparable with those that permit abortion?
The answer revealed in a new video, which sets out to answer these questions from a scientific and medical perspective, may surprise you:
Medical experts in maternal health care testified before the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in March that direct abortion is not necessary to save the life of the mother in any circumstance. Several of the speakers were panelists at the International Symposium on Maternal Healthcare, which released the Dublin Declaration last fall.
The findings from Ireland and Chile indicate that prohibiting abortion is consistent with providing high-quality medical care to pregnant mothers. Ireland consistently boasts one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world according to the U.N., UNICEF, and WHO (#1 in 2005, #3 in 2008). The 1989 ban on abortion in Chile was correlated with a near-complete reduction in maternal mortality. In 2008, Chile had the second-lowest maternal mortality rate in the Americas, just behind Canada and ahead of the United States.
In fact, widespread access to abortion may actually increase abortion-related mortality! Developed nations with easy access to abortion typically have a higher rate of maternal deaths caused by abortion, despite their generally higher-quality health care systems. According to the WHO, abortion-related mortality is responsible for 8.2% of maternal deaths in developed countries, while in Africa (where abortion is restricted and where 56% of all maternal deaths occur worldwide), abortion is related to less than 4% of maternal deaths.
Despite the claims of abortion advocates, the weight of scientific evidence over decades of research demonstrates that abortion is not a rational answer to maternal mortality. In reality, education and access to higher-quality health care (especially better access to prenatal and perinatal care) decrease maternal mortality most effectively, not access to abortion.