Do more women die in child birth than from abortion?
In light of the recent Supreme Court decision, Whole Women’s Health vs. Hellerstedt, which struck down a Texas law that was enacted to protect the health and safety of women, pro-abortion advocates, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and columnists from the Washington Post and Vox Magazine, say yes. They claim that abortion is ultimately safer than childbirth.
But is this really true?
We looked into it, and here are the facts.
Apples & Oranges
According to the director of the Center for Disease Control, the maternal mortality rate and the abortion mortality rate are measures “conceptually different and are used by CDC for different health purposes.” As the American Center for Law and Justice reports, “the measures are apples and oranges and cannot be compared one-to-one.”
So the very stats the Supreme Court Justices cited are inaccurate according to the CDC!
How can this be? It’s all in the math.
Interestingly, the pregnancy-related death ratio is calculated by dividing the number of deaths over the number of live births. The total number of pregnancies is not taken into consideration, and this inflates the mortality rate. Furthermore, many pregnancies end in miscarriage and still-birth, but these are not included in the calculation – making the mortality rate seem much larger than it is.
On the other hand, the abortion-related mortality ratio is calculated by dividing the number of deaths by the total number of abortions performed, making this ratio seem much smaller.
In contrast to the child-birth causing death claim, a study conducted in Finland for seven years on nearly 10,000 women, found that there were significant statistical increases in the mortality rate of women after abortion. Women who had abortions were actually 3.5% more likely to die within a year than those who carried their pregnancy to term.
Deaths and Complications Are Underreported
In the 2011 article, “State Abortion Records Full of Gaps,” the Chicago Tribune recounts that health care providers in Illinois are failing to report abortions and abortion related complications – something that is required by law. They describe this as “one of many gaps in the surveillance system viewed as crucial to protecting patients.” They also state,
“The state’s system for tracking abortions is so broken that regulators also may be missing more than 7,000 of the procedures per year.”
But this is not just a statewide problem, it’s also a national issue.
The Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research arm, admits that federal abortion reporting is a “patchwork of surveillance efforts.” They even state,
“Most states report aggregate abortion data to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but reporting from some of them is incomplete and California, Maryland and New Hampshire do not report to the CDC at all.”
A study published in the Journal of Pediatric & Perinatal Epidemiology also cites that
“94% of abortion-associated deaths were not identified from death certificates or cause-of-death registries alone.”
Apparently, death certificates or official reports are unreliable in reporting abortion related deaths.
In addition, reporting abortion complications and making complaints has been known to be difficult for women. Susan Schewel, a former nurse practitioner and executive director for the Women’s Medical Fund in Philadelphia, said the complaint process at the Health Department was,
“…way too burdensome…not to mention the stigma, to have to tell your story aloud to state officials.”
This is another reality that stats won’t be able to take into account. Women have been known to conceal abortions from loved ones, and a physician or coroner may be less apt to report her injury or death as abortion related.
Abortion Is MORE Dangerous
What is abortion? That’s all we really have to ask to see the enormous potential for harm that can be done.
Abortion is an invasive procedure, involving surgical tools being inserted inside a woman’s body and used to tear apart and terminate a child.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, admits that in this invasive procedure, “serious complications may be fatal.” They also makes note of the following complications:
- allergic reaction
- blood clots in the uterus
- incomplete abortion – part of the pregnancy is left inside the uterus
- failure to end the pregnancy
- injury to the cervix or other organs
- undetected ectopic pregnancy
- very heavy bleeding
What a frightening list, to say the least.
Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry often discredit the risks of medical abortion, considering abortion procedures like this, which are performed during the early stages of pregnancy, to be less risky and once again, safer than childbirth. However, this is not true. A recent study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women who have medical abortions have a four-fold higher risk for complications and problems.
Still, the immediate complications are just a part of the story. There are significant risks and negative repercussions that abortion can have on women’s health later on in life.
A study, published in the Southern Medical Journal, was performed in California using the Medicaid records of 173,279 women. They actually found the following results:
“Compared with women who delivered, those who aborted had a significantly higher age-adjusted risk of death from all causes (1.62), from suicide (2.54), and from accidents (1.82), as well as a higher relative risk of death from natural causes (1.44), including the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) (2.18), circulatory diseases (2.87), and cerebrovascular disease (5.46)… Higher death rates associated with abortion persist over time and across socioeconomic boundaries. This may be explained by self-destructive tendencies, depression, and other unhealthy behavior aggravated by the abortion experience.”
In addition, according to the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, documentation shows that since 1957, 58 out of 74 (78%) research studies conducted in 22 countries confirmed an increased risk of breast cancer following induced abortion. In one of the most recent meta-analysis studies conducted in China in February of 2014, a 44% increased risk of breast cancer was found after a woman had one induced abortion (a 76% increase following two induced abortions and an 89% increase following three induced abortions).
Finally, the most comprehensive and largest study of the mental health risks associated with abortion, was published on September 1, 2011, in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry. The study was a meta-analysis that examined 22 other studies that had been published between 1995 and 2009. The study involved 877,181 women – 163,831 of whom had abortions. Here’s what the study found:
Women who have had an abortion have an 81% higher risk of subsequent mental health problems compared to women who have not had an abortion.
Women who aborted have a 138% higher risk of mental health problems compared to women who have given birth.
Women who aborted have a 55% higher risk of mental health problems compared to women with an “unplanned” pregnancy who gave birth.
Women with a history of abortion have higher rates of anxiety (34% higher), depression (37%), alcohol use/misuse (110%), marijuana use (230%), and suicidal behavior (155%) compared to those who have not had abortions.
As we examine these percentages, it is vital that we recall that for over 40 years, 1 – 1.6 million women have abortions in the United States every year. Taking the Canadian study for example, 25% of 1.3 million women who had abortions in one year… is 325,000 women suffering.
Clearly, the claim that more women die by childbirth is not a scientific fact. At best, more research that is comparable is necessary – at worst, it is a completely false assertion. On top of this, to completely disregard the proven complications, risks, and threats which abortion poses to women is to disregard the health and safety of care which women deserve. Women need to know what their risks are, and they should never have to be subjected to below-standard care. Nevertheless, this is exactly what pro-abortion proponents of Whole Women’s Health have allowed. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court Justices were supplied inaccurate data and now have misled women.