For Immediate Release
Legal Abortion Doesn't
Save Women's Lives, Report Shows
Countries With Permissive Abortion Laws Also Have
Highest Maternal Death Rates, Report Shows
Springfield, IL (Dec. 17, 2009) -- Many abortion advocates have long argued that abortion is necessary to protect the health and safety of women, since many would otherwise seek unsafe abortions. But an analysis of data from a new report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has found that countries that permit abortion don't have lower maternal death rates.
The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-Fam) looked at the data on various countries from the WEF's 2009 Gender Gap Report and found that, countries with the most restrictive abortion laws also had the lowest maternal death rates, while countries with more permissive laws tended to have higher maternal death rates.
In Europe, Ireland had the lowest maternal death rate with 1 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, while Poland was at 27 with 8 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Both countries have very restrictive laws on abortion, while the U.S., which has "virtually no restrictions on abortion" has 11 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births.
Data from other regions also found that the countries with the most restrictive abortion bans also had the lowest maternal death rates:
In Africa, the country with the lowest maternal death rate (15 per 100,000) is Mauritius, which also has the toughest laws against abortion, while Ethiopia, which recently decriminalized abortion, has a rate 48 times higher (720 per 100,000). The African country with the most liberal abortion laws, South Africa, has a maternal death rate of 400 per 100,000 live births.
In Asia, Nepal has no restrictions on abortion and also has one of the world's highest mortality rates (830 per 100,000) while Sri Lanka had the lowest rates in Asia (58 per 100,000) and one of the strictest abortion bans in the world.
In South America, Chile has constitutional protection for the unborn and a death rate of 16 per 100,000. The highest maternal death rate (430 per 100,000) was found in Guyana, which has almost unrestricted abortion.
Ironically, C-Fam says, "one of two main justifications used for liberalizing Guyana's law was to enhance the 'attainment of safe motherhood' by eliminating deaths and complications associated with unsafe abortion."
Their findings "show that legal abortion does not mean lower maternal mortality rates," C-Fam concluded.
Women Also Have Higher Death Rates After Abortion
Other research that has looked at death rates following abortion vs. childbirth have also found that women are more likely to die after an abortion.
Studies from Finland that examined women's medical records found that women who had an abortion were 3.5 times more likely to die within the following year compared to women who had given birth. Deaths from suicide were 6 times higher, deaths from natural causes were 1.6 times higher and deaths from homicide were 14 times higher.
And a follow-up study in the U.S., headed by the Elliot Institute, found that, compared to women who gave birth, women who had abortions had a 62 percent higher risk of death for at least eight years later after their pregnancies. Deaths from suicides and accidents were most prominent, with suicides being 2.5 times higher.
Other studies have linked abortion to increased physical and psychological problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, infertility problems, sleep disorders, substance abuse and more.
Educate Others: For more information on the studies mentioned above, download and share our Recent Research fact sheet.