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Abortion and Maternal Mortality Ratio

Posted by Matt Postiff May 10, 2012 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Society 

A common argument for keeping abortion legal is that if it were made illegal, many pregnant mothers would die from clandestine abortions, otherwise known as "coat hanger" or "back alley" abortions.

A new study of the maternal mortality ratio in Chile disproves this unproven propagandist assertion. Dr. Elard Koch and colleagues have written a study entitled Women's Education Level, Maternal Health Facilities, Abortion Legislation and Maternal Deaths: A Natural Experiment in Chile from 1957 to 2007.

Chile has outlawed basically all abortions since 1989. Yet, Koch concludes his article with these telling sentences: "Finally, prohibition of abortion in Chile did not influence the downward trend in the maternal mortality ratio. Thus, the legal status of abortion does not appear to be related to overall rates of maternal mortality."

Translation: if you make abortion illegal, you are not therefore necessarily going to raise the number of mothers who die from clandestine abortions.

I'm thankful for evidence-based medicine concluding, in this case, the same thing we know intuitively. Making abortion illegal will not cause mothers to flock to back alleys to potentially harm themselves. Their self interest will help them be more responsible about their sexual activity, and also encourage them to give birth to children they have conceived. Making abortion illegal has the added benefit of protecting another segment of the population: the unborn!

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