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Groundbreaking Study Finds Abortion Bans do not Harm Women

Mailee R. Smith, Staff Counsel

Abortion advocates have long claimed that access to legal abortion is necessary to protect women’s health and that bans on abortion inevitably result in increased incidents of maternal death.  However, a groundbreaking study that will be formally published later this year refutes these claims.

Researchers in Chile have found that that banning abortion does not translate into increased maternal mortality.  In fact, Dr. Elard Koch, an epidemiologist on the faculty of medicine at the University of Chile, reports that “access to legal abortion does not appear to be necessary to achieve low rates of maternal deaths.”

While considered a “developing nation,” Chile offers a unique opportunity to examine the impact of abortion laws on maternal mortality.  Abortion was legal there from 1931 until 1988, but was completely outlawed in 1989.  As a result, Chile now maintains one of the strictest abortion bans in the world.  And unlike many nations, including the United States, Chile has maternal health data dating back to the beginning of the 1900s.

The study, which examined maternal deaths form 1960 to 2007, reveals that maternal mortality peaked in 1961, right in the midst of legalized abortion.  During that year, abortion caused 34 percent of maternal deaths.  But by 2007 (and 8 years of an operative abortion ban), maternal mortality rates had been reduced 97.9 percent.

The researchers also note that while abortion in Chile is currently “fully clandestine,” it occurs in very low-risk, sanitary conditions.  Thus, this ground-breaking study also severely undercuts abortion advocates’ claims that comprehensive abortion bans will force women into unsafe, unsanitary illegal abortions.

It is also significant that this important data is coming from a country in South America, an area of the world where abortion proponents are vehemently seeking to impose their radical abortion agenda on developing nations.

Once again, the medical data supports what we have been saying all along: abortion harms women, and abortion restrictions are key to protecting both mothers and their children.

For more on Chile and for an abstract of the study, go to Abortion Ban Does Not Mean More Maternal Deaths, Chilean Study Finds, available at http://cnsnews.com/news/article/62102.