Can countries that prohibit abortion provide quality maternal healthcare?

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 healthcare 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 healthcare 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.

Findings from Ireland, Chile, and Malta 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 UN, UNICEF, and WHO (#1 in 2005, #3 in 2008). The 1989 ban on abortion in Chile was correlated to a near complete reduction in abortion-related maternal mortality. In 2008, Chile had the second lowest maternal mortality rate in the Americas, just behind Canada and ahead of the United States. Malta, which prohibits abortion in all cases, achieved one of the best maternal mortality rates in the world in 2008 according to new data published in The Lancet.

MMR Comparison Chart

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 healthcare 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 healthcare (especially better access to prenatal and perinatal care) decreases maternal mortality most effectively, not access to abortion.



    1. On a point of information, you are in error in including Ireland in the list of countries that have prohibited. Unfortunately, Ireland has already made it legal. Of course you can still use the statistics for Ireland prior to the law being changed. But please continue in the great work you are doing.

  1. I’m as pro-life as they come, but I have a small problem (or misunderstanding) with the facts as presented in this article. You are claiming that banning abortion reduces abortion-related maternal mortality, and therefore abortion should be banned. All that says is that abortion carries with it a risk on the mother’s life. It is similar to claiming that if we banned motorized vehicles, then deaths from motor vehicle accidents would drop. Well of course they would! But that’s not much of an argument for banning motor vehicles.

    Do you have information that shows OVERALL maternal mortality rates for places where abortion is banned, versus where it is legal? That could potentially be a much stronger argument.

    All that said, maybe I just did not understand the facts in the article. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    R Bauer

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