A glimpse of our possible future, from the Ghanaian Chonicle:
SOME MEDICAL experts have expressed worry at the alarming rate of maternal mortality, especially in the area of unsafe abortion, which is estimated as the second largest contributor to maternal deaths in the country with the highest numbers in the Upper East, West and Northern regions.
The experts called for pragmatic solutions to the needs of women and girls in the issue of safe and unsafe abortions, since according to them deaths resulting from unsafe abortions in particular are totally preventable and no woman should die from abortion in this modern age.
They gave statistics as maternal mortality ranging from 650/100,000 to 850/100,000 with a national average of 214/100,000 (Ghana Demography Health Survey 2003) to 770/100,000 live births and at the Korle-Bu Teaching hospital, unsafe abortion is said to account for 12-30% of maternal deaths.
The extent of the problem is such that of the over 200 million pregnancies recorded each year the world over, 46 million are terminated of which 20 million are unsafe, resulting in 67,000 deaths; an estimated 95% of which occur in developing countries including Ghana.
In Africa, women are said to experience the greatest risk of death from unsafe abortions with a ratio of 1in 150 compared to Asia's 1 in 250, Latin America's 1 in 800 and Northern countries' 1 in 3,700, while in developing countries, the risk of death following complications of unsafe abortion procedures is several hundred times more than that of an abortion performed professionally under safe conditions.
Experts from various institutions in the country made this known at a seminar in Accra organized by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) for selected journalists on reproductive health and unsafe abortion in Ghana.
Clearly, the lack of access to safe abortion services is not a disincentive to having an abortion. Of course, we've known that for years - it was as true in the US before Roe v. Wade as it is in Ghana today.
Now, compare the reality to the anti-abortion fantasy, from the ironically named LifeSite:
The World Health Organization's first strategy on reproductive health was adopted Saturday by the 57th World Health Assembly (WHA).
The strategy targets five priority aspects of reproductive and sexual health:
- improving antenatal, delivery, postpartum and newborn care
- providing high-quality services for family planning, including infertility services
- eliminating unsafe abortion
- combating sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, reproductive tract infections, cervical cancer and other gynaecological morbidities
- promoting sexual health
Pro-life leaders on the international scene warn that the term "eliminating unsafe abortion" means little more than promoting abortion. LifeSiteNews.com spoke with Samantha Singson, a pro-life lobbyist at the United Nations. Singson, currently at UN headquarters in New York trying to ensure pro-life language in a disability convention document, told LifeSiteNews.com that many countries have been coerced to allow abortion under the guise of "eliminating unsafe abortions".
Singson said, "Typically, countries with pro-life legislation are presented with false and inflated statistics on the supposed vast number of women dying through illegal abortions, and countries are thus pressed to allow legal abortion as a remedy." She concluded, "Abortion is an unsafe procedure for both mother and child, and legalizing it won't change that."
67,000 women a year would disagree. You might argue that Ghana is the third world - poverty likely plays a part here. But we have an example of what happens when you take a developed country and illegalize abortion. it ain't pretty - let's take Romania.
In Romania, abortion was legal from 1957 until 1966. According to the Guttmacher Institute, "The Ceaucescu regime then outlawed abortion in 1966 as part of its pronatalist policy, which led to soaring maternal death rates. Maternal death rates than fell dramatically once abortion was relegalized in 1990 after Ceaucescu's ouster" (see chart). Maternal death rates went from 21 per 100,000 prior to the anti-abortion law to 142 per 100,000 - an increase of about 676%.
So, what happens in the third world is also true of developed countries - when access to safe abortion is illegal or limited, women die. There is no question.
So let's look at the logic of the so-called 'pro-life' movement; if abortion, as they would argue, kills one person, then illegal abortion kills two. For some unreason, the latter is preferable to them.