Numbers show ‘legal’ abortion hasn’t lowered maternal deaths


Giuseppe Gori
Special to The Interim

Ten times more women are dying today, as a result of abortion, than in 1972. How is this possible, if legal abortion has reduced the fatality rate by 10 times as a result of the procedure being committed in a controlled medical environment? The answer is that the availability of free, un-prosecuted abortion has boosted the number of women seeking to abort their offspring by 100 times. When abortion was illegal, we had about 1,000 abortions per year in Canada. Now, we have over 100,000 per year. The evidence about past and current numbers of fatalities due to abortion is not easy to get in Canada, nor is it widely advertised, but it is obtainable nonetheless from corresponding data from the U.S.:

  • Fatalities among women carrying a baby to full term, according to a recent issue of Consumer Reports, is 11.8 per 100,000.
  • A study of pregnancy-associated deaths published in a March 2004 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has found that the mortality rate associated with abortion is 2.95 times higher than that associated with pregnancies carried to term.
  • About 115,000 abortions per year are committed In Canada. Thus, about 40 women (based on the U.S. rate – 2.95 x 11.8 x 115,000/100,000 = 40) are dying as a result of abortion, per year, in Canada. These deaths are reported under various categories in the official records, but not as abortion complications, since no Canadian hospital keeps statistics on deaths caused by abortion.

How many women died of “back-alley” abortions before abortion laws were changed? Pro-abortion activists fabricated the idea that “thousands” of women were dying when abortion was illegal. Dr. Bernard Nathanson – one of the original leaders of the American pro-abortion movement and co-founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League, and who has since become pro-life – admits that he and others in the abortion rights movement intentionally fabricated the number of women who allegedly died as a result of illegal abortions. He said, “How many deaths were we talking about when abortion was illegal? In NARAL, we generally emphasized the drama of the individual case, not the mass statistics, but when we spoke of the latter, it was always ‘5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year.’ I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did, too, if they stopped to think of it. But in the ‘morality’ of the revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics? The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason which had to be done was permissible.”

However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics, there were 39 women who died from illegal abortions in 1972 in the U.S., the year before Roe v. Wade.

Given that Canadian-U.S. abortion and population ratios are about 1:10, Canadian fatalities due to abortions could have been approximately four per year before abortion became legal and would be less (if any) today. This number is so low that it must be considered an approximate average over several years and not as a specific expected number for one particular year.

Across Canada, we had about four deaths per year when abortion was illegal, and we have today 40 deaths with abortion being legal.

In addition, abortion is causing delayed deaths and suicides (only a couple of “other” causes of death are reported here):

  • It is not known how many women die of breast cancer, caused by abortions.
  • American Life League president Judy Brown also points out that “a woman obtaining an induced abortion is six times more likely to die from suicide (intentional injury) than women who give birth, and three times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.”

To repeat, 10 times more women are dying today, as a result of abortion, than in 1972, when abortion was illegal. This is without considering delayed complications and suicides. If you only cared about the health of adult women, then you would conclude that abortion must be stopped on the above basis only. Every woman who wants to undergo the procedure should also be told that her risk of death will triple, and possibly quadruple, when considering the delayed consequences.

A much more important reason for stopping abortion is that it kills unborn children (male and female). The real number of women dying from abortion is then more than 57,000, of which about 40 are adults, and the rest unborn. Unfortunately, these figures are also incomplete, as an undetermined but large number of women, unborn and adult, are killed by contraceptive pills, “morning-after” pills, patches and rings with contraceptive chemicals, such as methotrexate and misoprostol, and by delayed complications resulting from the use of these chemicals.

Abortion is indeed a scourge for women in Canada.

Giuseppe Gori is the leader of the Family Coalition Party of Ontario. This article is adapted from his Jan. 14 Straight Thoughts commentary.

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