Abortion is Not Without Risk to the Mother
National Institute of Health identifies risks.

The Best of the Web on the Wall Street Journal recently ran two quotes side by said that pointed out part of the hypocricy of the recent attack against abstinence only education. The quotes were as follows:

"Many American youngsters participating in federally funded abstinence-only programs have been taught over the past three years that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, . . . a congressional staff analysis has found. Those and other assertions are examples of the 'false, misleading, or distorted information' in the programs' teaching materials, said the analysis. . . . One curriculum, called 'Me, My World, My Future,' teaches that women who have an abortion 'are more prone to suicide' and that as many as 10 percent of them become sterile. This contradicts the 2001 edition of a standard obstetrics textbook that says fertility is not affected by elective abortion, the Waxman report said."--Washington Post, Dec. 2, 2004

"Russians Feel Abortion's Complications: Used as Birth Control in Soviet Times, Practice Has Led to Widespread Infertility"--headline and subheadline, Washington Post, Feb. 22, 2003

You may be saying "that isn't a fair comparison. Medical care in the Soviet Union isn't the same as the care you can receive in the United States. I said as much in an earlier blog, where I said:

Moreover, there is certainly no guarantee that an abortion will not result in the death of the mother even if it is done under proper medical conditions. I suspect, although I haven't seen much information on the topic, that the state of medical facilities available for abortion in third world countries are in the same tenuous state as the facilities available for other medical services. Consider the following from ENT Resources, Inc. (ENTRI), a for-profit subsidiary of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-- Head and Neck Surgery, Inc. (AAO-HNS):

"Medicine in developing countries certainly is a lot different than in the U.S. First of all, there is usually a shortage of physicians. Second, the resources spent on medical care may be only a few dollars per capita per year compared to the U.S. spending of thousands.

* * *

"2. Medical/hospital conditions will be much different. No ICU. Two patients to a bed. Beds that look like they are from the '20s. Large crowded wards. The smell of disinfectant.

3. Operating facilities - These facilities may be primitive or even makeshift on some trips. Anesthesia machines may be from the 1930s.

4. Schedules - Clinics and OR clinics may have overwhelming numbers, and you may have to decide who will and will not get surgery. It can be heartrending to turn down a pleading patient. The OR schedules may be unrealistic, or you may even consider them unfair."

You see, in developing countries, providing the opportunity for safe, medical care may not be available regardless. Thus, it seems as if the argument that providing abortion in developing countries would result in fewer deaths for women is, at minimum, problematic.

Well, apparently I wasn't the only one who thought that this may be an unfair comparison. Here is what the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web said today in following up on this story:

Reader Carl Friddle says the Soviet experience isn't apropos: "Russian abortions were typically performed without anesthesia and under horrific conditions in an effort to discourage them. You simply can't compare them with American abortion practices."

Fair enough, but here's what our own National Institutes of Health list as risks of surgical abortion:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection of the uterus
  • Infection of the fallopian tubes (which can cause scarring and interfere with
  • fertility (infertility)
  • Puncture (perforation) of the uterus, or damage to the cervix (rare)
  • Emotional or psychological distress

Sorry, but abortion, while it may be safe in a number of cases, is not totally safe. Abstinence, if actually followed, is the safest method of protecting the life and health of the mother. I wish the abortion providers would not keep lying to us and fess up that they are supporting a procedure that can hurt women. Until then, women will continue to be harmed by this barbaric procedure.


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