Abortion advocates are always relying on inaccurate maternal death statistics in the United States. They use this inaccurate data to claim that childbirth is six to twelve times deadlier than having an abortion.
Pro-life advocates however, contend that the stats used by the pro-abortion camp completely ignores high rates of other physical and psychological complications associated with abortion.
STAKES, the statistical analysis unit of Finland’s National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health has conducted a study of pregnancy-associated deaths in Finland that has shown that the risk of dying within a year after an abortion is several times higher than the risk of dying after miscarriage or childbirth.(1)
In an effort to evaluate the accuracy of maternal death reports, STAKES researchers pulled the death certificate records for all the women of reproductive age (15-49) who died between 1987 and 1994–a total of 9,192 women. They then culled through the national health care data base to identify any pregnancy-related events for each of these women in the 12 months prior to their deaths.
Finland has socialized healthcare, which makes these records more accurate and complete than records kept in the US. the STAKES researchers identified 281 women who had died within a year of their last pregnancy. The unadjusted mortality rate per 100,000 cases was 27 for women who had given birth, 48 for women who had miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies, and 101 for women who had abortions.
The researchers then calculated the age-adjusted odds ratio of death, using the death rate of women who had not been pregnant as the standard equal to one. Table 1 shows that the age-adjusted odds ratio of women dying in the year they give birth as being half that of women who are not pregnant, whereas women who have abortions are 76 percent more likely to die in the year following abortion compared to non-pregnant women. Compared to women who carry to term, women who abort are 3.5 times more likely to die within a year.
Deaths from Suicide
Using a subset of the same data, STAKES researchers had previously reported that the risk of death from suicide within the year of an abortion was more than seven times higher than the risk of suicide within a year of childbirth.(2) Two of these suicides were also connected with infanticide. Examples of post-abortion suicide/infanticide attempts have also been documented in the United States.(3)
The same finding was reported in STAKES’ more recent study. Among the 281 women who died within a year of their last pregnancy, 77 (27 percent) had committed suicide. Figure 2 shows the age-adjusted odds ratio for suicide for the three pregnancy groups compared to the “no pregnancy” control group.
Notably, the risk of suicide following a birth was about half that of the general population of women. This finding is consistent with previous studies that have shown that an undisturbed pregnancy actually reduces the risk of suicide.(4)
Abortion, on the other hand, is clearly linked to a dramatic increase in suicide risk. This statistical finding is corroborated by interview-based studies which have consistently shown extraordinarily high levels of suicidal ideation (30-55 percent) and reports of suicide attempts (7-30 percent) among women who have had an abortion.(5) In many of these studies, the women interviewed have explicitly described the abortion as the cause of their suicidal impulses.
In part 2 we will look at statistics on death by accident, homicide, natural causes and the conclusions of the study.
1. Gissler, M., et. al., “Pregnancy-associated deaths in Finland 1987-1994 — definition problems and benefits of record linkage,” Acta Obsetricia et Gynecolgica Scandinavica 76:651-657 (1997).
2. Mika Gissler, Elina Hemminki, Jouko Lonnqvist, “Suicides after pregnancy in Finland: 1987-94: register linkage study” British Medical Journal 313:1431-4, 1996.
3. McFadden, A., “The Link Between Abortion and Child Abuse,” Family Resources Center News (January 1998) 20.
4. S. J. Drower, & E. S. Nash, “Therapeutic Abortion on Psychiatric Grounds,” South African Medical Journal 54:604-608, Oct. 7, 1978; B. Jansson, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia 41:87, 1965.
5. David Reardon, “Psychological Reactions Reported After Abortion,” The Post-Abortion Review, 2(3):4-8, Fall 1994; Anne C. Speckhard, The Psychological Aspects of Stress Following Abortion (Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1987); Vincent Rue, “Traumagenic Aspects of Elective Abortion: Preliminary Findings from an International Study” Healing Visions Conference, June 22, 1996.