Down to the Wire: Just $8,903 left to match to win our Challenge Grant. Your gift will still be doubled!
Click here to advertise on

Abortion safer than childbirth? Study's results do not support claim

Catholic World News - January 24, 2012

A new study claims to demonstrate that abortion is safer than childbirth.

The study obviously concentrates solely on the medical risks for the mother, since an abortion always destroys the unborn child. So the study is based on a faulty premise, comparing two medical procedures that have different goals. In an abortion, one life is deliberately sacrificed. In childbirth, medical personnel do their utmost to preserve two healthy lives. It is not surprising that the latter operation is more challenging.

Since time immemorial, it has been generally understood that pregnancy and childbirth place serious strains on the mother. Most abortions are performed early in pregnancy, when those strains are not yet severe. So again, the comparison between abortion and childbirth is inappropriate from the outset. A Reuters news report on the study, however, stretches the application of the new study even further beyond what the facts actually bear. The Reuters story (which does not identify the source of the study until the 10th paragraph) acknowledges the strains of a full-term pregnancy with the remarkably awkward admission that “women are pregnant for a lot longer when they decide to have a baby and so have more time to develop complications.” That is true, certainly. But women who “decide to have a baby”—that is, decide not to destroy their unborn child—also have a better chance of giving birth to a healthy son or daughter.

In citing the results of the study, however, Reuters claims to find meaning that the data do not, and cannot, show. The story cites unnamed “experts” who “say the findings, though not unexpected, contradict some state laws that suggest abortions are high-risk procedures.” And later the Reuters report refers to one researcher who “said previous studies have also shown the safety of legal abortions.” Both statements are inaccurate.

The claim that abortion is safer than childbirth (for the mother) does not mean that abortion is a safe procedure. We know that childbirth entails some medical risks. Even if the risks of abortion are lesser, they are not negligible. Some state laws, designed to protect pregnant women, have required abortionists to provide accurate information about the health risks involved in the procedure. Those risks remain, even if other medical options involve their own risks. The study, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, compared only the deaths from complications of childbirths and abortions. It apparently did not look into the lingering effects of abortion. Studies have shown that women who procure abortions suffer higher rates of breast cancer, depression, drug abuse, and suicide. Also, women who procure abortions may encounter complications when they eventually seek to bear children--and thus contribute to the elevated rates of death in childbirth.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($61,327 to go):
$150,000.00 $88,673.12
41% 59%
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: veniteadoremus1822 - Jan. 24, 2012 10:39 PM ET USA

    Any study that fails to account for the latent effects of abortion as well as the risks inherent in a contraceptive lifestyle produces more editorial propaganda than useful, empirical data.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

O Earthly Lord, vouchsafe to us high speed Internet. 0 hours ago
No 'Francis effect' in Strasbourg 4 hours ago
What Pope Francis told European Parliament, and what Pope John Paul II said 6 hours ago
Injecting mercy into public perception 21 hours ago
A suggestion for First Things: separate civil divorce from Christian marriage 22 hours ago

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - 8 hours ago