Not too long ago, I asked the question “Abortions In The US Are Safer Than Ever, So Why Isn’t Childbirth?” This was following word that telemedicine abortions were now safe and legal, allowing women to use the drug RU-486 to terminate their pregnancies and then teleconference with a doctor for counseling. Yet, considering all the risks that birthing women face in our western world, from unnecessary c-section complications to delivering babies too early, I wondered if it was possible to have this pronounced a gap in women’s reproductive care. Newsflash to those just tuning in but the United States ranked in at only 39th in maternal mortality rate in 2010 – and c-sections are contributing to that mortality rate.
So if we have the science to allow women to abort their pregnancies without a doctor’s direct supervision, then why aren’t women birthing more safely with less complications? A new study in Reuters confirms my suspicions as more than mere musings however, declaring that abortion actually is safer than childbirth in the United States — and that’s clearly a problem for women everywhere.
Researchers discovered that women were about 14 times more likely to die during or after giving birth than to die from legal abortion complications.
Dr. Anne Davis from Columbia University Medical Center in New York told Reuters that obviously women shouldn’t take this bit of news as reason to go an abortion spree :
“We wouldn’t tell people, ‘Don’t have a baby because it’s safer to have an abortion’ — that’s ridiculous,” she told Reuters Health. “We’re trying to help women who are having all reproductive experiences know what to expect.”
Doctors found that between 1998 and 2005, one woman died during childbirth for every 11,000 or so babies born compared with one woman of every 167,000 who died from a legal abortion. Researchers also found that from 1998 to 2001, the most run of the mill complications associated with pregnancy (high blood pressure, urinary tract infections and mental health conditions) were more frequent in women who gave birth than those who had abortions.
Reuters also reports that traditionally, abortions were a surgical procedure. But after 2000, when a drug called mifepristone became available, surgical abortions have became considerably less needed. However, both forms of abortion are “equally safe” with a very small risk for infection if performed legally.
These findings put a wrench in the new practice, in some states, of having doctors read aloud from a script brimming with factual inaccuracies about abortion risk and complications. Reuters reports:
Davis agreed that state-mandated discussions have no place in abortion counseling. She said she was glad to see the new report, which helps dispel “misinformation” and “lies” about abortion risks included in some state laws — such as the idea that abortion is linked to cancer.
“Women who are having abortions are having a safe, common surgical procedure or taking medication for the same reason,” she told Reuters Health
Misconceptions about abortion and abortion risks aside, this study also exposes the massive lapses in our maternal health care practices in which women are wheeled in and out of hospitals on the hour, every hour. And if they don’t give birth within that hour — then it’s instantly c-section time despite that such a practice is major abdominal surgery, complete with all the complications associated with any other surgery. C-sections are needed in only 5-10% of the births in this country according to World Health Organization. Yet, one in three babies born in the United States are born via c-section — and such a procedure doesn’t even ensure that the baby is any healthier (with the exception of emergency c-sections, of course).
Women should be birthing safely in this obscenely modern era with doctors making decisions that are best for mother and baby. Not cranking up the pitocin and going on c-section autopilot just so they can avoid malpractice and keep costs down.