Thursday, January 19, 2012

Study: Less contraception means more dangerous abortions

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Yet again, research confirms an obvious fact that so-called “pro-lifers” continue to try and deny with growing desperation. A new Guttmacher Institute study has found that heightened rates of abortion, especially in poorer parts of the world where risks are higher, are linked to the failure to provide easier access to contraception:

Global abortion rates have stopped falling, ending a period of rapid decline that began in 1995. However, the proportion of abortions that are dangerous continues to rise. Paradoxically, morally conservative US restrictions on foreign aid may have promoted the abortions they sought to restrict.

In 1995, 35 women of childbearing age out of every 1000 had an abortion; by 2003, the rate had dropped to 29 abortions per 1000 women. Now, Gilda Sedgh of the Guttmacher Institute in New York City and colleagues have compiled data on abortions around the world in 2008 and found that the rate then was 28 per 1000 women, little changed since 2003. However, because world population has grown, there were actually 2.2 million more abortions performed in 2008 than in 2003.

The proportion of those abortions that are dangerous is rising, though. Nearly all abortions performed in Africa in 2008 were deemed unsafe.

The increase in rates of dangerous abortions and the failure of total abortion rates to continue falling has previously been blamed on shortages of contraception – a link the new study makes too.

"Globally, abortion rates have plateaued, and we found that this plateau coincided with the level of contraceptive use," says Sedgh.

The report also points out that countries that have relatively recently enabled access to contraception have seen their abortion rates and associated risks plummet like a stone off a cliff, with abortion-related deaths in South Africa dropping by a mind-blowing 91% in only six years.

But don’t tell that to anti-abortionists, of course; and even if you did, it wouldn’t matter. They’re far too happy crusading against any and all forms of reproductive health that doesn’t mesh with their cherished book of Bronze-Age morality, or else simply too blinkered and stupid to understand the kindergarten-level logic that since conception comes before pregnancy, more contraception therefore leads to fewer (and safer) abortions, and is thus a good thing if their goal truly is to reduce the number of women who resort to abortion.