Is abortion safer than childbirth?

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Is abortion safer for the mother than pregnancy? A Finnish study indicates that it is far more dangerous.

Researchers with STAKES, a part of Finland's National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health, compared death records for Finnish women to hospital records on pregnancy-related events, for the years 1987 - 1994. They then identified all women who died within 12 months of giving birth, having a miscarriage, or having an abortion.

The result: Women who had an abortion had a death rate within the next year that was 400% of that of women who gave birth or had a miscarriage. That is, abortion proved to be 4 times as dangerous as childbirth or miscarriage.

Deaths included not only medical problems but also suicide, homicide, and accidental deaths.

As Finland has socialized medicine, records are highly centralized, and so the researchers had almost all the relevant information. Thus, it is highly unlikely that the study had any bias in the choice of participants. (Selecting participants is often a problem in medical research. For example, a study on the success rate of a certain diet plan might not be reliable if the subjects were all referred by the company that markets the diet: They would surely have an incentive to only refer successful cases. But in this case, almost every woman in Finland should have been included in the data.)

The study was published in Finland in 1997, but is only now (2000) coming to the attention of the American medical community.

Source: Ertelt's Infonet, 10 July 2000, and Conservative News Service, 8 July 2000

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Posted 9 Sep 2000.

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