Making abortions legal

I am cheating a bit this week by copying a report from Lifenews.Com which I think will interest you.
Lifenews is an excellent site which will keep you up to date on international abortion issues. Quentin

Amnesty International, the formerly respected human rights organization that upset supporters years ago with its decision to promote abortion, is pressuring the national of Peru in South America to legalize it.

Salil Shetty, the secretary general of the group, is presenting Peruvian official with a petition reportedly signed by 11,000 people asking for abortions to be allowed. The petition is said to contain signatures from abortion advocates from Peru and other countries.

Zarela Solis Vasquez, the Peru health minister, was set to meet Shetty today, according to a Catholic News Agency report.

CNA says the new petition pales in comparison to one organized by the Catholic diocese in the northern Peruvian city of Chiclayo, which obtained the signatures of 33,000 people there.

The news site indicates Amnesty International has been distributing a report throughout Peru called “Fatal Deficiencies: The Barriers to Maternal Health in Peru,” which makes the false claim that legalizing abortion would reduce maternal mortality numbers. The report wants abortions legalized in cases when the baby potentially has birth defects or when a teenage is pregnant.

Despite the report, the United Nations admitted in September that, even though abortion has not been made legal in a slew of new nations, maternal mortality has declined by one-third.

The number of women dying due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth has decreased by 33%, a new report shows.

The study shows progress in sub-Saharan Africa where maternal mortality decreased by 26% in nations that are almost all pro-life. In Asia, the number of maternal deaths is estimated to have dropped from 315,000 to 139,000 between 1990 and 2008, a 52% decrease.

Scott Fischbach, director of the MCCL Global Outreach program, told LifeNews.com today in response to the study: “It is a big step in the right direction to have the UN acknowledge progress on maternal mortality. The facts are clear that we can protect women and their babies with adequate health care, not abortion.”

The new WHO numbers follow a seminal report in the British medical journal The Lancet in April showing a dramatic decline in maternal deaths worldwide.

The Lancet reported 526,300 maternal deaths worldwide in 1980 and 342,900 deaths in 2008, a reduction of 35 percent.

“This new study is further proof that it is clean water, clean blood and adequate access to health care—not abortion on demand—that will help pregnant women and their babies globally,” Fischbach told LifeNews.com at the time.
“For years the advocates of abortion have used the maternal mortality issue to overthrow pro-life laws in country after country,” Fischbach continued. “Without the maternal mortality argument, another gaping hole exists in their push for abortion on demand.”

The solution to illegal abortions and high maternal mortality rates is very simple Fischbach explains: provide hope, opportunity and support for pregnant women by ensuring a clean water supply, clean blood supply and adequate health care. Statistics confirm that these save women’s lives — not the legalization of abortion.

Ireland, a country with pro-life laws in place, has the lowest maternal mortality rate in the world, and Nepal, a country with abortion on demand, has one of the highest maternal mortality rates at 830 deaths per 100,000 live births.
According to the new study, maternal mortality increased in the United States by 42 percent from 1980 to 2008. Abortion was legal in the U.S. throughout all nine months of pregnancy during this 28-year period.

The Lancet researchers were surprised that three of the richest countries in the world actually showed increased maternal morality; the United States, Canada and Norway were three countries with the most liberal abortion laws in the world.

The Lancet’s editor Dr. Richard Horton told the New York Times he was pressured “by [pro-abortion] advocacy groups” to delay publication of the report.

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About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Bio-ethics, Moral judgment, Quentin queries. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Making abortions legal

  1. claret says:

    Whilst it is good that modern research has shown what most pro-lifers already know it is still a sad fact that this will not alter one iota the pro abortion ‘link’ being made in ever ,more strident forms. This is because it was never about maternal health but about abortion being made more’freely’ available. ‘Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes true,’ was never more horribly perpetuated than when it comes to abortion.
    Even if there was clear evidence of a link between good maternal health and the easy availablity of abortion ( which there is obviously not,) then to kill your way out of a problem is never an answer, and is so grotesque that is can be used to justify all sorts of human killings as recent history has so horribly proved. Even in this present age I have read articles by newspaper columnists who, sitting comfortably and well fed behind their desks, promote the idea of letting the starving die so as to relieve the problem of world hunger.

  2. Fariam says:

    Thank you for posting this, Quentin. I share your horror at AI´s “progress” and I also left the organization after many years of active membership because of this issue.

    You might like to read my blog, “Amnesty for Abortion” at http://www.myspace.com/maria_franciscan which not only highlights their position, but also the deceitful meanderings the organization took to get there… There are also placed two other blogs there: “To thine own self be true” and “Forbidden Grief – the unspoken pain of abortion” which are relevant to what you posted.

    In this regard too, it is worth noting that not only is Ireland the safest place in the world to give birth, but that it has reached this rank offically three times now over the past several years. It is also worth noting that when abortion laws became stricter in Poland, mortality rates fell by, I think, 80%. Contrast this with South Africa where it seems mortality rates have four-folded since abortion became legal a few years ago… The statistics speak for themselves.

    I also learned something else new and shocking about Amnesty International recently. When the right to consciencious objection was under threat recently before the Council of Europe, AI allied itself with the groups seeking to force doctors to act against their conscience with regard to abortion… To think that AI was founded by a Catholic convert to defend the right to life, security of person, and the rights to freedom of religion and conscience… Heart-breaking.

    Fortunately, their plans were foiled.
    Read more here:
    http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/3132615182.html
    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2010/10/08/threat-to-conscience-rights-thrown-out-by-council-of-europe/

  3. st.joseph says:

    Thank you Quentin for your post, I also left AI many years ago. I think 2 bishops did too.
    Thank you for your links Fariam, I will look into those.
    Unfortunately there are girls coming over from Ireland to have abortions,who have said they are from there, when they leave the clinic.I did know the number a few years ago,but not too sure now.

  4. Fariam says:

    @ st.joseph
    Yes, so it seems, but the numbers are still small in comparison with other countries (average 4,500 each year, I think) and FALLING for the past three years…

  5. Horace says:

    While I am in agreement with what it is trying to say I find this a very poorly and carelessly constructed report.

    1) ” . . is presenting Peruvian official with . . ” There is presumably a missing “a” before “Peruvian” or possibly a missing “s” after “official”. Further the next paragraph gives us the probable identity of the “Peruvian official” in question.

    2) “the new petition pales in comparison to one organized by the Catholic diocese”; – but we are left to guess what this petition says (perhaps obvious but careless).

    3) “makes the false claim that legalizing abortion would reduce maternal mortality numbers” – the inclusion of the word “false” preempts the argument. Further I suspect that the qualifier ‘inter alia’ might be included between “which” and “makes”.

    4) “in cases when the baby potentially has birth defects or when a teenage is pregnant”.
    So we are to challenge a report which claims that these cases constitute a significant cause of maternal mortality!

    Subsequent paragraphs quote a number of unidentified reports together with comments by Scott Fishbach.
    None of these reports is designated as addressing the question raised in (4) above.
    (On a grammatical point we change from “%” to “percent” half way through.)

    The final paragraph appears to be an afterthought comment! We are left to guess how “he was pressurised”, who precisely was doing the pressurising and why they wanted to delay publication of the report.

    ——-

    This kind of careless, emotional, illogical comment does nothing to combat the secular position that ” these people [the Catholic Church] are simply unrealistic and stupid.” even when the secular position itself is similarly careless, emotional and illogical.

    When I was at Stanford in the fall of 1979 we were treated, at the end of Mass, to an address by a lay person putting the Catholic position against abortion – but as far as I could see the speaker was concerned almost exclusively with the fact that Catholics would have to pay (via taxation) for abortions to be carried out!

    The “Catholic” position in America, ever since and perhaps before that date, seems to me to be basically unchanged.

    What we surely need are brief, clear, well reasoned comments drawing attention to the statistics which contradict statements of the kind “the availability of abortion on demand reduces maternal mortality” – ideally associated with an exposition of Catholic doctrine and delivered by our Parish Priest.

  6. RMBlaber says:

    To the materialist, secularist mind, the issue of abortion is bound to be coloured by the view of the early stage human embryo as ‘no more’ than a collection of cell tissue. To argue that each one of those cells contains the genetic blueprint of the fully developed human adult is not likely to impress, and indeed it does not.

    The materialist does not, by definition, believe in the existence of an immortal, rational soul. It is only by believing that we have such a thing that any of us can place a true value on human life. Otherwise, we are, in the end, just lumps of matter. Very sophisticated and highly organised lumps of matter, perhaps – and for now – but once entropy catches up with us and physical death ensues, that organisation soon starts to break down.

    Societies that do not accept Christian teaching about the existence of the soul, and the value of every soul to God, are, alas, notable for their lack of respect for human rights, and have been throughout the past century and more. (One thinks of the former Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and China, the latter especially with its two-child policy.)

    All the more reason then, for Catholics to be united in witness to the truth about the existence of the immortal soul and the evil that is abortion.

  7. Iona says:

    Fariam, I read your blog entry on Amnesty International and abortion, and was very impressed; you have obviously gathered togeter lots of relevant information and statistics, and argued it all out thoroughly. Horace – if you haven’t yet read it, I recommend it.

    RMB – most abortions take place when the early stage human is well beyond the “embryo” stage at which a hard-core materalist could perhaps regard it as no more than a collection of cell tissue. Even the materialist secularist would have a hard task arguing that a 2- or 3-month foetus with many visibly recognisable human features is not in fact human. Logically, I think their position must be… Well, I don’t know what it must be. That might is right? That life and death are and ought to be a free-for-all?

  8. Fariam says:

    Thank you, Iona, both for the positive feedback and for taking the time to read my blog. When I wrote that blog, I was actively engaged in and fighting AI on their new policy change. I saw their handiwork first hand…

    Materialist secularists tend to argue on the side of sentience, personhood, and choice I think, conventiently sidestepping foetal developement…

  9. pnyikos says:

    Sentience and personhood are two distinct concepts. Unfortunately, the abortion rights propagandists load down words like “sentience” and “consciousness” with so much excess baggage as to make them synonymous with personhood, to the extent that one wonders whether a child under one year old has it.

    In forums where such people predominate, I stick to a self-explanatory term I coined myself: “non-oblivion”. Once the state of complete oblivion is past, the developing unborn human is no longer an object but a subject, with its own unique self, its own unique identity. As one bit of layman’s jargon has it, `There is someone home.’

    There was a scientific travesty in JAMA about two or three years ago, in which it was claimed that foetuses could not feel pain until about 26 weeks because there was inadequate connection between the cerebral cortex and the lower brain centers. It was a travesty for three reasons:

    1. This is simply a stock claim that had been made decades earlier by abortion rights propagandists without a scintilla of evidence to back it up–and the chief author of that JAMA article was a former employee of an abortion rights organization!

    2. In an article chock full of endnotes, there was NO endnote to this claim. Nor could there be one to reputable scientific literature. Any sophisticated mind-body philosopher knows that consciousness is not empirically observable.

    3. In JAMA itself, back when it was called the Journal of the American Medical Association, there was a penetrating analysis of the issue of pain in decerebrate infants:

    “The Use of Anencephalic Infants as Organ Donor Sources”, D.A. Shewmon, A.M. Capron, W.J. Peacock,, B.L. Schulman, The Journal of the American Medical Association, March 24/31 1989.

    The conclusion was that lower brain centers might mediate conscious awareness of pain: the article says
    `… it simply begs the question to apply adult-derived neurophysiological principles to this age group in support of the claim that a functioning cortex is necessary for consciousness or pain perception in newborns. … Therefore, both prudence and logical consistency demand that we attribute to anencephalic infants at least as much consciousness and capacity for suffering as we attribute to laboratory animals with even smaller brains, which everyone seems to feel obliged to treat “humanely”.’

    As far as I know, the reasoning could apply to normal foetuses as early as 8 weeks post fertilization, at the traditional dividing line between human embryo and human foetus.

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