Planned Parenthood Doctor Erroneously Claims Abortion Safter Than Birth

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 2, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Planned Parenthood Doctor Erroneously Claims Abortion Safter Than Birth

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 2, 2004

Washington, DC ( — A Planned Parenthood medical director, who came under fire earlier this week for claiming abortion has no adverse long-term consequences, also put forward the disputed notion that abortion is safer than childbirth.

"Overall, abortion is safer than carrying a pregnancy to term and going through childbirth," Maureen Paul, the chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, said. "The death from childbirth is about 10 times that of the risk of having an abortion."

The comments came during her testimony in the partial-birth abortion trial in San Francisco.

However, research shows that not only is abortion not safer than carrying a pregnancy to term — it’s more dangerous for women.

According to the Elliot Institute, a post-abortion research organization, those who claim abortion is safer rely on faulty data that do not properly categorize all abortion-related deaths.

David Reardon, Ph.D., the Illinois-based group’s director, points to Maryland abortion statistics to prove his point.

On March 1, 1989, Erica Richardson, a 16-year-old Maryland resident, bled to death from a punctured uterus only hours after undergoing an abortion. During the next five months, two more Maryland residents, Gladys Estanislao and Debra Gray, also died from abortion complications.

"Shockingly, none of these three women was even granted that smallest of recognitions — becoming a statistic," Reardon explains. "The official statistics issued by Maryland public health officials showed that there were no deaths from abortion in 1989. Indeed, Maryland only reported a single abortion-related death for the entire decade of 1980 to 1989."

In fact, four Maryland women died from abortion’s obtained that year.

Susanne Logan became comatose following her abortion and awoke four months later a quadriplegic, unable to talk. She died three years afterwards in 1992. Since her death was not an immediate result of the abortion, however, it was not counted in official abortion mortality statistics.

The Centers for Disease Control, a federal agency that monitors thousands of vital statistics, might be expected to help provide accurate data. But it no longer tracks statistics related to deaths from abortions and its older statistics have proven faulty.

In the late 1980s, Kevin Sherlock, an investigative reporter, examined death certificates of women of reproductive age in Los Angeles County. Between 1970 and 1987, Sherlock found 29 women who had died from abortion complications.

Four of the deaths came during a one-year period for which the CDC found no abortion deaths in California and only 12 for the entire country.

Sherlock eventually concluded the CDC underreports the number of abortion deaths by as much as 40 percent.

Autopsy reports often hide abortion’s impact on women and contribution to their deaths.

Women who die from abortions are frequently listed as having died from infection, though the abortion itself brought on the infection. Such was the case in the death of Holly Patterson, a California teen who died after taking the RU 486 abortion drug at a Planned Parenthood.

Despite Patterson’s death, Planned Parenthood’s Maureen Paul insisted abortion is safer.

However, under cross-examination by Justice Department attorney Mark Quinlivan, Paul acknowledged that she is not board certified in maternal fetal medicine, an OBGYN specialty.

She also admitted that the partial-birth abortion procedure has never been subject to any peer-reviewed study showing it to be safer than childbirth.

At one point, Paul refused to acknowledge that, by performing an abortion, she is ending the life of an unborn child.

"I know what my purpose is," Paul explained. "That my purpose in bringing … the fetal trunk out past the navel is to empty the uterus in the safest way possible. Yet [the ban] implies that I have this other purpose, which is to kill the fetus."

Related web sites:
Elliot Institute –