Abortions Could be Done by Midwives in Third-World Nations, Study Says

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 29, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortions Could be Done by Midwives in Third-World Nations, Study Says

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 29
, 2006

London, England (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates have maintained for years that abortion should be between the mother and her doctor. However, a new study from the British medical journal Lancet makes the ironic claim that having midwives do abortions instead of doctors will reduce the number of women who die from abortions worldwide.

Lancet says midwives and doctors’ assistants do abortions just as safely as licensed physicians.

The journal also said that allowing midwives and assistants to do abortions would free up doctors for more complicated surgical procedures in third-world nations where there is a shortage of medical professionals.

"With appropriate government training, mid-level health-care providers can provide first-trimester vacuum aspiration abortions as safely as doctors can," Ina Warriner, of the World Health Organization, said in the report.

The report cites a study in South Africa and Vietnam to compare abortions by doctors and midwives.

However, the report showed that while there were no complications for women who had abortions, 1.2 per 100 women in Vietnam and 1.4 per 100 women in South Africa had problems after the abortion when a midwife did it.

That means as many as 120-140 women a year will have problems after an abortion if just 10,000 are done annually by midwives or nurses.

The Lancet report says that nurses can use a hand-held vacuum aspiration device to do abortions. Abortion practitioners in developing nations often turn to the manual device because it is less costly and does not rely on electricity, which may be in short supply in poor countries.

But, pro-life leaders, who have been studying the effects of the abortion technique, says the device is unsafe for women and indicated that studies in the United States within the sterile environment of a testing facility don’t replicate the often unsterile conditions in third-world nations.

In a vacuum aspiration abortion, an abortionist uses either a handheld specially-designed syringe or a hollow tube connected to an electrical pump to apply suction inside the cervix, removing the unborn baby in the process.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves of the manual instrument for first-trimester abortions but it had not been previously tested for second-trimester abortions.

The Population Research Institute, group that monitors abortions around the world, says the British abortion business known as Marie Stopes International has performed manual vacuum abortions illegally in Kenya.

PRI cited an unnamed Marie Stopes official who "admitted that manual vacuum aspirations (MVAs), hand-held suction devices, were being used to perform abortions up to — and even past — 16 week’s gestation, and that the abortions were being labeled ‘post-abortion care’ or ‘menstrual regulation.’"

The manager of a Marie Stopes abortion center in Kenya, Moses Ferdinand, told PRI the (manual vacuum) procedure normally takes between five and ten minutes and is performed without anesthesia.

"Depending on the courage of the medic," Ferdinand said, an MVA abortion can be performed on a woman "past 16 weeks gestation."

Ferdinand admitted that some women may cry at this point.