Planned Parenthood-UN Worldwide Abortion Study Draws Pro-Life Criticism

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 15, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Planned Parenthood-UN Worldwide Abortion Study Draws Pro-Life Criticism

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 15,

New York, NY ( — A new study conducted by a Planned Parenthood affiliate and released by a United Nations agency is continuing to draw intense criticism. The World Health Organization says the Alan Guttmacher Institute study shows abortions are just as frequent in nations where they are prohibited as those that legalize them.

Under the new study, WHO and the affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion business examined information from 1995 to 2003 and they claim abortion rates are the same in rich and poor countries and in nations regardless of whether abortions are allowed.

They also claim half of the abortions done worldwide are unsafe, even though supposedly safe and legal abortions frequently cause women medical, emotional or other problems.

But Deirdre McQuade, a spokeswoman for the nation’s Catholic bishops, says the study’s methodology is flawed.

"The authors start out by simply defining ‘safe’ abortions as ‘those that meet legal requirements’ in countries with permissive laws," she told

"But by this unusual definition, legal abortions are ‘safe’ even if they kill women as well as their unborn children," she explained. "The authors then say that illegal abortions are ‘harmful’ — even when women experience no medical complications — because women have to violate the law."

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, told he agreed the study is completely flawed.

He said it is "based on spurious estimates of abortions and rates of unsafe abortion around the world" and that "statistics for developing nations are fanciful."

"The rate of unsafe abortions is guesstimated generously (and mysteriously) by the WHO and then applied to the exaggerated abortion stats," he explained. "This allows WHO-Guttmacher to announce a health need in developing nations that can be solved only by abortion legalization."

Perkins also said the notion that pushing abortion in poor nations will decrease maternal mortality is ideological not factual.

"Public health professionals have noted consistently that the best way to improve maternal morbidity and mortality in developing nations is to increase the availability and quality of obstetrical care," he said.

"A better consensus is that abortion, legal and illegal alike, fails to serve women and their health," he concluded.

The WHO and Guttmacher released their study in Lancet, the world’s top medical journal.

McQuade also criticized Lancet for criticizing the United States for its Mexico City Policy — a Bush administration policy that protects American taxpayers from funding groups that promote or perform abortions in other nations.

“An accompanying Lancet editorial says the worldwide abortion situation has been worsened by the United States’ Mexico City policy," she told

“Lost in the authors’ ideological fog is the fact that abortion always kills; legal or illegal, it sometimes also kills women, especially when they are poor and have a terrible health care system," she explained.

"Promoting more abortions will not change this. Rather than pitting women and their children against each other, we need to stand in solidarity with both and focus on improving the quality of global health care,” McQuade concluded.