Study Claims Botched Abortions Cost $250 Million Annually in Medical Costs

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 6, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Study Claims Botched Abortions Cost $250 Million Annually in Medical Costs

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 6
, 2009

New York, NY ( — A new study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of the Planned Parenthood abortion business, suggests failed abortions in nations in Africa and Latin America cost approximately $250 million in follow-up medical costs for women.

The AGI study only surveys nations where abortions are illegal and does not provide any cost-comparisons for nations where abortions are legal.

The study also fails to note that the illegal abortions are done by abortion centers and abortion practitioners that would continue injuring women in failed abortions were the abortions legalized.

AGI indicates that 19 million women around the world each year have illegal abortions and it claims 5 million of those women suffer post-abortion complications, though it relies on disputed WHO figures for the estimate.

Based on those figures, and estimates that the average woman who suffers from a botched abortion requires about $83-$94 in followup medical care, AGI says the complications ultimately cost $227–280 million each year.

Lead author Michael Vlassoff of AGI naturally said that legalizing abortion is the best way to cut these costs.

“Because virtually all unsafe abortions are a direct consequence of unwanted pregnancies, the costs calculated in this study result from the failure to prevent those pregnancies through family planning or, where legal, to terminate them safely,” he said.

However, one leading pro-life physician has said that the numbers could be way off base.

Donna J Harrison, MD, a diplomat for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and president of the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, has talked about international illegal abortion figures.

"The incidence of induced abortion in developing countries, along with the number of maternal deaths and complications from them is not accurately known, despite estimates that are published from time to time," she says.

The physician says the terms “safe” and “unsafe” are not scientific terms but more legal and political because they are directed at changing the law to legalize abortions.

"In a 2007 article co-sponsored by WHO, for example, unsafe abortion is defined as ‘in countries with restrictive abortion laws,’" she noted. "That means that any abortion in such a country, no matter how medically superior the conditions, would be counted as ‘unsafe.’"

She said legal abortions have also been "linked with severe adverse events, and women could easily die from infections and hemorrhage in areas where they do not have immediate access to transfusion and surgical facilities."

As a result, Dr. Harrison thinks offering better medical care in these nations is the answer, not legalizing abortion.

The study, “Estimates of Health Care System Costs of Unsafe Abortion in Africa and Latin America” appears in the September 2009 issue of International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

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