Philippines Sees Maternal Mortality Decline Without Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 1, 2011   |   3:41PM   |   Manilla, Philippines

While some backers of the RH bill in the Philippines say it is needed to reduce maternal mortality, studies show the nation that has experienced success in dropping its maternal mortality rates without resorting to legalizing abortion.

Researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation of the University of Washington in Seattle examined maternal mortality rates in 181 countries and found the rate (the number of women’s deaths per 100,000) dropped by 81 percent in the Philippines between 1980 and 2008. The decrease comes as the largely Catholic nation has resister efforts to legalize abortions, even though the United Nations and pro-abortion groups claim women will supposedly die in illegal abortions and increase the maternal mortality rate if abortion is prohibited.

The 2010 study, published in Lancet, shows the Philippines outpaced first-world nations like Germany, Russia and Israel — where abortions are legal — in cutting maternal mortality rates.

Meanwhile, the National Statistical Coordination Board in the Philippines, according to Spero Forum, has shown the same results. From 1990-2010, the daily maternal mortality rate dropped 21 percent, its figures indicated. The World Health Organization also found that the Filipino maternal mortality rate dropped 48 percent from 1990 to 2008.

Spero indicates abortion backers have relied on a 2004 study from the World Health Organization and UNICEF to make the claim that a short-term increase in maternal mortality in the Philippines meant abortions should be legalized, but the study also includes an important disclaimer:  “The margins of uncertainty associated with the estimated MMRs are very large, and the estimates should not, therefore, be used to monitor trends in the short term. In addition, cross country comparisons should be treated with considerable circumspection because different strategies have been used to derive the estimates for different countries, making it difficult to draw comparisons.”

The various new reports on the Philippines make it clear that the rates have dropped long-term.

Last month, a study released by Human Rights Watch, entitled “Stop Making Excuses: Accountability for Maternal Health Care in South Africa,” highlights nearly the same notion. Human Rights Watch is confirming what we have long known: Good quality health care, and not abortion, is what will decrease maternal mortality rates for the populace.  The Human Rights Watch 66-page report details situations in which pregnant women were actually abused by the very medical staff from which they sought help.

“When government officials and health care advocates spend their days pushing abortion on women, you are going to get more abortions,” said MCCL GO Executive Director Scott Fischbach.  “If they change focus and push quality health care, women and babies can live.  It’s pretty simple.”

The Lancet study also found maternal morality numbers are declining worldwide even though more nations around the world are not legalizing abortions. The Lancet reports 526,300 maternal deaths worldwide in 1980 and 342,900 deaths in 2008, a reduction of 35 percent. A total of 60,000 of the 2008 deaths were pregnant women in eastern Africa who died from AIDS, not any pregnancy complications.

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 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.