Last week, a fascinating new research paper was released which demonstrates that mothers and babies in Ireland are safer there and receive better care than they would in the neighboring United Kingdom (U.K.), in spite of the fact that abortion remains illegal in Ireland. The paper, titled Maternal and Neonatal Health and Abortion: 40 Year Trends in Great Britain and Ireland, was authored by CLI adjunct scholar Byron Calhoun, M.D., as well as John M. Thorp M.D., and Patrick S. Carroll, M.A. It was published in the American Journal of Physicians and Surgeons.
The new report, which compares 40 years of maternal and neonatal data from Great Britain (where abortion has been legal since 1967) to data from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (where abortion is currently illegal), found that mothers and babies in Ireland are statistically better off than their British counterparts. The maternal mortality rate in Ireland is half that of the UK – despite the insistence of some authorities that the prohibition of induced abortion contributes to higher rates of maternal mortality. Additionally, both the stillbirth and the preterm birth rates are significantly lower in Ireland than their abortion-permissive neighbors.
The data clearly contradicts the myth that legalized abortion is necessary for the health and well being of women. Ireland stands as an international model for the medical care of its mothers and the protection of their babies. The data from the U.K. suggests that legalized abortion has not in any way aided British mothers but has only hurt them – stripping them of their children and sometimes their lives as well as leading them to higher rates of stillborn babies and pre-term birth, a significant public health issue whose risk increases as a result of previous induced abortions.
Ireland is currently in the midst of a contentious debate regarding a bill before the Irish Parliament which would allow legal induced abortion into the country for the first time. While the proposed legislation would theoretically place limits on abortion within Ireland, those familiar with the course abortion has taken in countries where it is legal (even when assured that it would be “safe, legal, and rare”) realize how prevalent it can become. Health of the mother stipulations have not significantly limited the number of abortions. In both the United States and abroad mental or emotional health is an often ill-defined category which is routinely used as a catch-all justification for abortion. In New Zealand, 98% of abortions are premised on the mental health of the mother. Since the legalization of abortion in the United States (U.S.), more than 54 million children have been lost to abortion in the U.S. That is more than 12 times the population of the Republic of Ireland.
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Ireland currently stands as a safe haven for mothers and their children and a shining example to other nations in terms of maternal healthcare. In contemplating allowing legal abortion into Ireland, the Irish government is entertaining an idea which would place Irish mothers and children into serious jeopardy. Ireland should not follow in the misguided steps of the U.K. and the U.S. That route can only lead to the exploitation of Irish women and the loss of countless Irish children. Ireland should strive to continue to be a nation which protects its mothers and babies.
LifeNews Note: Nora Sullivan writes for the Lozier Institute.