Abortion advocates have long advanced their opinion that all legal abortions are safe, and all illegal abortions are unsafe. But this has never been true.
An editorial in the latest Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO) considers the definition of “unsafe abortion” and distinguishes the safety of abortion from its legality. This is a reversal of a policy that has been in place since the early 1990s and a tremendous step in the right direction.
The article acknowledges, “WHO has historically used a pragmatic operational construct that measures safety in terms of only one dimension—legality—in developing its regional and global estimates of rates of unsafe abortions.” This method inflates the number of “unsafe abortions” in countries that prohibit abortion, providing fuel for efforts to legalize abortion. And it downplays the number of dangerous abortions in countries that permit abortion on demand.
The truth is that “illegal abortion is not synonymous with unsafe abortion,” as WHO’s new editorial concedes. We know, on the basis of evidence from around the world, that abortion can be legally permitted and yet be extremely dangerous to the health of women (largely depending on the medical context).
Legalizing abortion does not suddenly make it safe. It only makes it more common. Evidence from many countries shows that legalizing abortion is simply not necessary to reduce maternal mortality and protect the lives and health of women.
We applaud WHO for recognizing the difference between abortion’s safety and its legality. We urge WHO to also recognize that no abortion is ever completely safe—that abortion inherently poses risks to women’s physical and psychological health. And we hope that WHO will one day recognize that every single abortion takes the life of an innocent human being, a valuable member of the human family who deserves our care and respect—the unborn baby.
MCCL GO will continue to press for the protection of women and children. They should receive love, support and quality health care, not abortion.
LifeNews Note: Scott Fischbach is the head of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach.