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Study: No Evidence Abortion is Safer Than Childbirth

Hey, you know how we're told that abortion is safer than childbirth (not for the baby so much but they mean the mother)? Well, it turns out it's not true. I know, right? Who saw that coming?

Personhood Education has the results of a study:

A new medical study refutes the recently reported claim that “The risk of death associated with childbirth is approximately 14 times higher than with abortion.” The study, published in the peer-reviewed Linacre Quarterly, concluded that the dubious claim is “unsupported by the literature and there is no credible scientific basis to support it.”

Dr. Byron Calhoun, vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at West Virginia University-Charleston, reviewed the data from abortion-related mortality in the United States and determined that “valid scientific assessment of abortion mortality [is] extremely difficult.” This stems from the fact that:
1.Abortion is underreported by a factor of up to 50% when complications arise, making data unreliable.
2.Abortion-related mortality is demonstrably underestimated. Additionally, “indirect abortion-associated deaths,” such as “substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and suicide” arising from abortion, ”are likely to be many times higher than those deaths directly caused by obstetric complications.”
3.Serious health complications arising from abortion which threaten the life of the woman are usually handled by hospital emergency rooms, not the abortion provider. Despite being the result of physical complications of the abortion procedure, these abortion-related deaths are reported as maternal deaths.

Abortion-related mortality is vastly underreported “due to poor quality reporting and definitional issues”. Dr. Calhoun’s research shows that ”maternal deaths,” “late maternal deaths,” “pregnancy-related deaths,” and “pregnancy-associated deaths” are being defined to include, but not identify, “abortion-related deaths.”
It's amazing how that works out, isn't it? They not only cover up injuries and deaths related to abortion but then they count abortion deaths as "pregnancy-related deaths" to pad the statistics even further.

Funny, how the people so committed to science are the ones always trying to distort it or ignore it.


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Sophia's Favorite said...

Any death from lung disease is counted as a smoking-related death...even if you're a coalminer. I can't remember the particulars but I seem to recall a guy once had a paper published that demonstrated that, by the methodologies used to calculate deaths from smoking, you can also "prove" that cigarettes save over a hundred thousand lives a year.

But these people are not committed to science, any more than Bill Clinton is committed to the doctrines of the Southern Baptist Convention. They use the prestige of science, the clericalism of our era, as a political tool, just as Clinton used being seen coming out of a church with a Bible the size of a surfboard. They are "pro-science" as long as science serves them, and the second it doesn't, they're more "anti-science" than the average Young Earth Creationist.

ProudHillbilly said...

"Funny, how the people so committed to science are the ones always trying to distort it or ignore it."

You noticed that, did you? Just remember - the science is settled.

Boonton said...

1. Not every death from lung disease is 'counted as a smoking' death. It's long been known that some lung cancers and other diseases are not caused by smoking. For example, asbestous exposure, cystic fibrosus, and soon.

2. The study seems to include dubious 'indirect' abortion related deaths such as substance abuse or suicide. This is pretty problematic without any clear connection. A woman who drinks herself to death who also had an abortion may have drunk because she felt bad about having an abortion...or maybe she had an abortion because she was a drinker, or maybe the two had nothing to do with each other. But fair is fair, how about women who give birth and later on die from suicide or substance abuse? Should they be counted as 'indirect childbirth deaths'? The fairest thing it seems would be to just not count 'indirect' deaths on either side absent some sound method of actually linking them to either abortion or childbirth (such as a suicide note citing abortion or diagnosed post-partum depression).

3. Do not many pro-lifers consider the 'abortion pill' to be abortion too? Even regular birth control is sometimes considered abortion because it's thought that it sometimes causes a miscarriage rather than inhibits conception. If that's the case then when computing your rate you have to divide by the total of all abortions, not simply surgerical abortions performed in a doctor's office or hospital.

Sophia's Favorite said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sophia's Favorite said...

@Boonton: It has indeed long been known. Nevertheless the stats quoted about the dangers of smoking do not make distinctions. Innocent child, did you think people who quote stats to demonstrate cigarettes are dangerous were out to teach? They are out to persuade. Their goal may or may not be good, but they aren't interested in conveying a truth, they are interested in influencing behavior.

As for the "indirect abortion-related deaths", presumably the study is counting suicides from post-partum depression on the birth side. And there is always huge difficulty in establishing causation—it is not true, despite how the principle is often stated, that correlation doesn't "imply" causation, only that it doesn't prove it. (In strict logic you can't prove that shooting people in the head kills them, it just correlates very strongly.) Those indirect deaths correlate less strongly with birth than with abortion.

Finally, pro-lifers don't "consider" the "abortion pill" to be abortion, and they don't "consider" birth control to potentially be abortion. The former works, explicitly, by causing a miscarriage (at this stage of the game do you think science is unclear about how gestation in large mammals works?) and the latter is known to cause miscarriages.

That entire phase of your argument is the appeal to ignorance fallacy, the Moloch of the Gaps, as it were.

Boonton said...

Nevertheless the stats quoted about the dangers of smoking do not make distinctions.

There are no stats quoted above about smoking danger! But since you assure me this is the case I hit 'causes of lung cancer' in google and went to WebMd, one of the first results and a pretty respected source of common knowledge.

Right off the bat WebMD admits that 90% of lung cancers are linked to smoking (not all). It also lists non-smoking causes of lung cancer (asbestous, radon gas, family history/genetics, air pollution).


Those indirect deaths correlate less strongly with birth than with abortion.

I wouldn't 'presume' anything about the study unless you actually read it first. Your example of shooting people in the head only 'correlating' with death but maybe not 'causing' it is cute but a bit spurious here since one has to use common sense in judging these things. Random chance alone means that you will always find correlations where no causation exists. So absent a logical mechanism for causation one should be very skeptical of a correlation. Even more cause for skepticism should be caused by correlations that may be linked with hidden variables.

For example, it may be that a woman who is already depressed is more likely to have an abortion. In that case you'd see a correlation between depression and abortion but the causation may be running the opposite way (depression is causing the abortion). That's simple. On the other hand it may be that a woman who is in an abusive relationship is likely to both have an abortion and develop depression. If you were measuring only abortions and depressions you may very well see a correlation...you may even see depression happening after abortion supporting an argument that depression can be caused by abortion...but if you weren't measuring abusive relationships you'd miss the true cause. Even more comfounding is the fact that many women who have abortions also have childbirths either soon before or soon after the abortion so even attributing a correlation becomes difficult. Given this it seems the most sensible thing to do is to ditch 'indirect deaths' entirely from the analysis on *both* sides.

Finally, pro-lifers don't "consider" the "abortion pill" to be abortion, and they don't "consider" birth control to potentially be abortion.

You then go on to say that the abortion pill is abortion, and so is the birth control pill. That would mean you do in fact consider it to be abortion so I'm not sure who or what you're trying to argue against with this statement.

But the question that matters here is does the study cited align with your belief about abortion or was it only looking at surgerical abortions? If it was the former then you're not actually measuring a correlation with abortion versus a correlation with childbirth since you're excluding a great number of abortions (possibly even a supermajority of abortions!) from the analysis.

Proteios1 said...

Ironically, as a scientist, I find this type of study to have little if any value unless done properly. Clearly, medical research isn't up to discerning whether the question of which js "safer" can be answered. Too many variables and too many assumptions are required. S those making any claim, pro abortion or pro life are inherently wrong and should respect science as a tool and not a brand name, like the BBB or UL that validates a company or their product.

Second, the nature of the reach is nonsensical. Comparing safety of abortion and childbirth is akin to comparing the safety of leg amputations versus skiing accidents. The argument has become so silly as to demean all those engaging in it.

Science has determined that life begins at conception. Science has determined that the universe began with the Big Bang. To claim that the universe as a mass of atoms and not worthy of life because it didnt take the same shape 15 billion years later is just as moronic as saying that a blastocyst isn't a person because it doesn't look like a newborn...or a 30 year old...so the beginning of evolution started with a single cell. from the primordial oooze? sorry. not life. because it doesnt look like me. Things begin. And sometimes they don't look like the final product. The real argument is not whether life beings at conception. The argument is are you ok killing life at some point after it is initiated? I yes, then kill your baby. If not, then don't.

Boonton said...

Actually life begins before conception. The sperm cell and egg cells are living entities. The abortion debate is not really about when life begins.

I disagree that you can't compare the safety of abortion versus childbirth. The two are almost the same physiologically. In both the something is removed from a woman's body. In childbirth that something is typically much larger so it's pretty reasonable that it would be more traumatic on the body than, say, a first trimester abortion or 'abortion pill' abortion that's removing something not larger than a grain of sand or a birth control pill type abortion that is about a single microscopic cell not implanting.

But that's a very limited type of question. How many women die in abortion or childbirth or have measurable complications from either. When you start getting into 'indirect deaths' from, say, substance abuse years after an abortion or childbirth you can perform accurate measures but not necessarily a causal one.

Recently there was big news about people who drink 4 or more cups of coffee a day having a higher death rate than others. Interestingly they noted in that study they were only looking at overall death rates, not the causes. So some of the difference may be coming from drinking so much coffee and some might be some correlation....for example a mass coffee drinker might be the type of guy whose always in a rush and likely to drive faster and less safe than a more laid back fellow. Since his higher death rate is caused by his rushed driving, limiting him to 3 cups a day won't impact anything.

Sophia's Favorite said...

...And now the little troll demonstrates he didn't take 9th grade Bio. Since if he had, he might know the difference between a diploid zygote and haploid gamete. A zygote is not a germ cell, caveboy, it is a somatic cell—and not a somatic cell of either its mother or its father.

Biology considers that to be the beginning of an individual member of any species. Some species—single-celled organisms—never expand beyond that point. Multi-celled organisms do.

You appear to be claiming there is no way to know what species a single-celled organism, whether it be a zygote or an amoeba, belongs to. Aside from that being the appeal-to-ignorance fallacy, it happens to not be true.

Biology says that the creation of an independent diploid cell is when the life of an individual organism begins. There is no dispute on that; it is markedly more settled in biology than the mechanism of gravity is settled in physics.

Boonton said...

Troll means someone who disagrees with you, or so it would seem.

You declared 'when life begins'. As for what 'biology considers...' you are here talking about a philosophical definition which once provided science can say whether or not something fits that definition, but that's not the same as saying science itself gets to decide or even can decide.

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