More Abortion Stats

I’ve been in a statistics mood this past week. Since I will be kind of swamped today, I just wanted to post a snippet of this article by Andrea Mrozek and Rebecca Walberg, our good friends from ProWomanProLife that can be found in the National Post:

Seventy thousand. We’ve been told this is the number of women who die each year as a result of unsafe abortions in the developing world. Furthermore, we are told, this accounts for 13% of all maternal deaths.

It’s a tragedy whether 700 or 70,000 women die from abortions. However, the issue is much bigger than the number. The assumptions used to calculate the 70,000 are debatable and the methodology isn’t up to scientific standards. In the end, 70,000 is nothing more than a stab in the dark by the World Health Organization’s own admission.

The source for the 70,000 lies in a series of reports published by WHO called Unsafe Abortion. There, researchers repeatedly clarify how hard it is to study the issue due to the lack of data. One citation (of many) reads: “As there are no feasible data collection methods that can reliably reflect the overall burden of unsafe abortion, one is left to work with incomplete information on incidence and mortality from community studies or hospitals … This is then adjusted to correct for misreporting and under-reporting.” It’s no big surprise that some of the world’s poorest or war-torn nations don’t keep impeccable abortion statistics. So researchers rely on assumption after assumption.

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