Abortion v Childbirth Comparison

Misreporting of complications by doctors, and the WHO's code definition for 'pregnancy- related' deaths inflate the figures to make pregnancy seem more dangerous than abortion.

  • Abortion is dissimilar from childbirth in many respects.
  • With pregnancy-related deaths, there is usually a health problem involved, while most abortions are performed on healthy women.
  • The WHO coding has deaths due to abortion mostly attributed to pregnancy in general.
  • It is possible that some deaths attributed to subsequent pregnancies may have been caused by a complication of a prior abortion.
  • Only a small number of abortion-related deaths actually qualify to be declared under abortion.
Abortion advocacy groups and campaigners frequently make the statement that abortion is safer than childbirth. The fight to make abortion legal in every country and culture is usually based on the risk childbirth poses to the life of the mother.

Data relating to complications and death (morbidity-mortality ) for abortion and child birth however are not always comparable.

Abortion is dissimilar from childbirth in respect to:
  • intent (abortion intends to destroy the offspring; childbirth aims to deliver the live offspring

  • duration (most abortions occur before 12 weeks gestation-childbirth usually occurs around 40 weeks gestation)

  • method (abortion is a surgical procedure-childbirth usually is not)

  • manner (abortion is artificially induced-childbirth is not - usually)
Misreporting of Complications
An editorial in the Medical Journal of Australia stated:
In global study figures, it is not uncommon for statistics to include studies from countries where there is limited access to good ante-natal care and birthing facilities.

The WHO, whose computer program for coding deaths is used by many countries, including New Zealand, is frequently the source of statistics for mortality comparisons between childbirth and abortion.

The WHO's coding rule no. 12, together with its recommendation no. 7, states that deaths due to medical and surgical treatment must be reported under the complication of the procedure and not under the condition or reason for treatment.

According to independent health researcher, Isabelle B├ęgin, medical coders have, in fact, relayed that any attempt to code a death due to abortion under an abortion category yields a "reject message" from the computer programs provided by the National Centre for Health Statistics of Washington D.C., a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia.
...deaths due to abortion can very well be attributed to pregnancy in general...

The study of pregnancy-associated deaths in Finland has shown that the risk of dying within a year after an abortion is several times higher than the risk of dying after miscarriage or childbirth.

The Study by Gissler, M., et. al., "Pregnancy-associated deaths in Finland 1987-1994 -- definition problems and benefits of record linkage," Acta Obsetricia et Gynecolgica Scandinavica 76:651-657 (1997), has been cited in the British Medical Journal online and on the Elliot Institute article Abortion Four Times Deadlier Than Childbirth.

The Elliot Institute, founded in 1988, is a non-profit pro-life organisation, dedicated to research, education and outreach regarding the effects of abortion on women, men, families and society.