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Fact Check Friday- Is Abortion Safer than Childbirth?

This weeks claim...

"Childbirth can be potentially dangerous or even fatal, abortion is safer.”

What they say.

In May of 2022, Scientific American Magazine made this claim: Pregnancy Is Far More Dangerous Than Abortion. Restricting access to and prohibiting abortion in the U.S. will only increase maternal mortality in the nation that already ranks shockingly low in maternal health. 

The SA author repeatedly cites the “sobering” facts from a 2021 CDC study of maternal mortality which shows a nearly 40% increase in overall maternal deaths from 2020, with rates for non-Hispanic Black women 2.6 times higher than white women. “In 2019,” the article states, “754 mothers died during pregnancy. In 2020, another 850 patients died because of pregnancy-related events. For each of those women who died, 70 more suffered a serious maternal morbidity event, defined as a pregnancy-related event requiring a life-saving intervention or procedure (such as blood transfusion, surgery or admission to the intensive care unit).” 

But is this Study True.

For the past 15 years, the CDC has been telling us a story of disaster and panic for pregnant women. The maternal death rate, they warned us, is at a crisis level literally doubling over the past two decades and is inextricably bound with race, class and age. Black women, the study concluded, are three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than white women. And more recently they’ve reported 32.9 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021 making the US a far more dangerous place to have a baby than in other rich countries.

Abortion advocates have seized these studies to make sweeping claims about the safety of abortion and abortion pills.

Planned Parenthood states emphatically that abortion is safer than childbirth. At the top of their Abortion Fact Sheet, they state (with no citation) that “women are about 14 times more likely to die in childbirth than from an abortion.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) makes the identical claim and echoes the 2021 CDC facts as gospel truth in their version of an abortion fact sheet.

Claiming systemic racism as a main cause, panic and fear about the astonishing CDC report has fueled abortion activism, inspired countless headlines promoting fear and mistrust, and led to many overly reactive policy responses.

But there's a problem. It turns out that the CDC got it wrong.

New research from Rutgers University and the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology challenges current CDC reporting about rising maternal death rates in the U.S., suggesting instead that maternal mortality is stable and on par with other developed countries.

A closer and more careful look at the data found that a “pregnancy checkbox” introduced by the CDC in 2003 may have contributed to inaccurate pregnancy-related death tolls. The discrepancies around direct, indirect, incidental, and accidental deaths among pregnant people may have led to reporting errors, researchers say. The CDC’s “pregnancy check box” was used to count any maternal death (i.e., a pregnant woman in a car accident or a pregnant woman who was murdered) along with women who in fact die during childbirth. Thanks to researchers at Rutgers University, we have learned that our actual maternal mortality rate is “slightly more than 10 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.” Not perfect but far from the crisis that has been reported in the headlines.

Will there be a correction or apology? Don’t hold your breath. 

What does all this mean for women?

Panic and fear based on faulty data is not helping women. And it is fueling the abortion lobby's campaign to promote abortion as a "safe alternative" when it is decidedly not.

But we cannot allow the exaggerated facts and fear mongering to hide the realities facing women who learn they are pregnant. The need for intervention is real. Rather than lie to women about the facts, the Network of Life steps in to assure that young single mothers, especially in the black community, receive the resources and care they need to have full term pregnancies, babies with healthy birth weight, and post partum (“4th Trimester”) support.

The Network of Life clinics have been providing this kind of support for nearly 40 years. It's what we do. We are often the first responder for a woman facing an unexpected pregnancy. That woman and the father of her baby will immediately be seen by a health care professional in our centers. 

They will see their ultrasound and be tested for STDs. Their prenatal care will be expedited and supplemented by our Life Support mentors and Birthing Classes. Our holistic care addresses the unique challenges that our clients face. When we, along with a vibrant church community, provide meaningful help and transformative care, the fear, panic and perceived need for abortion fades away. Lives are changed and restored by a loving community of faith and care.

Our services go far beyond the medical help in early pregnancy. We are a long term partner offering prenatal education and childbirth classes, preparation for parenthood, material resources for mom, baby to come, and children at home. We address her relationships and help her choose a healthier sexual lifestyle. We promote healthy marriage which has been called “America’s greatest weapon against child poverty.” The education and mentoring relationships impact maternal health, full term delivery, and healthy birth weight.

But most importantly, we help her see herself as God sees her—a valuable person created in God’s image with a purpose, a plan and a destiny to fulfill.

Key Take-A-Ways

  • The claim that abortion is safer than childbirth is based on faulty data.

  • New research has challenged that data and is setting the record straight.

  • The abortion lobby has spread fear and panic to promote abortion as a "heathy choice" for pregnant women.

  • Fear and panic are not a solution. Early intervention, support and resources assure that moms and babies are healthy and cared for.

  • Women's Choice Network centers and pregnancy centers across the US offer truthful verified facts to empower women and support them throughout pregnancy and beyond.

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