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As abortions grow safer, maternal mortality remains high

In her Feb. 24 letter, “The dangers of abortion,” Jeanne Monahan listed complications from abortions and noted the deaths of at least 400 women between 1972 and 2006 as a result of legal abortion. Four hundred women dying is too many, but it’s a vast improvement over the rates before abortion became legal.

According to the 2003 Guttmacher Institute report “Lessons From Before Roe: Will Past Be Prologue?” 2,700 deaths were attributed to illegal abortions in 1930; in 1940, the number was about 1,700; in 1950, with the increased use of antibiotics and sulfa drugs after the war, there were just more than 300 deaths. The earlier statistics may not be as accurate as later ones since many women who had abortions would not admit it. These numbers do not include the number of women admitted to hospitals as a result of complications from incomplete illegal abortions or self-abortions.

Now let’s look at some childbirth statistics. Amnesty Internationalreported in 2011 that the United States ranks 50th in the world for maternal mortality. The rate of maternal death nearly doubled between 1987 and 2007, according to federal statistics.

Pretty eye-opening numbers, are they not? It seems to me that abortions have become safer while mortality rates for women giving birth are still pretty high.

Joanne Marcus, Woodbridge

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