Mexican Study: Lower Mother Mortality and Violence against Women in Less ‘Liberal’ States*
An international team of medical researchers comparing maternal mortality rates and abortion laws in 32 Mexican states claims it has disproven the claim of abortion promoters that easy access to abortion will reduce maternal deaths.
Comparing 14 states with constitutional protection for the unborn with 18 states with varying degrees of permissiveness over 10 years, the Chilean-Mexican-American team found that the less permissive states had a maternal mortality rate 23% lower, and a post-abortive mortality rate “up to” 47% lower.
Team member Dr. John Thorp of the University of North Carolina medical school said in a video released along with the study that it “pretty much refutes the conventional wisdom” that freer access to abortion will reduce maternal fatalities because abortions will be done in safe conditions.
The research director, Dr. Elard Koch, director of the sponsoring MELISA Institute and an associate researcher with the University of Chile’s faculty of medicine, said in the same video that the study does not show “making abortion laws less permissive will automatically decrease maternal deaths.”
But what it does show is that more difficult access to abortion has none of the negative impact on death rates claimed by organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the Guttmacher Institute.
At the same time, the study shows that states with more permissive laws had higher rates of violence against women. Meanwhile, those states with less permissive laws regarding abortion provided better prenatal care, more skilled maternity staff, and better emergency obstetrics.
Out of 10 factors examined, the one bearing the strongest relationship with reduced maternal mortality rate (MMR) was the mother’s literacy and education levels, which bring knowledge about pre-birth health and hygiene and dispel counter-productive folk “wisdom.” Less permissive states had better literacy rates.
Thorp said the results were not a surprise. A similar study tracking Chilean MMR through several changes back and forth in abortion laws showed the same factors correlating strongly with a reduced MMR, especially female literacy maternal and access to modern medicine. It also showed that legal abortion access had little to no relevance. Thorp also noted a study comparing abortion laws and the rate of complications arising from abortions in 23 U.S. states also showed that tighter abortion laws went with fewer complications.
Other factors the study found to be related to higher maternal death rates were
“Poverty, malnutrition, and exposure to infectious diseases during the fertile age of women increase the risk of maternal death,” according to Sebastián Haddad, MD, a researcher at the Universidad de Anáhuac in Mexico.