Kathy Petersen’s Blog

Forced Pregnancy?

Posted in abortion by Kathy on April 23, 2008

I promised another post about the woman who is upset about the funeral procession in Knoxville for aborted babies. This is it.

In her post, she wonders aloud where the crosses and funeral processions are for women who died due to pregnancy, and then she linked to a site that shows the U.S. maternal mortality rate. She uses the emotional term “forced pregnancy” — as if the only women who die from maternal complications are those who were raped.

My definition of a forced pregnancy is one in which the woman was, you know, forcibly impregnated. She calls it “forced” pregnancy, when women are “coerced” into not having an abortion [but of course, I guess women are never coerced into having an abortion (p. 37)?? And, so much for having a “choice,” huh? Isn’t remaining pregnant a “choice”, or is abortion the only “choice”?], or do not have easy access to an abortionist. I don’t consider a pregnancy that results from consensual sex to be “forced,” and furthermore, I think it is a slap in the face to victims of sexual assault to speak of a consensual act as being “forced.”

Just for what it’s worth, this website says that in 2004-2005, by extrapolating known (or is it suspected?) rape cases (64,080 women) and the medical estimate of one-time sex resulting in pregnancy 5% of the time, yielding 3,204 pregnancies as the result of rape. They admit that these numbers are not known for sure, because of the different factors that may have prevented pregnancy, including women being on birth control, rapists wearing condoms to avoid DNA detection, and sexual assault with objects or on women too old for pregnancy. This figure is probably higher than in past years, but just for the sake of argument, let’s say that this number has been constant for the past 35 years (since Roe v. Wade), and that none of these women had an abortion. The latest figures for the U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate is 13/100,000 live births, although the number is probably actually higher. Let’s say that it is 20/100,000, and has been for the past 35 years (although the reported number has varied, and was below 10 for over a decade at least). Let’s also say that none of these deaths was due to abortion (although many women do die from abortion). That means that approximately 22 women would have died from a “forced pregnancy.” So 112,140 babies would have to die to save 22 women.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that our MMR is horrible when compared to other industrialized countries. But this is something that abortion advocates conveniently forget — maternal mortality includes deaths due to abortion. Maternal mortality (depending on the country) is the death of a woman within 42 days or within 1 year of pregnancy, regardless of how the pregnancy ended (abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, or live birth) — and this death due to something related to pregnancy or childbirth (dying in a plane crash wouldn’t count). But, abortion-related deaths are more likely to be covered up or coded as due to something else (for example, an abortion might cause a deadly infection or hemorrhage, and the death would be listed as due to infection or hemorrhage, rather than abortion); and even the government recognizes that maternal deaths are under-reported by 30% (and very likely higher). [This under-reporting is primarily due to coroners not knowing or not checking to see if the woman had recently been pregnant. When researchers have undertaken the task of matching death certificates with health records, they uncovered quite a few deaths that should have been reported as “maternal mortality” when they weren’t.] So, when pro-abortion people start talking about how abortion should remain legal because “maternal mortality” is so much higher than women’s deaths due to abortion, they’re either deceptive or ignorant. “Maternal mortality” is the whole pie, but abortion-related deaths are a slice of that pie.

And I read something recently that showed that when deaths due to abortion are compared to the rest of maternal mortality, it’s not a fair comparison, because almost all pregnancy-related deaths in the first half of pregnancy are due to abortions. Women just don’t die because of pregnancy in the first half of pregnancy. The only exception would be ectopic pregnancy, but these pregnancies are rare (and more likely if the woman has had a previous abortion); and while they can be deadly, they usually are not because they’re diagnosed and treated (with abortion if caught early enough; with another surgery if the fallopian tube has already burst) before the woman dies. It’s possible for a woman to bleed to death following a miscarriage, or a D&C procedure after a miscarriage; but, again, this is extremely rare, and also the D&C is exactly what happens during an abortion (it’s just that it removes a living fetus, instead of a fetus who has already died), so if a D&C can be dangerous after a miscarriage, then it certainly can be as an abortion.

Most maternal deaths happen in the late stages of pregnancy, or during or after childbirth ( complications of diabetes, blood pressure, etc., hemorrhage, C-section wound infection, or the doctor accidentally severed a blood vessel during a C-section, etc.). In the late stages of pregnancy, if the woman’s health is being severely compromised (and by extension, her child’s health would be suffering too), then she can be induced or have a C-section, rather than an abortion. And this is what happens. I’ve read a lot of birth stories, including some in which women got severely ill; and none of them chose an abortion. I’ve heard of women who were diagnosed with cancer, and the doctor pressed them to have an abortion so that they could begin chemotherapy, and they refused. Knowing that their chances of surviving cancer were slim to none if they continued the pregnancy until the child was far enough along to have a good chance of survival, they chose life for their child and death for themselves. “Forced” pregnancy?? Give me a break!

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