Study Finds that Countries with Abortion Restrictions Have Higher Maternal Death

According to recent research conducted by The University of Melbourne, access to safe abortions can reduce the risk of abortion-related maternal deaths. In 2015, there were over 300,000 maternal deaths, the majority of which occurred in underdeveloped countries where access to legal abortion care is limited. In countries with the most restrictive abortions laws, such as Chile, El Salvador, and Nicaragua the number of maternal deaths were higher.

On the contrary, countries with less restrictive abortion laws resulted in lower maternal mortality rates. Research like this illustrates the importance of having access to safe and legal abortion care here in the United States of America.

The University of Melbourne study indicates abortion law reform is essential. Recently places like Mexico City, Nepal and South Africa have transitioned from very restrictive laws that limited abortion, to less restrictive laws and found that informing the public was necessary for women to be able to access the safe, available services.

Abortion law reform needs to be in conjunction with community outreach to give accurate information to reduce abortion stigma.  Currently in the United States, research indicates that “women may be unaware, or have incorrect knowledge, about abortion laws in their countries” or in their state in which they reside. Many states in the U.S., such as Texas, healthcare providers are legally protected when giving misinformation if they believe a woman is seeking an abortion if it is against their moral beliefs.

Many countries including the United States have restricted abortions with only a few exceptions. The circumstances that allow women to have an abortion in these cases are:

  • Intervention to save the life of the mother
  • Pregnancy resulting from rape or incest
  • Diagnosis of fetal defect
  • Conservation of physical health of the mother
  • Conservation of the mental health of the mother
  • Conservation of economic or social status

We know that these abortion restrictions limit access to abortion for most people. While they are enacted under the guise of “protecting women”, these restrictions in fact cause more barriers and as the study shows, worse health outcomes.

Click HERE to read the full report on BMC Women’s Health about safe and legal abortion statistics, and be the change in your community.