Study from Finland: Women are 3 Times More Likely to Die after an Abortion; CDC Admits Its Abortion & Childbirth Mortality Statistics are Not Comparable; New Findings May Change How Roe v. Wade is Applied
Unborn Babies Cry in the Womb, New Zealand Researchers Show
British Favor Placing Further Limits on Late-Term Abortions
Chinese Police Seize A Blind Activist Promoting Legal Action Against Forced Sterilization and Abortion
Ayotte Abortion Case
Abortion Centers Hiding Statutory Rape?
OH Parental Consent for Abortion Law Found Constitutional…
STUDY: WOMEN ARE THREE TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE AFTER AN ABORTION: CDC Admits Its Abortion & Childbirth Mortality Statistics Are Not Comparable; New Findings May Change How Roe v Wade is Applied –International health experts have published a new study disclosing that 94 percent of maternal deaths associated with abortion are not identifiable from death certificates alone. Proper tracking of pregnancy associated deaths, they report, requires the linking of death certificates to the deceased women's medical records. Only in this way, they conclude, can accurate information about recent pregnancies be determined–information that is frequently missing from death certificates and autopsies.
The study, completed by researchers from the National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health in Finland, shows that the long held presumption that abortion is associated with fewer deaths than childbirth does not hold up once the pregnancy history of women is actually investigated using record linkage.
Previously, it has been widely assumed that the mortality rate associated with abortion was only one-sixth that of childbirth. But those estimates were based primarily on information gathered only from death certificates or other public records.
Proper identification of pregnancy history, the researchers found, reveals that the death rate associated with abortion is actually three times higher than that of childbirth.
The findings of this epidemiological study may have a profound impact on the abortion debate in the United States, according to some legal analysts.
"The claim that abortion was safer than childbirth, at least early in pregnancy, was accepted as a crucial fact in Roe v Wade," says Walter Weber, an attorney with the American Center for Law and Justice, who specializes in abortion law. "In fact, the Court concluded that the states had authority to regulate abortion to protect women's health only at the point at which death rates associated with abortion exceeded those associated with childbirth — which at that time was assumed to be around 12 weeks of gestation."
This recent study is just one of a series of studies done among women in Finland and California demonstrating an elevated risk of death following abortion, a risk that exceeds that of both non-pregnant women and women whose pregnancies are allowed to follow their natural course. According to Weber, these studies provide a new basis for states to regulate abortion even within the judicial reasoning of Roe.
The argument over risks of death following abortion versus childbirth won't be settled overnight, however. Planned Parenthood and the closely allied Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) continue to promote the message that abortion is safer than childbirth. Their argument is based on comparing the nationally reported rates of death for childbirth to the rate of death associated with abortion that is reported by the National Institutes of Health's Centers for Disease Control (CDC). But both sets of numbers are drawn principally from death certificates.
Even before this latest study discrediting the accuracy of accessing pregnancy associated deaths from death certificates alone, the CDC's reports on abortion associated deaths had been severely criticized by abortion opponents.
One of the chief complaints was that the top physician's in the CDC's abortion surveillance unit had clear conflicts of interest since they were not only outspoken advocates for expanding abortion services but also practicing abortion providers.
Mark Crutcher, president of Life Dynamics, has charged that CDC's abortion surveillance unit was set up by abortion advocates within the CDC not to oversee abortion but to defend and promote abortion. "When it comes to abortion, CDC stands for Center for Damage Control," writes Crutcher.
A recent law review article examining the new data on elevated death rates following abortion also criticizes the CDC's resistance to adopting the new record linkage techniques.
According to the lead author, David Reardon of the Elliot Institute, the CDC abortion surveillance team has yet to apologize for and repudiate a blatantly misleading study its team authored in 1982 which asserted they were successfully identifying at least 90 percent of deaths associated with abortion. "This report was particularly dishonest in that they misappropriated a little known statistical comparison test, and violated each of the test's three preconditions for validity, simply to dismiss calls for better investigations."
Reardon says that the work of Kevin Sherlock, a writer and reporter who specializes in public record research, proves that the CDC's abortion mortality statistics are essentially meaningless. Sherlock's independent review of death certificates, with cause of death verified by autopsies and court records regarding malpractice claims, confirmed at least 140 abortion related deaths for the decade of the 1980s, which is thirty percent more than the total reported by the CDC. "That a single investigator could fully document thirty percent mor
e deaths than the entire CDC abortion surveillance unit should give everyone pause," said Reardon.
In light of the studies documenting higher death rates associated with abortion, combined with renewed criticism of the CDC abortion surveillance unit itself, top CDC officials appear to be backing away from their past claims. In response to a letter from Walter Weber questioning the appropriateness of comparing maternal mortality statistics for childbirth with CDC's reported mortality statistics for abortion, Dr. Julie Louise Gerberding, director of the CDC, wrote in July of 2004, that maternal mortality rates and abortion mortality rates "are conceptually different and are used by the CDC for different public health purposes."
In other words, the CDC numbers relied upon by Planned Parenthood and AGI are not truly comparable.
According to Reardon, this is why the record-linkage studies based on data collected in Finland and California are so important. "These studies represent the first time that the measurements of deaths associated with abortion and childbirth have been taken using a consistent and uniform standard."
While it is still unclear how this new information will ultimately affect abortion access, there is no doubt that it intensify the social, legal, and medical debates surrounding it.
Gissler M, Berg C, Bouvier-Colle MH, Buekens P. Methods for identifying pregnancy-associated deaths: population-based data from Finland 1987-2000. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2004 Nov;18(6):448-55.
Sherlock K. Victims of Choice. Akron, OH, Brennyman Books, 1996.
Reardon DC, Strahan TW, Thorp JM, Shuping MW. Deaths associated with abortion compared to childbirth: a review of new and old data and the medical and legal implications. The Journal of Contemporary Health Law & Policy 2004; 20(2):279-327.
Related: Death Rate of Abortion Three Times Higher than Childbirth: 13-year Population Study in Published in Top OB/Gyn Journal
[Elliot Institute; www.afterabortion.org, Springfield, IL Sept 9, 2005]
UNBORN BABIES CRY IN THE WOMB, NEW ZEALAND RESEARCHERS SHOW [Auckland Univ, New Zealand] unborn children begin to cry in the womb at 28 weeks into pregnancy. The scientists played a 90 decibel noise through a speaker placed on the stomachs of pregnant women & the babies cried because the noise was uncomfortable. The cries were recorded using ultrasound scanners. "It was strikingly like an infant crying. Even the bottom lip quivers," Professor Mitchell said [London Sun]. Mitchell said the results of the study, coming days after a disputed study claiming unborn children don't feel pain until about the same time, show that legislation requiring giving babies anesthesia before an abortion are necessary. [LifeNews.com, 30Aug05]
A NEW TEST has been developed that can reveal the sex of an unborn baby as early as 5 weeks gestation. The test is being marketed under the name Baby Gender Mentor. There is concern that it could be used for sex selection and subsequent abortions. [Rt to Life of Greater Cincinnati, 8/05]
BLACKGENOCIDE.ORG -“With one-third of all abortions performed on Black women, the abortion industry has received over $4,000,000,000 (billion) from the Black community.” The U.S. abortion industry -in the late 90s- “rake[d] in about $64,000 every hour of the day, 365 days a year.” [HLI Special Report # 162]
AYOTTE ABORTION CASE — Ayotte was filed over a New Hampshire abortion law, arguing that the outcome could affect a final ruling on the Partial Birth federal abortion law that has been struck down by 3 courts…A win in the Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England case would cause immediate reversal, without even argument, of all the federal court decisions invalidating the partial birth abortion ban law. That is because the federal courts have invalidated the partial birth abortion law "on its face," without actual cases of unconstitutional application. This just reinforces how the Ayotte case is THE most important abortion case in over a decade, and perhaps THE most important since Roe v. Wade itself. Eagle Forum filed a strong brief 12Aug05 in this case. On 8Aug05, Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief. “If we're successful, then this could reduce abortions by up to 30-40% nationwide, approaching lower levels of abortion not seen in this country in over 3 decades.” This case could make it much more difficult to challenge pro-life parental involvement laws or other laws that seek to restrict or regulate abortion. The case arose out of a New Hampshire law that requires that the parents receive notice of their minor child’s request to have an abortion. The parental involvement statute seeks to protect immature children from the consequences of abortion by ensuring that the parents are notified. Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, commented: “The Supreme Court has created exceptions to general rules of law when it comes to abortion. The mangled mess is often referred to as the ‘abortion distortion.’ It is time the Supreme Court articulates a clear rule of law, one that is guided by principal and supported by the Constitution. We have always presumed that parents act in the best interest of their children. If parental consent is required before a doctor can treat a child for a minor cold, then certainly parental involvement is necessary when their minor daughter considers abortion.”
The legal significance of the case involves an “as applied” versus a “facial” challenge to government legislation. An “as applied” challenge contests the application of a law to a specific situation, and if found unconstitutional, it is unconstitutional in that specific application. If the law can be constitutionally applied to another set of facts, it remains constitutional to that set of facts. A “facial” challenge can be mounted only in rare circumstances where a law has not necessarily been applied to any set of facts. To find a law “facially” unconstitutional, the plaintiff bringing the case bears the burden of proving that the law is unconstitutional in every conceivable application. This is a heavy burden to prove.
In the partial birth abortion case decided by the Supreme Court in 2000, the 5-4 decision in Carhart v. Nebraska allowed the partial birth abortion statute to be “facially” challenged before it was ever applied. Some courts have made an exception to general rule of
disfavoring “facial” challenges when it comes to abortion laws. Thus most abortion laws are challenged before they ever go into effect. Courts have struck down abortion laws based on one hypothetical unconstitutional application. Facial challenges have made statutes regulating abortion vulnerable and have allowed preemptory suits based on hypothetical and unproven circumstances. Liberty Counsel’s brief argues that the Court ought to bring abortion litigation within the mainstream of constitutional jurisprudence and therefore not allow facial challenges unless the law can be proven unconstitutional in every conceivable circumstance. Thus, even if there is 1 unconstitutional application of the law, the statute will survive if the law can be constitutionally applied in other circumstances. If the Court rules that “facial” challenges to an abortion law must prove that the statute is unconstitutional in every conceivable application, the result will be that most challenges to abortion laws will fail.
[AP; [email protected] 18Aug05, Andy Schlafly commenting on the US Supreme Court abortion. EF brief: http://www.eagleforum.org/topics/briefs/index.shtml; 8Aug05 Liberty Counsel]
AZ SHERIFF CAN'T PROHIBIT INMATES FROM HAVING ABORTIONS — AZ Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio had required court approval to take a woman for an abortion because he said it violated policies against using taxpayer dollars for abortions. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Schneider said the policy is illegal and an unconstitutional burden on women being able to obtain legal abortions. He denied the argument that requiring a court order for an abortion protects the county from a lawsuit from a third party that may have an interest in the unborn child. In October 2004, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Arpaio, who would authorize transport for abortions only in cases when "medically necessary." In May 2004 an unnamed inmate sought an abortion while detained at Estrella Jail. She had prepaid for the abortion, but deputies refused to transport her without a court order. [LifeNews.com, 30Aug05]
ABORTION LAW IN TEXAS COULD SEE ABORTION DOCS CHARGED WITH CAPITAL CRIME — for aborting babies in the third trimester or without the consent of the parents of the mother. While legislators have insisted that it was not their intent, the Texas District and County Attorneys Association has warned that the parental consent legislation to come into effect this week in conjunction with the 2003 fetal protection law may result in charges against doctors in a state that retains the death penalty. [Austin, 30August 05; LifeSiteNews.com]
BRITISH FAVOR PLACING FURTHER LIMITS ON LATE-TERM ABORTIONS — Powerful public support for an overhaul of the 40-year-old abortion laws has emerged from a Daily Telegraph survey of the nation's attitudes to the key ethical and moral issues of the day. Late-term abortions in the U.K. should be limited further than current law allows, according to a new poll of British residents. Some 58 percent of those polled by YouGov said abortions should not be allowed, as it is now, until 24 weeks into pregnancy; but should be capped at 20 weeks. YouGov surveyed 2,432 adults. Only 27 per cent of those questioned believed that the current 24-week legal limit for termination should be retained; at that age, an unborn child born prematurely has a very high likelihood of surviving on her own. Fifty eight per cent said abortions should not be carried out after the 20th week of pregnancy, with women more likely than men to favor tighter controls. One in three women favored a limit of 12 weeks or under. Some 19 percent said British law should stop allowing abortions at 12 weeks into pregnancy and 9 percent said abortions should only be allowed less than 12 weeks into pregnancy. Some six percent of British residents said abortions should never be legal at any time during pregnancy. The poll also showed that 48 percent of those polled opposed making abortions free through the taxpayer-funded health insurance offered by the federal government. The poll will encourage MPs in the new parliament to revisit the 1967 Abortion Act, as recommended earlier this year by the Commons science and technology select committee. Lord Steel, the former Liberal leader who was the architect of the Abortion Act, has been among those calling for a review leading to a possible reduction in the current 24-week limit to reflect modern medical science and the "viability" of foetuses. Survival rates for premature babies have soared in the last two decades and in top neonatal units, 50 per cent of babies born at 23 weeks live. However, an overwhelming majority of terminations are still performed at under 13 weeks, with 0.6 per cent taking place between 22 and 24 weeks. Fresh questions over the abortion limit were raised last year with the publication of extraordinarily clear ultrasound pictures showing foetuses of 14 to 18 weeks in the womb making seemingly purposeful movements. [http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/08/29/nabor29.xml, By Philip Johnston, 29/08/2005; LifeNews.com, 30Aug05; N Valko RN, 29Aug05]
KS ABORTION CENTERS HIDING STATUTORY RAPE? — As the Kansas Supreme Court holds hearings 8Sept on whether Kansas officials can obtain medical records from two state abortion facilities, a national women's group says it worries the abortion businesses are covering up cases of statutory rape. Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline is battling two abortion facilities over obtaining medical records about late-term abortions and girls under the age of 15 who had abortions there. The abortion businesses are resisting the effort to obtain the documents and have taken their case to Kansas' top court. Concerned Women for America says it backs Kline and says the abortion centers "should rightly be seen for how they are acting – as accomplices." Planned Parenthood, which operates one of the abortion centers, says the documents shouldn't be released because it needs to protect patient privacy. An official there said Kline should "investigate us, not our patients." Wendy Wright, CWA's executive vice president, agrees in some respects. "For once we agree with Planned Parenthood: Attorney General Phill Kline should investigate it and late-term abortionist George Tiller thoroughly," Wright said. "Their actions – before and during this investigation – put them squarely on the side of cooperating with suspected child rapists and not the law." [LifeNews.com, 9Sep05]
CHINESE POLICE SEIZE ACTIVIST VS. POPULATION CONTROL – [6Sept05] Chen Guangcheng, 34, a blind peasant, who has been leading a high-profile le
gal campaign against the use of forced sterilization and abortion in China, apparently trying to prevent him from speaking about abuses in his town with senior gov’t officials who had expressed support for his cause. Chen has been preparing a class-action lawsuit challenging population-control abuses in the eastern Chinese city of Linyi, occurred a few days after he arrived in Beijing for meetings with lawyers and journalists and just as the Chinese gov’t opened an int’l legal conference here. Plainclothes officers grabbed Chen. The men did not identify themselves, witnesses said, and Chen resisted, shouting for help as they dragged him across a parking lot and stuffed him into an unmarked car with tinted windows. A small crowd upset by the rough treatment of the blind man surrounded the vehicle, preventing it from driving away [Washington Post correspondent] Chen could be heard screaming and appeared to be in pain. Residents called Beijing police, and two officers who responded consulted with the men, then cleared a way for the car to leave. Then the officers told the crowd the men were police from China's eastern Shandong province, where Linyi is located. Tu Bisheng, a friend who was with Chen at the time, said local officials from Linyi were also present. "We feel this is extremely inappropriate," said Li Heping, one of the lawyers working with Chen. He said the Linyi officials appeared to be "taking revenge on him for trying to protect the rights of local citizens and exercising his right to criticize the government." Chen was seized just hours after meeting with a reporter for Time magazine, Tu said. During the past few days, he also met with The Washington Post, diplomats from the U.S. Embassy and several lawyers in Beijing who have volunteered to help him sue officials in Linyi, a city of 10 million located about 400 miles southeast of Beijing. In March, residents say, the Linyi government required parents with 2 children to be sterilized and forcing women pregnant with a third child to have abortions. Officials have also been detaining family members of those who flee, beating them and holding them hostage until their relatives return and submit to the operations. Chen's attempt to organize a class-action lawsuit against Linyi — a milestone in a nation where the one-child policy has long been considered off-limits to public debate — was the subject of a report in The Washington Post on Aug. 27. At the time, officials in Beijing said the practices described by Linyi residents were illegal and voiced support for the lawsuit. The article prompted the National Population and Family Planning Commission, the cabinet-level ministry that manages population growth in China, to send a team of officials to investigate the allegations in Linyi. The team tried to meet with Chen, but he had already traveled to Beijing. In an interview before his arrest, Chen said he was thinking about going to see the commission but had not scheduled an appointment because he was worried about being arrested. Reached by phone, a commission official said the ministry was unaware of Chen's detention and could not immediately comment on it. But the official said the ministry's top leaders were trying to contact Shandong authorities to determine what happened to him. The official also said the ministry had made a priority of the Linyi case and would severely punish any family planning officials who violated the law. Provincial authorities wield tremendous power in China's one-party political system and often disobey ministries in the central government. But the Shandong officials' decision to seize Chen represents an unusually public act of defiance and could embarrass the ruling Communist Party at a time it has been trying persuade the world that it has abandoned the use of coercive methods to limit population growth. Local officials across China began using forced abortions and compulsory sterilization to enforce the one-child policy in the early 1980s, but the central government since the mid-1990s has tried to eliminate such practices and move toward a more flexible system of economic rewards and fines to slow population growth. Jerome Cohen, a specialist on Chinese law at New York University who is teaching in Beijing this fall, said he met with Chen on Monday night and discussed the risks of the lawsuit. Chen was determined to press ahead, he said. "This seems to be a case of local officials who have blatantly abused their legal powers, and have no legitimate defense against the case he brought against them, resorting to extralegal methods to cut off his ability to pursue justice," Cohen said. "It's very, very sad, and another example of how rough the legal situation is in rural areas." [Philip P. Pan, The Washington Post, Beihing, 7Sept05; www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2005/09/07/news/world/f2c82f0cd94b0a318725707400811686.txt]
AL ABORTION DATA FOR 2004 – Residents Total 10,144 (10,130 in 2003 – increase); under Age 18 – 723; All Abortions Occurring in AL 11,370 (10,979 in 2003 — increase; 12,249-2002;13,382-2001); under Age 18 – 807[consent was required for 787 girls; 15 by Court Order (13 court orders in 2003)]. Total Occurring: White 5,215; Black 5,858, Other 209; under Age 18: White 373, Black 423. Girls 10-14, 113; aged 15-19, 1,994; aged 20-24, 4,072; aged 25-29, 2,570…Married, 1,555; Not Married 9,681 (not stated 134); under age 18 – married 4; not married 799. Most abortions occur by week 8 (8072). At least 197 AL abortions were performed at/beyond 20 weeks gestation in 2004 (weeks not stated for 34 other abortions). [adph.org]
OH PARENTAL CONSENT ON ABORTION LAW CONSTITUTIONAL — a federal court has ruled. The OH law requires abortion businesses to obtain consent of a parent before performing an abortion on a minor girl. The ACLU filed the lawsuit for Cincinnati Women's Services abortion site in 1998 before the law had a chance to take effect. The law has been put on hold for 7 years of litigation after abortion centers took it to court following approval by the state legislature.
Judge Sandra Beckwith wrote the opinion for the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, saying the abortion advocates "[do] not demonstrate that H.B. 421 imposes undue burdens on the abortion right even when viewed in a highly deferential manner."
The undue burden standard is a normal process used by federal courts to determine if abortion laws are constitutional and it has become a common plea by abortion businesses for overturning abortion regulations.
Beckwith asked the U.S. for a clearer standard of what constitutes an undue burden on the so-called right to abortion. "The need for more clarity is acute because … legislatures will continue to legislate in this area, pro-choice advocates will continue to challenge such legislation, and the federal courts will continue to be caught in the middle," Beckwith wrote.
The law also requires abortion practitioners to provide women contemplating an abortion with infor
mation about its risks and alternatives 24 hours prior to performing one. Similar laws in other states have helped thousands of women avoid dangerous abortions and choose an alternative. [LifeNews.com, 9Sep05]