To suggest that abortion is the cure for infant mortality is so bizarre that I had to read NOW President Terry O’Neill’s piece in the Huffington Post twice to make sure that’s what she actually wrote.
Here’s just a nugget of the nonsense:
We have a premature birth crisis in this country that can be directly linked to our failure to provide adequate contraception and abortion care.
Speaking like the most determined of population controllers, Ms. O’Neill posits that preventing contraception, and murdering in the womb those children who managed to get conceived anyway, is the best cure for premature birth.
I don’t know about you, but I grow weary of the discussion about “adequate contraception.” Even before Obamacare, were there places in America that were somehow bereft of over-the-counter and prescription contraceptives? Maybe in Alaska at its most remote but I’m not even sure about that. Let’s just assume that, for better or worse, everyone has access to contraception.
Ms. O’Neill then touches on the high teenage birth rates in rural America, and definitely this is a problem. But easy access to contraception is as much a contributing factor as is teenage boredom. Somewhere between the sexual revolution and now, we threw up our collective hands and said there’s no sense trying to teach teens abstinence. Instead, we taught them about birth control and everything from television and movies to Planned Parenthood’s Exclaim Campaign convinced teens that having sex was healthy and fun and the best way to make it through those awkward high school years.
But let’s move on to “abortion care,” which Ms. O’Neill says is vital in solving the infant mortality crisis. I suppose she’s thinking that if we kill babies in the womb, we don’t have to technically label them infants. If we call them fetuses, or use the term most popular in abortion clinics, the “products of conception,” we can cook the books on infant mortality.
Or, we could address the infant mortality crisis by taking a look, as the U.S. Congress did recently, at how we can improve a child’s first 1,000 days of life – from conception to the second birthday. As my colleague Marie Smith posted on her website for the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues (part of Gospel of Life ministries), a hearing in March before the House Global Health Subcommittee brought together experts on malnutrition who testified that providing adequate nutrition for a child’s first 1,000 days affects virtually every day that follows, and it looms large where both infant and maternal mortality are concerned.
In his opening statement, N.J. Rep. Chris Smith (full disclosure: he is Marie Smith’s husband) explained the critical need to focus on nutrition during this time period: “Children who do not receive adequate nutrition in utero are more likely to experience lifelong cognitive and physical deficiencies, such as stunting. UNICEF estimates that one in four children worldwide is stunted due to lack of adequate nutrition. Children who are chronically undernourished within the first two years of their lives also often have impaired immune systems that are incapable of protecting them against life-threatening ailments, such as pneumonia and malaria.
“Adults who were stunted as children face increased risk of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Mothers who were malnourished as girls are 40 percent are more likely to die during childbirth, experience debilitating complications like obstetric fistula, and deliver children who perish before reaching age five.”
Wouldn’t it be a kinder, more humane, more woman-friendly solution to try to improve infant mortality through better nutrition rather than more abortion?
Ms. O’Neill also points out the increase in maternal mortality in the U.S. and, again, wags that finger of blame in the direction of the pro-life movement. While it’s true that more women are dying in childbirth now than 20 years ago, the causes are varied and do not include lack of access to abortion.
According to Reuters: “World Health Organization (WHO) experts said the increase in the U.S. mortality rate may be a statistical blip. Or it might be due to increased risks from obesity, diabetes and older women giving birth.
Marleen Temmerman, the director of reproductive health and research at WHO, said more analysis was needed.
“It’s difficult to say how many deaths are really related to increasing age, but what we know is older age in pregnant women is contributing more to the risk for diabetes and more hypertension related problems,” she told a news conference.
WHO death-rates expert Colin Mathers said improved data collection could also affect the figures.”
The United States should certainly be doing better than it is in terms of infant and maternal mortality. But to suggest that abortion will improve either of these statistics is delusional. Abortion doesn’t solve problems. It creates them.
For an in-depth look at the way abortion exploits and harms women, read my book, Recall Abortion