Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bonkers and Abortion

There are a number of things that make me question my sanity, but one of the most annoying is the whole abortion debate. Here are a bunch of people spending large amounts of time, effort and money protesting things like “the Morning After Pill,” and the ability of women to get safe and legal abortions, while at the same time seeming to oppose the health and health care of women, and their children.

One argument that has been raised against RU-486 (also known as Mifepristone and Plan B) is that it is unsafe. One study in the journal Contraception[1] gives the odds of death due to the drug at 1.1 in 100,000. Now compare this with the numbers for pregnancy-related deaths between 1991 and 1997: between 10.3 and 12.9 in 100,000[2]. The chances of death from pregnancy are about 10 times higher, yet pregnancy is considered an acceptable risk.

What’s worse is what happens to children after birth. According to the report “Child Health USA 2003”[3], the USA ranks 26th in the list of industrialized nations with respect to infant mortality rate. This gives the USA a rate that is 1.7 times higher than France and over 2 times higher than Sweden. According to the same source, roughly 3 million children aged 1 to 18, were the victims of neglect or abuse during 2001, or 12.4 per 1,000. If you look at poverty rates, the same report mentioned above indicates 11 million children were living in poverty – roughly 15.8% of all children.

How many infants and mothers could have been saved if all the time, effort and money that went into opposing something like Plan B? How many children who were the subject of abuse and neglect could have been helped if all the people who picket Planned Parenthood clinics were to actually help them? Why don’t the political parties that oppose abortion and contraception support raising the minimum wage from the ridiculous level of $5.15/hour to something that would allow a single mother to support her children by working one full time job? How come the USA doesn’t have universal prenatal care?

Like I said, there are a number of things that make me wonder if I’ve gone off the deep end, but something like this takes the cake.

[1] Safety of mifepristone abortions in clinical use. Henderson JT, Hwang AC, Harper CC, Stewart FH. Contraception. 2005 Sep;72(3):175-8

Link: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0010782405001058

[2] Pregnancy-Related Mortality in the United States, 1991–1997 Cynthia J. Berg, MD, MPH, Jeani Chang, MPH, William M. Callaghan, MD, MPH and Sara J. Whitehead, MD, MPH Obstetrics & Gynecology 2003;101:289-296

Link: http://acogjnl.highwire.org/cgi/content/abstract/101/2/289

[3] Child Health USA 2003. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2003.

Link: http://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa03/index.htm

technorati: abortion

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