By Hilary White

ROME, October 14, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Allan Guttmacher Institute, a body of the abortion industry giant International Planned Parenthood Federation, has issued a report claiming that "unsafe" abortions are claiming the lives of 70,000 women around the world every year, a number that pro-life advocates have said is flatly false.

According to the abortion industry lobbyists, abortion is made "unsafe" when it is illegal. Institute president Sharon Camp said it is "significant and tragic that while the overall rate of abortion is on the decline, unsafe abortion has not declined." The authors complain that 40 per cent of women "still live in countries where access to abortion is strongly restricted."

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has blasted the report, saying that it amounts to little more than a propaganda tool of the abortion industry. Anthony Ozimic, spokesman for SPUC and an expert in bioethics said that the report is from a body that was "set up to promote abortion and contraception."

Guttmacher, being an organ of the abortion lobby as the research arm of International Planned Parenthood Federation, has a "track record of falsifying figures regarding these issues," he said.

"Guttmacher's figures are based on highly spurious guesstimates, which even the report itself is forced to admit. The pro-abortion lobby has a proven track record of exaggerating illegal abortions numbers."

Ozimic pointed out that "abortion numbers in Britain today are many times higher than before the 1967 Abortion Act, despite ever-increasing access to birth control drugs and devices. We will be issuing a detailed response to the report."

At a press conference for the ongoing African bishops' Synod at the Vatican today, the Italian news service ANSA asked the cardinals present for a response to the report, insinuating that Catholic opposition to legalisation of abortion has contributed to maternal mortality rates.

Wilfrid Fox Napier, Cardinal Archbishop of Durban, South Africa, responded that when he heard of the claim, "I said to myself, what is abortion? Is it not the ending of a life? What about those which are 'safe' abortions? Do they not end a life?"

"I think this is one of the areas where we find great difficulty in Africa in understanding the Western culture which tells us the right to life is the supreme right, and yet then it introduces all kinds of exceptions which deny that very right to those who are the most defenceless and most in need of protection."

Ozimic made a similar point succinctly in an interview with LSN, saying that if he had been asked the question by the ANSA reporter, he would have reminded her that, "abortion kills an innocent human being." Pointing to the report's own claims that at least 40 million children are being killed each year by abortion, he said, "You have to place that next to those 70,000 maternal deaths."

The answer, he said, to maternal morbidity and mortality is to improve maternal health care. "In African countries," Ozimic said, "abortion rates have fallen due to increased rates of medical care to mothers."