Featured Image
 JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images

(Live Action) — A new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that a simple change in how death certificates were filled out could have led to an overestimation of the U.S. maternal mortality rate.

In 2003, a box was added to death certificates asking if the deceased was pregnant at or near the time of death; this led to a supposed 143 percent increase in maternal mortality deaths since 1999. But researchers reviewed the data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), and found that maternal mortality deaths, in actuality, remained relatively stable, with just a 2 percent increase within that time period.

READ: The world is facing a major population crisis by 2075 if birth rates keep declining

“There has been a lot of alarm and apprehension surrounding the fact that some of these reports show a threefold increase in maternal mortality, and that is not what we found. We found low and stable rates,” K.S. Joseph, the study’s lead author and professor in the departments of obstetrics and gynecology and the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, told the Washington Post.

Direct deaths from pregnancy – like pre-eclampsia or hemorrhage – declined, though indirect deaths from pregnancy – such as a woman with pre-existing conditions exacerbated by pregnancy – increased. And black women were still found to have disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality.

Maternal mortality is frequently used as an excuse to expand legal abortion; states like Texas have been accused of experiencing spikes in maternal mortality rates due to defunding Planned Parenthood. Pro-life states have even been alleged to have higher maternal mortality rates than pro-abortion states. This claim has been thoroughly debunked – including by the Washington Post.

Abortion is frequently suggested as a solution for lowering maternal mortality rates, though this idea is also false. Across the globe, statistics have shown that legal abortion does not lower the maternal mortality rate. In Ethiopia, for example, abortion was legalized specifically with the goal of lowering maternal mortality rates (MMR); instead, they increased after abortion’s legalization. A 10-year study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ Open found that in Mexico, “states with less permissive abortion legislation exhibited lower MMR” than those where abortion was allowed.

READ: Congressmen urge Supreme Court to protect women and children from dangers of abortion pill

Maternal mortality is still a serious issue, especially for black women, and it’s vital that doctors and politicians continue working to decrease pregnancy-related deaths. But intentionally killing preborn children is not the answer – nor should women be scared into abortion with outdated, inaccurate statistics about pregnancy risks.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action.