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(LifeSiteNews) — A new study which purports to find a connection between pro-life states and maternal mortality contains a number of flaws, according to pro-life experts. 

Compared to states where abortion is accessible, states that have banned, are planning to ban, or have otherwise restricted abortion have fewer maternity care providers; more maternity care ‘deserts,’” the Commonwealth Fund study claims.  

Researchers also reported “higher rates of maternal mortality and infant death, especially among women of color; higher overall death rates for women of reproductive age; and greater racial inequities across their health care systems.” 

The study relied on a rating from the Planned Parenthood-connected Guttmacher Institute to determine abortion accessibility for 2018-2020. These are just two of the “significant methodological shortcomings” in the study, according to Catholic University of America professor Michael New, a researcher with the Charlotte Lozier Institute. “Overall this study fails to provide any meaningful evidence that protective pro-life laws lead to worse public health outcomes,” New told LifeSiteNews. 

“First, the public health data analyzed in this study comes from 2018, 2019, and 2020,” New wrote in his emailed comments. “During this time, abortion was legal in all 50 states and each state had at least one abortion facility. As such, the state level disparities in the availability of abortion are far less than the authors indicate.” 

New said that Guttmacher Institute’s analysis is a “flawed measured” because while it “captures the number of pro-life policies a state has in place…it does not look at abortion rates, the number of abortion facilities, or other factors that measure the availability  of abortion.” 

READ: Pro-life experts skewer study that denied post-abortion depression

The study also “fails to control for important confounding variables — like per capita income or poverty rates,” instead relying just on Guttmacher’s determination, New commented. 

He said further: 

Indeed, the main reason why the pro-life states fare worse on some public heath metrics is that many of these pro-life states are southern states which tend to have lower per capita incomes and higher poverty rates. Research shows that high incomes are linked with better public health.  As such, this study shows a correlation between income and public health outcomes. It fails to make a convincing argument that the presence of pro-life laws is responsible for either high maternal death rates or high infant death rates. 

“Overall, a substantial body of international data shows that pro-life laws are consistent with strong maternal health outcomes,” New concluded. “Poland which has among the strongest protective pro-life laws in Europe also has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in Europe.” 

“Prior to legalizing abortion in 2018 Ireland had lower rates of maternal deaths, low weight births, and breast cancer than England and Wales, and Scotland,” he wrote. “Similarly, academic research using data from Chile shows that maternal mortality rates continued to fall after protections for preborn children were enacted in 1989.” 

“Furthermore, peer reviewed studies have shows that states with pro-life parental involvement laws reduce teen suicide rates and teen STI rates,” New wrote. “Indeed, pro-lifers should not be distracted by this study. Good research shows that pro-life laws can protect both mother and child.” 

Students for Life Action’s policy strategist reached similar conclusions. 

The United States has no national reporting law, making any comparison of health outcomes of pregnancy compared to outcomes of abortion literally impossible to make,” Kristi Hamrick told LifeSiteNews via email. “This goes beyond an apples to oranges comparison; it’s an apples to unicorns comparison, as unicorns don’t exist and neither does the data pool that they lean so heavily on.” 

“Health status outcomes has a lot of components,” Hamrick noted. “For example, complications from pre-term birth greatly impacts ‘infant health,’ and a mother’s previous abortion is a factor in the incidence of ‘preterm birth.’ 

“This report does not evaluate how abortion has contributed to problems, nor does it have as it’s takeaway that we need more services,” Hamrick stated, based on her analysis. 

“Even assuming that their conclusions are correct — and I doubt it — their answer is get rid of children rather than increase services,” Hamrick wrote. “If your ‘healthcare’ kills people on purpose, you’re doing it wrong.” 

“By using the Planned Parenthood-founded abortion advocate the Guttmacher Institute as a baseline for success and failure for children, no one can be surprised when the so-called researchers insist more babies must die in deliberate abortions,” Hamrick wrote. 

LifeSiteNews contacted Eugene Declerq, one of the researchers on this project and a professor at Boston University, and asked for comment Wednesday morning.  

He did not respond to questions about his proposed solutions, what the term “birthing people” he used in his paper meant, and why the study looked states “planning to ban” abortions, if the goal was to determine the relationship between current laws and health outcomes. 

READ: Ethiopia legalized abortion and maternal deaths went up, Oxford doctor says