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A report based on new research from Chile demonstrates that legal abortions are not any safer than illegal abortions. Researchers at the MELISA Institute have analyzed data which shows “that not only abortion-related mortality continued its decreasing trend in Chile after its prohibition by law in 1989, but also hospital discharges due to abortion have significantly decreased during the last decade.”

The scientific study, conducted by Doctor Elard Koch, epidemiologist and Director of Research at the MELISA Institute, states that the Chilean experience supports what is to many the paradox that “even under a less permissive abortion legislation, maternal health indicators can be significantly improved by other factors, including a noteworthy reduction in mortality and morbidity associated to abortion.”

An ongoing study by the institute also suggests that pregnant women who feel coerced and fearful (accounting for 70% of over 3,000 in the study who have an unplanned pregnancy) are at a higher risk of terminating the pre-born child. To prevent abortion, the data suggests the development and promotion of maternal support programs to address vulnerable women’s needs, resulting in 69-94% giving birth to their babies at full term.

Chile is a model of successful, advanced maternal health care. Compared to the United States, which kills on average almost 3,000 pre-born babies per day through legalized abortion, Chilean numbers estimate between 13,000 to 18,000 illegal abortions, or 49 pre-born babies per day, are conducted every year, with most self-administered using misoprostol.

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Koch’s findings point to maternal health policy interventions in Chile — such as better prenatal care and education, diet and training for birth attendants — that reduce the mortality and morbidity of women who undergo abortion. With an exemplary “death risk of 1 [out of every] 4 million women of fertile age,” the data supports health-directed policies which exclude abortion services saves lives.

“As this new research reveals, Chile and other countries that choose life-affirming maternal health interventions over legalized abortion build a Culture of Life, as babies and women both receive the best care possible,” said Father Shenan J. Boquet, HLI president. “These findings show that countries with bans on abortion can be far more successful in promoting maternal health, recognizing that abortion is the destruction of a developing human being and does nothing to improve the health of the mother.”

Reprinted with permission from Human Life International.

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