GENEVA, Switzerland (LifeSiteNews) – The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has criticized the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, claiming that abortion restrictions cost lives.
The AP reported on Wednesday that Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “restricting (abortion) drives women and girls toward unsafe abortions resulting in complications, even death,” but the WHO director-general failed to substantiate his claims with any of the “irrefutable” evidence he insisted exists.
Statistics from developed countries other than the U.S., like Ireland, where abortion was banned until mid-2013, and Poland, where it remains tightly restricted, would suggest the WHO chief erred in his claims.
Outlawed in Ireland for over a century, there are no cases in which a woman died while obtaining an illegal abortion, and no reports of such deaths in Poland either.
Ireland, furthermore, had remarkably low rates of maternal mortality before its parliament legalized limited abortion in July 2013, with over one thousand medical professionals declaring that no correlation exists between optimal standards of obstetrics and legal abortion.
Indeed, figures from The Lancet indicate that the U.K., where abortion remains legal, had twice as many maternal deaths (6.6 per 100,000 live births) compared to Ireland (3.3) in 2013, while the U.S. with legal abortion had over five times more (18.5) maternal deaths than Ireland.
“resulting in complications, even death”
Am I missing something here, does an abortion not always involve at least one death?
— KB (@halftwottered) June 25, 2022
Tedros nonetheless described last week’s reversal of Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, which is expected to save thousands of American babies from abortion every year, as a “setback.”
“The evidence is irrefutable,” Tedros claimed. “Restricting (abortion) drives women and girls toward unsafe abortions resulting in complications, even death.”
“We hadn’t really expected this from the U.S.,” Tedros said, insisting the Supreme Court’s decision was a move “backwards.”
The Ethiopian also expressed concern about how the pro-life decision might impact laws in other countries.
“The global impact is also a concern,” he said. “This is about the life of mother … if safe abortion is illegal, then women will definitely resort to unsafe ways of doing it. And that means it could cost them their lives.”
WHO chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan also claimed that denying someone an abortion was “like denying someone a life-saving drug.”
“What these bans do … is it drives women into the hands of people who are there to exploit the situation, performing unsafe abortion and very often resulting in a huge amount of damage to their health and sometimes death,” Swaminathan said.
“It’s unfortunate to see some countries going backward,” Swaminathan added.
Tedros had told Reuters on June 24, the day of the Dobbs ruling, that he was “very disappointed” with the decision.
“I am very disappointed, because women’s rights must be protected. And I would have expected America to protect such rights,” he said at a Commonwealth meeting in Rwanda.
Pro-life laws have long made the moral distinction between killing unborn babies and necessary medical interventions to save the life of the mother which may unintentionally cause the unborn baby’s demise.
Based on data from Mexico, it showed precisely the opposite: higher maternal mortality rates were seen in Mexican states that had relaxed their abortion laws, while lower maternal mortality rates were seen in states where laws restricting abortion were in place.