Numbers, numbers

Guardian headline:

Unsafe abortions kill 70,000 a year

And in the article:

There were 41.6m terminations worldwide in 2003

The facts we might take away from this being that unsafe abortions kill 70,000 a year and safe abortions kill 41,600,000 a year.

Update: thinking a little more about this. The unsafe abortions will of course have killed 140,000, the safe 41,600,000.

Thus, if our desire is \”not death\” then we should prefer unsafe abortions to safe ones. For there\’s a great deal more \”not death\” about them.

8 thoughts on “Numbers, numbers”

  1. That would be “at least” 140,000. Otherwise you are assuming a 1-1 relation between mother and foetus.

    The multiple birth rate is 3.32% of which 0.32% are triplets, and presumably a far smaller percentage quadruplets. So a closer approximation would be 142,500.

    Just to be pedantic.

  2. So that’s a maternal death rate of 1:600 for abortions worldwide. What’s the maternal death rate for confinements taken to term globally?

    My interest stems from the fact that back in 1963 when the Royal Soc. of Obs. & Gyn did a survey, the maternal death rate for abortions – illegal, ‘back-street’, abortions – was lower than that for mothers who took their babies to term.

    So the thesis put about that we needed to legalise abortion to save mother’s lives from the horrors of back-street abortionists – in actual fact moonlighting doctors and midwives – was actually a fiction.

  3. “No, no, no, no, Timothy. The 41.6m aren’t people, you see?”

    That’s right, they probably aren’t. At some point they are just a bunch of cells, and at some later point they are self-aware thinking people (some well-known lefties excepted, of curse). Where is the point at which they become people? When “God breathes life into them” at conception?

  4. Even if you’re insane/Catholic enough to believe that the outcome of a successful abortion is to kill a person, the logic above is still bollocks: the study found that half of all abortions worldwide were unsafe (ie back-street), so total deaths are pretty much equal across ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ abortions.

    @Recusant – how does that make any difference at all? The sane comparison is “how likely to die under illegal abortion” versus “how likely to die under legal abortion” – the death rate from something which wasn’t going to happen in either case is no more relevant than entering a discussion about rail versus plane safety with hang-glider death rates.

    (in any case, it’s likely that well-connected women from middle-class families would have had safe-but-illegal terminations from moonlighting doctors with no higher death rates than legal terminations, whilst young girls would have had the backstreet works with much more likelihood of injury and death).

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