The abortion lobby is out there with a new claim: restrictions on abortions kill women. The claim is based on a study from the Commonwealth Fund, a pro-abortion group, that purportedly found, “Maternal death rates in 2020 were 62% higher in states that ban or restrict abortion than in states where the procedure is still accessible.” The study was widely publicized and led to headlines like Dobbs decision is “devastating” U.S. maternal health.
It’s all a crock. In the first place, the study looked at public health data from 2018 to 2020, long before the Dobbs decision. So any claim the study shows Dobbs, which was decided in 2022, has killed women is complete nonsense.
Second, this is a classic case of the intervening variable. The claim is made that A causes C but, in reality, A is associated with B and it’s B that is causing C. Let me put it to you this way: Ice cream cones cause death. That’s ridiculous, right? But eating ice cream is associated with hot weather which can lead to death. The Commonwealth Fund study creates the misimpression that abortion restrictions cause death. But abortion restrictions are more common in southern states which, due to lower income and education levels, have worse maternal health outcomes overall. It’s the lower income and education levels that are the problem, not restrictions on abortion.
This is borne out by data from around the world which shows some countries that are the most restrictive on abortion have some of the lowest maternal mortality rates. This is true in Poland and Chile, and was also true in Ireland before abortion was legalized in 2018. This fits with the fact that over a thousand OB-GYNs and other maternal health experts signed a declaration in 2019 that abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother. Any supposed link between restrictions on abortion and high maternal mortality is further debunked by data showing twice as many women die in the two years after an abortion than after a live birth, with complications from abortion like sepsis and hemorrhaging contributing to the result.
The nail in the coffin, though, is the fact that the U.S. does not have complete maternal mortality statistics. Data collection is inconsistent and problematic, as the Washington Post has reported. As a result, there is no official annual count of pregnancy-related fatalities, and no official maternal mortality rate. Thus, anyone making claims about abortion restrictions and maternal mortality is just pulling numbers out of the air. This is not surprising. It’s happened many times before. Former CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg described in his books how pressure groups cook up phony numbers, feed them to the press, then sit back and watch as their willing accomplices in the media spread the lies everywhere. So here we have a pro-abortion group, the Commonwealth Fund, feeding incomplete data to their friends in the press which has publicized the incomplete numbers widely, no questions asked.
Finally, there’s a disconnect between the claim abortion restrictions kill women and the ‘ask’. You’d think the ‘ask’ would be to get rid of restrictions on abortion. But that’s not what they’re asking for. It’s a bait-and-switch. They’re asking for increased social spending on Medicaid and other government programs to address maternal health overall. The White House wants almost half a billion dollars extra to spend on maternal health. The true agenda is to grow the government and create full employment for leftists. They’ll ride any horse – including scaring people about abortion restrictions – to get there. The Commonwealth Fund has been lobbying for increased government health spending for a long time and, if truth be told, what it really wants is an all-encompassing government-run single-payer healthcare regime. But it will need more than a pack of lies about restrictions on abortion and maternal health outcomes to justify it.
©Christopher Wright. All rights reserved.
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