Bishops' spokeswoman criticizes new study calling for global promotion of abortion

WASHINGTON (October 12, 2007)—Deirdre A. McQuade, an official of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), criticized a study by researchers from the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization published in the October 13, 2007 issue of The Lancet, calling for the global legalization and promotion of abortion, “Induced Abortion: Estimated Rates and Trends Worldwide.”

“Some say the new Guttmacher study shows that legalizing abortions makes them ‘safe;’ but the study's methodology is flawed. The authors start out by simply defining ‘safe’ abortions as ‘those that meet legal requirements' in countries with permissive laws,” said Ms. McQuade. “But by this unusual definition, legal abortions are 'safe' even if they kill women as well as their unborn children. The authors then say that illegal abortions are ‘harmful’ – even when women experience no medical complications – because women have to violate the law. This is a closed semantic circle into which no fact about real-life women can intrude.”

“An accompanying Lancet editorial says the worldwide abortion situation has been worsened by the United States’ Mexico City policy. But the study says that total worldwide abortions substantially decreased from 1995 (when the policy was not in effect) to 2003 (after it was reinstated),” McQuade continued.

“Lost in the authors’ ideological fog is the fact that abortion always kills; legal or illegal, it sometimes also kills women, especially when they are poor and have a terrible health care system. Promoting more abortions will not change this. Rather than pitting women and their children against each other, we need to stand in solidarity with both and focus on improving the quality of global health care,” McQuade said.

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