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UN event hears that abortion not medically necessary and can harm women

Dr Eoghan de Faoite joined maternal health experts at a United Nations event in New York last Wednesday to offer evidence that abortion is not medically necessary to promote women’s health and can actually harm women instead.

The packed event also heard from Obstetricians Dr. Donna Harrison and Dr. Monique Chireau, from renowned researcher, Dr Elard Koch and others. The meeting, "Public Policies to reduce maternal mortality, a holistic focus on maternal health", took place in parallel to the 57th Session of the Commission of Women Status of the United Nations, and heard evidence that abortion is not necessary to save the mother’s life in any circumstance, and that abortion can be an act of violence against women.

Indiscriminate practice of abortion is significantly correlated with coercion, a history of sexual abuse, violence during pregnancy, intimate partner violence, and with psychological consequences that may lead to suicide.

HD_Culture of Life - Mother and baby

A morning briefing drew more than 100 delegates and NGO representatives. The conference room was so crowded so that attendees had to sit on the windowsills, tables, and the floor to listen to the presentations.

Dr. Monique Chireau of Duke University explained that managing high-risk pregnancy does not involve a conflict between the needs of the mother and the child, but rather it comes down to understanding the particular circumstances of that pregnancy and dealing with it in a scientific and rational way. She emphasized that doctors must first uphold the mantra: "Do No Harm".

Dr. Donna Harrison, an experienced OB/GYN and a researcher at the MELISA Institute, said that "Real medical care decreases maternal mortality; abortion does not decrease maternal mortality," and explained how the complications from medical abortion increase fatalities in developing nations. These complications, which may be managed in nations with developed health care systems, become fatalities in regions which lack emergency resources.

Abortion advocates promoting chemical abortions around the world do so at the cost of women’s lives, not to mention their babies, she added.

The doctors challenged assumptions that the expansion of healthcare and women’s rights demands the expansion of abortion. They stressed that pregnancies – even those considered to be high-risk – do not necessitate conflict between the needs of the mother and those of the child. Instead, they explained, innovative solutions treating the whole person and the whole of society lead to increased health for all involved.

Dr. Eoghan de Faoite, board member for the Committee on Excellence in Maternal Healthcare, criticized the international attacks on Ireland’s ban on abortion. CNA reported that he noted that the country has one of the lowest rates of maternal death in the developed world and has not experienced the “rise in mortality” seen in other Western countries that have legalized abortion.

His presentation also cited studies that found no data to suggest that abortion lowers maternal mortality and reminded the audience that Ireland is consistently considered by the UN and WHO as one of the safest places in the world for pregnant mothers, without recourse to abortion. He also shared the conclusions of a major international symposium of maternal health experts, who recognized that abortion is not medically necessary in any circumstance in a groundbreaking agreement known as the Dublin Declaration.

Leading Chilean researcher Dr. Elard Koch shared his peer-reviewed scientific analysis using 50 years of maternal mortality data from Chile, which discovered that making abortion illegal in Chile did not result in an increase in maternal mortality and actually improved maternal health. In reality, the most important factor in reducing maternal mortality was the educational level of women.

He also noted that another of his peer-reviewed studies demonstrated that the Guttmacher Institute systemically inflates their estimates of clandestine abortion in Latin American nations because of flawed methodology.

After the morning briefings, the speakers participated in a major press conference and evening reception with about 60 delegates from international missions to the United Nations and NGO representatives. The educational opportunity was not missed by the doctors, who spoke with many delegates negotiating on maternal mortality at the UN Commission on the Status of Women this week.

Personhood Education, a co-sponsor of the event, said it was wonderful to see representatives of pro-life countries like Ireland and Chile taking the lead internationally by showing that pregnant women and their babies can receive high-quality healthcare without resorting to abortion.

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