In an attempt to prove abortion safer than childbirth, Vox compares two data points from the Centers for Disease Control that the CDC itself has said are not comparable.
It’s understandable that pro-abortion advocates were eager to circulate a Vox video purporting to prove the safety of abortion last week. After all, yet another abortion clinic was making headlines for unsanitary conditions and harm to patients, drawing attention to the need for enforcing the health and safety laws abortion proponents bitterly fight. But the attempted defense of abortion Vox’s Liz Plank offered may actually be worse than her attempt at humor with a “Knock, knock. Who’s there? Abortion” joke.
Notably, before repeating the discredited myth that “abortion is safer than childbirth,” Plank admits a profound truth that abortion advocates generally avoid. By prefacing her arguments with the statement “if you only look at the safety of the mother,” she tacitly recognizes that abortion concerns the safety of two human beings. Abortion is always unsafe for the baby. (You know, that whole “crushing of body parts” that Plank displays annoyance over pro-lifers being “particularly vocal” about lately.)
After acknowledging that pregnant women are, in fact, mothers, Plank alleges “abortion is actually safer than childbirth” by comparing two data points from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that the CDC itself has said are not comparable. Maternal mortality and abortion mortality “measures are conceptually different and are used by CDC for different health purposes.” In other words, Plank peddles apples-to-oranges numbers as the basis of her claim.
Abortion Is Much Riskier Than Birth
Contrary to Plank’s attempt to soften abortion’s image by alleging that “most abortions don’t involve any form of cutting or surgery,” the vast majority of abortions are accomplished by invasive procedures that carry risks including, according to Planned Parenthood: “injury to the cervix or other organs.”
Other immediate physical risks from abortion procedures that even Planned Parenthood acknowledges include “allergic reaction, blood clots in the uterus, incomplete abortion — part of the pregnancy is left inside the uterus, failure to end the pregnancy, undetected ectopic pregnancy, very heavy bleeding.” These risks “increase the longer you are pregnant. They also increase if you have sedation or general anesthesia.”
Chemical abortions have a lengthy list of known complications, too. Some recent studies have even found higher incidences of immediate adverse events for chemical abortions than for surgical abortions.
Regardless of what type of abortion a mother undergoes—a 15-minute invasive procedure, a lengthier surgery, or multiple days of potent drugs—an abortion’s consequences are profound. The risks to her short- and long-term physical health are real and deserve serious attention.
Also, Abortion Data Is Unreliable
The problems with Plank’s defense of abortion run deeper than her euphemisms and faulty use of dissimilar CDC statistics, because U.S. abortion data is known to be incomplete and unreliable.
There is no federal abortion reporting requirement. Even the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute acknowledges that the current “patchwork of surveillance efforts” relies on “incomplete” reports from states and that California—estimated to account for 17 percent, or one out of every six abortions in the country—is one of three states that “do not report to the CDC at all.” Guttmacher uses voluntary reporting from abortionists, filtered through its own ideological lens, which fails to fill these gaping holes.
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