This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Analysis: Why it’s irrational to risk women’s lives for the sake of the unborn


Abortion is a much-discussed issue in developed countries, but not so in countries like the Dominican Republic

IN THE Dominican Republic last month, a pregnant teenager suffering from leukaemia had her chemotherapy delayed, because doctors feared the treatment could terminate her pregnancy, violating the nation’s strict anti-abortion law.

After consultations between doctors, lawyers, and the girl’s family, chemotherapy was started, but not before attention had again been focused on the rigidity of many developing countries’ abortion laws.

Abortion receives extensive coverage in developed countries, especially in the United States, where Republicans have used opposition to it to rally voters. But much less attention is given to the 86 per cent of all abortions that occur in the developing world. Although most countries in Africa and Latin America have laws prohibiting abortion in most circumstances, official bans do not prevent high abortion rates.

In Africa, there are 29 abortions per 1,000 women, and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America. The comparable figure for Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted in most circumstances, is 12. According to a recent report by the World Health Organisation, unsafe abortions lead to the death of 47,000 women a year, almost all of them in developing countries. Restricting access to legal abortion leads many poor women to seek abortion from unsafe providers. The legalisation of abortion on request in South Africa in 1998 saw abortion-related deaths drop by 91 per cent. And the development of the drugs misoprostol and mifepristone, which can be provided by pharmacists, makes relatively safe and inexpensive abortion possible in developing countries.
Read more

TAGGED: HARM, MEDICINE, POLITICS


RELATED CONTENT

Jumping Genes a Cause of Cancer?

Ruth Williams - TheScientist Comments

Double helix showing coplanar alignment of standard base pairs.

A Mathematical Challenge to Obesity

CLAUDIA DREIFUS - New York Times 15 Comments

Carson C. Chow deploys mathematics to solve the everyday problems of real life. As an investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, he tries to figure out why 1 in 3 Americans are obese.

Cocaine decreases activity of a protein...

- - MedicalXpress 27 Comments

Cocaine decreases activity of a protein necessary for normal functioning of the brain's reward system

Neurons Mirror the Diametric Mind

Christopher Badcock, Ph.D -... 3 Comments

Neurons Mirror the Diametric Mind

Schizophrenics amplify neuronal mirroring, autistics reduce it

How thinking about death can lead to a...

- - MedicalXpress 11 Comments

How thinking about death can lead to a good life
Thinking about death can actually be a good thing. An awareness of mortality can improve physical health and help us re-prioritize our goals and values, according to a new analysis of recent scientific studies. Even non-conscious thinking about death – say walking by a cemetery – could prompt positive changes and promote helping others.

Brain Controls Paralyzed Muscles

Ed Yong - TheScientist 11 Comments

A new system decodes brain signals from the motor cortex of monkeys and translates them into basic arm movements, despite temporary paralysis.

MORE

MORE BY PETER SINGER

Attempted rescue of pro-life poster...

Peter Singer - NY Daily News 107 Comments

If Priests for Life were really serious about saving lives, instead of "rescuing" Joseph so he can live another few months lying in bed, unable to experience the normal joys of childhood, let alone become an adult, they could have used the money they have raised to save 150 lives - most of them children who would have gone on to live healthy, happy lives for 50 years or more.

To defame religion is a human right

Peter Singer 255 Comments

MORE

Comments

Please Login to RDFRS to Comment

Sign in to RDF

blog comments powered by Disqus