Just came across a link (via something a friend "Liked" on Facebook) associated with an "initiative" by Pro-Life Campaign which claims that "Ireland without abortion is the safest country in the world for pregnant women." (http://www.prolifecampaign.ie/pages.php?id=167
I was intrigued by this claim, first because it is apparently supported by the WHO, which I find surprising. I'm also not entirely sure what is meant by it - the wording seems awkward to me. Perhaps Ireland without abortion is safe for pregnant
women, but is a country without abortion not incredibly unsafe for women
I tried doing a search myself, but finding any article that was not biased in favour of PLC was nearly impossible; I found one article on the IFPA website that mentions the campaign while discussing the issue that women are being "grossly misled" about the health risks of abortion, but still no specific mention or reference to what the WHO have to do with this claim. (http://www.ifpa.ie/eng/Media-Info/News- ... tion-risks
It's not a very recent story, it's circa January this year, but I was wondering if anyone else was aware of the campaign and what the WHO's supposed link is with it?
(*Sorry if this forum is the wrong place for this topic; I didn't think it held particular relevance to any of the other discussion sub-forums, and but that it was closely enough associated with "philosophy" to post it here rather than in the Off-Topic forum).
This is another one of those typically dishonest campaigns which proves again that correlation is not causation. There are a number of problems with the campaign's claim that Ireland is the safest country in the world for pregnant women.
The first thing is to identiy the measurement used to determine safety. The WHO monitor a metric known as the Maternal Mortality Ration (MMR) which is defined as the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. The WHO use this as a measure of the quality of the health system of a country. The countries at the top of the list, Ireland, Europe, USA etc. tend to have good quality healthcare systems and an MMR of less than 20. On the other end of the scale is developing countries like Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Rwanda.
The first problem with the campaign's claim is that it is flat out wrong, or at least out-of-date. The idea that Ireland has the lowest MMR is taken from the 2000 WHO figures where Ireland has an MMR of 0. The thing is though that the most recent figures show Ireland to have an MMR of 5 in line with other European countries while Iceland, a country where abortion is completely legal scores 0.
The next problem comes from a comparison of the MMR scores of various countries and their abortion laws. Ireland has a low MMR and abortion is illegal but so too do the rest of Europe where there are varying laws on abortion. At the other end of the scale, Afghanistan which has a reasonably similar stance on abortion to Ireland also has one of the highest MMR.
The biggest problem with the use of the WHO statistics of course is that the WHO themselves have already analysed the causal factors of the MMR. The factors which cause high MMR rates include severe bleeding, eclampsia, infection and other causes both direct and indirect. They do highlight unsafe abortion as a causal factor but only in 13% of cases.
The campaign is the same kind of bullshit that I've come to expect from a lot of pro-life groups. I have even submitted a complaint to ASAI about their billboards but since they are intended to sway opinion lying to people is ok. Their website contains no links to primary sources and no original research to back up their claims. It's just the usual appeals to emotion and appeals to consequences of a belief fallacies that you get from these people.