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Friday, April 23, 2010

Groups pressure Lancet editor to delay publication of maternal mortality research

Lancet, a leading medical journal, has just published a new study of international maternal mortality rates, which finds that the World Bank, the WHO and UNICEF statistics for maternal mortality were over 100,000 too high due to reporting and methodological problems.

But in a corrupt and brazen, and thankfully, unsuccessful, attempt to subordinate science to politics, ‘advocacy groups’ lobbied the editor of Lancet, Dr Richard Horton to delay the publication of the new study until after upcoming meetings of the UN Commission on Population and Development, the Women Deliver Conference and the next UN Assembly, which are scheduled to discuss maternal mortality.

What’s bugging these ‘advocates’? Dr Donna Harrison, President of the American Academy of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said of the new Lancet article:

"The study uses the best statistical methods currently available and clearly demonstrates that worldwide legalization of abortion is unnecessary to bring about significant decreases in maternal mortality. The American Academy of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynaecologists encourages the UN member nations to continue to develop even better statistical information by improving the identification of maternal mortality causality, especially induced abortion related mortality, which is most often underreported or misreported".

Where the UN bodies have been pushing for ‘safe’ and ‘legal’ abortion as the key to bringing improving maternal mortality rates, the new Lancet article does not. It found key causal factors improving maternal mortality – falling pregnancy rates in some countries, higher per capita income, higher education rates for women, and increasing availability of basic medical care, and in particular, ‘skilled birth attendants’.

You can read more about the new research in the New York Times here

You can access the Lancet article here

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