The Elliot Institute News

From the Leader in Post-Abortion Research




Vol. 11, No. 9 -- November 30, 2012


Special Report: Invisible Deaths


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CDC Reports of Abortion Deaths Double
Research Shows Many Deaths Go Uncounted

A recent report on abortion released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) noted that, "In 2008, the most recent year for which data were available, 12 women were reported to have died as a result of complications from known legal induced abortions." The number of reported abortion-related deaths doubled from the year before, when six deaths were reported.

The real number of deaths is, without a doubt, much higher. Researchers looking at death records for women in the years following pregnancy in the U.S., Finland and, most recently, Denmark found higher rates of death among women who had abortions compared to women who gave birth. And researchers and others have repeatedly reported serious problems with how maternal abortion deaths are counted in the U.S.

Indeed, in response to a letter questioning the appropriateness of comparing maternal mortality statistics for childbirth with the CDC's reported mortality statistics for abortion, the director of the CDC wrote in July of 2004 that maternal mortality rates and abortion mortality rates "are conceptually different and are used by the CDC for different public health purposes."

The following round-up of articles discusses the miscounting of women's deaths from abortion.

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Why U.S. Maternal Mortality Statistics Are Meaningless

By David C. Reardon

On March 1, 1989, Erica Richardson, a 16-year-old Maryland resident, bled to death from a punctured uterus only hours after undergoing an abortion. During the next five months, two adult women, Gladys Estanislao and Debra Gray, also died from abortion complications. They too were residents of Maryland.

Shockingly, none of these three women was even granted that smallest of recognitions -- becoming a statistic. The official statistics issued by Maryland public health officials showed that there were no deaths from abortion in 1989. Indeed, Maryland only reported a single abortion-related death for the entire decade of 1980 to 1989.

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Abortionists Not Held Accountable for Mistakes

By Lenora M. Berning, M.D.

Abortion is one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures in the United States, yet it is the least regulated. It is the only elective surgical procedure that I know of in which the doctor performing the procedure is not responsible for follow-up care, nor does he or she take an active role in dealing with the complications. Not only this, but the very nature of abortion clinics, which practice in isolation from the rest of the medical community, keeps the abortion provider free from accountability for these complications.

Those who support abortion on demand will claim that the reported complication rate for abortions is low. They may be right. Not necessarily because there are few complications, but because the complications are underreported. They are underreported because there is no accurate process in place today to quantify the harmful repercussions of abortion. The abortion industry has successfully kept abortion and abortionists free from the type of review, regulation, and accountability that is an integral part of the rest of the medical profession. Let me give you some real life examples.

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"Invisible" Abortion Deaths

One of our past posts included the stories of five women in Maryland who died as a result of abortion, and whose deaths were never counted as abortion-related in any official statistics. Here’s a link to an article about another "invisible death" on the RealChoice blog -- that of 17-year-old Latachie Veal, who died in Texas on Nov. 2, 1991, as a result of abortion:

"Legend has it that the Centers for Disease Control keep track of abortion deaths. The case of Latachie Veal should lay that legend to rest."

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