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Claim of rise in illegal abortions globally is dubious, says leading pro life group SPUC

19 January 2012

Claim of rise in illegal abortions globally is dubious, says leading pro-life group SPUC London, 19 January 2012: A claim published today in The Lancet that so-called 'unsafe' - usually illegal - abortions worldwide have risen by 5% is "dubious", says the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) a leading UK-based pro-life group.

The claim was made in a report* by researchers from the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organsation (WHO).

The researchers and other commentators in The Lancet are using the figure to argue that so-called 'safe' abortion should be legalised worldwide.

John Smeaton, SPUC's director, commented: "The WHO routinely makes unsubstantiated claims about so-called 'unsafe' or illegal abortion. WHO is one of the world’s major pro-abortion bodies. The Guttmacher Institute is the research arm of the worldwide pro-abortion lobby. The report is pro-abortion propaganda, and should be dismissed as such. "

Promoters of legal abortion have a proven track-record of making wildly exaggerated claims about the number of so-called 'unsafe' or illegal abortions.

 Such false claims were made in 1967 to lobby for the UK's Abortion Act and in the 1970s to justify the US's Roe v Wade decision.

The late Dr Bernard Nathanson, the US abortion pioneer who became pro-life, admitted that he deliberately exaggerated the estimated number of illegal abortions five-fold when campaigning for abortion legalisation.

"The truth is that countries with strict laws against abortion have lower maternal death rates than countries which allow abortion widely. Ireland, where abortion is banned, has one of the world's best maternal health records. Legalised abortion does nothing to improve medical care", concluded Mr Smeaton.

John Smeaton, SPUC director, can be contacted on 07785 325808 or 020 7820 3128. SPUC's communications department can be contacted on 07939 177683 or 020 7820 3129. * "Induced abortion: incidence and trends worldwide from 1995 to 2008", The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 19 January 2012

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