Scientists discuss relationship between abortion and violence against women

New York, March 8th 2013 – Scientists of the United States of America, Ireland, and Chile met this week in New York to discuss recent scientific evidence regarding abortion as a form of growing violence against women and girls. Indiscriminate practice of abortion is significantly correlated with coercion, a history of sexual abuse, violence during pregnancy, intimate partner violence, and with psychological consequences that may lead to suicide.

The scientific evidence was discussed by Doctors Monique Chireau (North Carolina, USA), Donna Harrison (Illinois, USA), Eoghan de Faoite (Dublin, Ireland), and Elard Koch (Concepción, Chile). The meeting «Public Policies to reduce maternal mortality, a holistic focus on maternal health» took place in parallel to the 57th Session of the Commission of Women Status of the United Nations, whose priority theme is the «elimination and prevention of all types of violence against women and girls», activity that will continue until March 15th.

The scientists discussed different epidemiological studies, showing that:

  • A significant and growing proportion of induced abortions occur due to coercion by the intimate partner of the pregnant woman.
  • A history of sexual abuse and violence is a risk factor for abortion and subsequent mental health problems.
  • There is a significant correlation between the increase in the number of abortions and an increase in the rate of homicides against women versus those against men.
  • There is an important correlation between the increase of abortions and the suicide rate of women of childbearing age.
  • Countries with abortion laws that are less permissive, such as Ireland and Chile, display lower abortion rates than countries with more permissive abortion laws.

Dr. Koch, director of the MELISA Institute, presented international collaborative studies that have been recently published, which place Chile –a country with one of the least permissive abortion laws in the world– with the lowest maternal mortality rate in Latin America. Public policies ensuring more education for women, childbirth by skilled professionals universally available, and a timely access to emergency obstetric units would be key factors improving maternal health, and not the legal status of abortion. This evidence was in agreement with data presented by Dr. De Faoite, who showed evidence placing Ireland among the countries with the lowest maternal mortality in Europe, without having to modify their current abortion legislation. On the other hand, Dr. Chireau presented robust evidence regarding novel treatments for pregnant women with cancer, which are successful in safeguarding the life of the mother and her gestating child. Finally, Dr. Harrison discussed the risks related to complications following medical abortion with chemicals such as misoprostol, which are exacerbated in developing countries due the their lack of sufficient coverage of emergency facilities.

During the opening of these UN Sessions and commemorating the International Women’s Day, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon remarked «There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.» In this context, the scientists assembled in New York voiced their concern in regards to the alarming expansion of abortion as a form of violence against women in the world, something that should not be dismissed by any nation that respects fundamental human rights.


An ideological statement

Recently American Court of Human Rights has issued a controversial ruling (case Artavia Murillo and others vs. Costa Rica), regarding in vitro fertilization, banned in that country in 1990 by an opinion of the Constitutional Court, among other things, because it violates the right to life of «spare embryos», as it felt that the Constitution protects life from conception.

The Court accepted the case, it held that the state law violated various rights of the appellants: a private and family life, personal integrity regarding personal autonomy, to sexual and reproductive health, to enjoy the benefits of scientific and technological progress, and finally, the principle of non-discrimination. Thus, the sentence is in practice alluded to repeal the constitutional provision and condemns Costa Rica to pay compensation and costs.

Now assume that the Court must apply preferably the American Convention on Human Rights (also known as the Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica), 1969, since its powers established therein. Besides, she says literally in its Article 4 «Right to Life» on his No. 1: «Everyone has the right to respect for his life. This right shall be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of conception. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of life. «In this way, one can see at a glance that this legislation of Costa Rica and pointing in the same direction.

However, the Court found that the embryo is not really a «person» and therefore, does not enjoy a «right to life» like other human beings, which is why their protection must yield to the other rights and mentioned (thus incidentally sits a dangerous argument to legitimize abortion).

How do you justify such a decision? This is explained by different rules that the Court has been giving itself. Thus, among others, has determined that it is the last and final interpreter of the Convention and that this interpretation should not be based on both its wording or the intent of the drafters, but rather a dynamic and evolving understanding of its terms . It considers that this interpretation should be harmonized with the other regional treaties and universal human rights, in a systematic way to achieve together, to form a block of legality.

One can easily see that with these premises, the Court can tell the international documents what she wants, subjecting the countries under its jurisdiction, to genuine international judicial dictatorship, that sweeps with their institutions. The obvious question is whether this really was committed to what our countries in signing the American Convention on Human Rights.

* Max Silva Abbott

Doctor of Laws

Professor of Philosophy of Law

Universidad San Sebastián



A Christmas Carol

In the days before Christmas the snow fell heavily. The landscape, especially in parks and forests, was beautiful. The roofs of the houses looked white. People on the street and in shops, many of them dedicated to agriculture and cattle-were happy and said: «Year of snow, year of property.» Because next year would have plenty of water to grow and work in the fields.

The children had already left on vacation. At the Salazar family, youth and small were very entertaining: Juan Pablo, 16, watched movies on television, Mauricio-teenager and big fan of music-was dedicated to lowering many melodies, Paty, who was 14 and was quite communicative, kept chatting on your computer, Daniel, 13, used to spend hours talking and texting on his cell phone and Ale, the smallest with its nine years, was very fun with a new videogame.

The house had a pleasant temperature due to the heat, but outside there was an average of zero degrees Celsius. And the poor, who had no such comfort, went wrong.

One day, the parents of the family, Jose Luis and Marcela, told their children:

-They have to thank you very much to God that never lacked anything. But there are people suffering, is single and has no affection. Check your closets and take off all their clothes and toys in good condition because we will go to an orphanage to visit children living in poor and neglect …

They had not finished speaking when John Paul and Patty began to make excuses saying they had meetings with friends during those days and did not have time for that. Ale, the smallest, concluded that he did not want to leave her dolls or video games.

Dad encouraged to be generous, saying that rather than thinking about their things, they should get used to worry about the needs of others.

So the next day, collecting clothes and toys, and children reluctantly frankly, out toward the orphanage. On reaching the expected principal, Mother Mercedes, a nun with her white habit and smiling, in his 50s.

At first, the kids did not want cohibieron and get off the truck. Mother then encouraged them and said,

-Come down and that children are waiting.

Paty and Ale then went to where the girls were accompanied by their old dolls.

-Hello, Paty said the first one found. What’s your name?

-Lolis. -Answered.

– Do you want a doll?

-First I want a sweater because I have very cold.

Immediately, Paty took from his bag a lovely huge pink sweater and put it on.

I have never had a doll in my life, Lolis said.

– Why? Paty asked astonished.

I do not know who my parents and I stopped here from newborn.

-Then take this and other like-you touched Ale said.

And so it went visiting other small that with his eyes showed a great joy for those unexpected gifts.

Meanwhile, John Paul, Maurice and Daniel were in the children’s ward.

– Do you like football? John Paul asked a child.

-Yes, and I’m going to «America».

– I! I’ll give this ball and a shirt of «America.»

– For my own? Asked the boy beaming with joy.

Well, the ball is to play here and share it with your classmates.

Another boy came and said he wanted to be a video game. A cost Mauricio part with their favorite toy but eventually gave it to the little warmly.

-Here, take this and I’ll teach you how to play.

Others preferred that they be given coats, scarves, wool shirts and pants …

A small orphanage, Mauricio asked if it had more than enough gloves.

There were abrigadores small black gloves and exclaimed with joy:

– At last I will be able to play in the snow!

 The boys mother, Marcela, I prepared small orphanage of a delicious hot chocolate, while the father, Jose Luis, were given bags of sweets and chocolates, with the help of all his children.

So passed that morning. Mother Mercedes thanked them. Once back in the van, the small Ale told his mom that next year would look better bring their dolls for girls. John Paul and the other guys said they wanted to come more often. Paty said nothing, only came out the big tears and wiped.

– Why are you crying, my daughter? Marcela asked.

He was quite comfortable locked in my house, but I never thought I could do so many girls happy with my collection of dolls and clothes, and devoting some of my time. Today was the happiest day of my life and I want to come back every year!


Teen Pregnancy: between despair and motherhood

Mexico City, November, 2012. – «When I was pregnant I thought it was the worst thing that could happen. He was only 17 and definitely what I wanted was to be a mom. » So says Ana Gomez, one of the many teenagers who have been surprised by early childbearing.

«I had to think long, had to abort. It was then I looked on the internet somewhere that could help me. I made an appointment and I went. What happened in that place changed my life forever, because I knew that abortion was the only alternative: institutions had helped women in my situation. «

Ana Gomez To choose motherhood was not easy. It was part of a poor family, his father was an alcoholic and both she, like her mother and sister were victims of violence and physical abuse since he could remember how she could provide a better life for a baby who seemed further complicate their precarious situation?

«When my dad found out, things got worse at home. It was then that I decided to get out or in one of his drunken dad would kill me to death. I dialed the phone number they had given me the day I wanted to abort. They sent me a taxi and got, without looking back, not knowing if it was true about the help or if I had gotten worse. That was how I came to Yoliguani and my life changed completely. I found the home I always wanted. «

According to an investigation realizadaen the Ministry of Health of the Mexican Social Security Institute, between 25 and 33% of pregnant women experience some form of violence in pregnancy (INEGI, 2005).

«A pregnant woman is one of the most vulnerable groups of society, a situation that is compounded when you consider that is facing an unexpected pregnancy and in distress,» says Sergio Palma, Yoliguani Manager ( institution housing pregnant women in distress to provide free, not only medical care and care appropriate to their situation, but the emotional support and stability they need to live the experience of motherhood. «The girls who come to Yoliguani are staffed by professional, trained in the medical, nutritional, psychological and even spiritual. And that is something very important, because the vast majority of these women have experienced terrible situations (abuse, abuse, street children, abandoned) that trigger the comprehensive reconstruction of themselves, so that when your baby is born to give love and security needs «the lawyer pointed Palma.

Yoliguani is a social welfare institution that raises funds through donations from public and private organizations and events organized at different times of the year. One example is the «Great Toy Bazaar» which opens on 27, 28 and 29 November in Vicente Guemes 180, Lomas Viceroys (Do not miss!). The proceeds in this pre-Christmas sale will help continue the noble work of maternity protection.


The maximum discrimination

Recently, the European Parliament has condemned-just as some feminists do some time-selection abortion and prenatal sex, that is, for an end to the lives of children by the mere fact of being such. Certainly a remarkable resolution, if one takes into account the avalanche abortionist invades us today, as some recent events.

For example, in its latest report on the state of the world population, the UNFPA is advocating a new «human right»: the «family planning.» Thus, aims to achieve complete control over procreation, which obviously includes abortion in pregnancy ‘unwanted’ or even to an ‘unwanted child’, if it is not for the wanted sex or not with pathologies is willing to accept.

For his part, UN Women is calling for the eradication of violence against women worldwide, since according to the agency, they live in a ‘state of fear’. And while there are many positive aspects, it must be very suspicious to realize that pregnancy is being increasingly seen as an act of «violence» against women if it is not wanted by it.

In Ireland, a pregnant woman has died recently in a tragic way, and although it is still unclear whether this could have been avoided with an abortion, the situation has been cleverly exploited by the abortion lobby to demand the liberalization of the practice in that country.

And of course, as has become customary international various documents and reports continue to warn about the alleged «overpopulation» of the planet, calling-and funding-take drastic policies of birth control, including surgical or chemical abortion on especially in poor countries.

Now if for supporters / as abortion is considered: 1) a ‘human right’, 2) a method of birth control, 3) some ‘essential’ health of the woman to the point that for some pregnancy is a ‘sexual’-transmitted disease, 4) a request for release of the «violence» they suffer; 5) how to shake their shoulders the real «punishment» of motherhood; 6) a essential tool for professional and personal development of women in order to place it in a situation similar to that of men, and if coupled with this, 7) the unborn is anything but a person, what are scandalized some / when it is reported as selective abortion of girls?

On this basis it is impossible to prevent further discrimination against women arbitrary: kill unborn just because they are women. All this was the result, paradoxically, in a series of pseudoderechos in theory, intended exactly the opposite.

* Max Silva Abbott

Doctor of Laws

Professor of Philosophy of Law

Universidad San Sebastián




Abortion figures estimated through opinion surveys in Mexico are inconsistent with the significant decrease in abortion mortality in the country, study finds.

A collaborative study conducted in Mexico by researchers from the West Virginia University-Charleston (US),Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla(México), Universidad de Chile and the Institute of Molecular Epidemiology of the Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción (CHILE), revealed that opinion surveys used by researchers from the Guttmacher Institute overestimated figures of induced abortion in the Federal District of Mexico (Mexico DF) up to to 10-fold. The research recently published in the International Journal of Women’s Health highlights that the actual figure of induced abortion in Mexico DF has not surpassed 15,000 per year according to the official registry. “During 2009, the number of induced abortions in Mexico DF was 12,221, which directly contradicts the figure of 122,355 induced abortions estimated by opinion surveys for the same year, resulting in a 1000% overestimation” pointed out Elard Koch, the Chilean epidemiologist leading the research. The research group directly compared the estimations of induced abortion reported by the Guttmacher Institute and the actual figures reported by the GIRE (from the Spanish acronymGrupo de Información en Reproducción Electiva), institution that maintains epidemiological surveillance of abortion in Mexico DF since its decriminalization in 2007. The researchers detected that discrepancies found between estimated and actual figures are likely due to the subjective and potentially biased nature of opinion surveys, which have estimated figures as large as 1,024,424 induced abortions per year for the entire Mexican country. “This is a perfect example demonstrating that methodologies used for estimating figures of induced abortion and related indicators, such as abortion mortality rates, need constant re-evaluation and scrutiny by the scientific community in order to provide the best epidemiological data to be used for public policies of any region” explained Byron Calhoun, specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology from the West Virginia University-Charleston and co-author of the study.

Paradoxically, the study also shows that abortion mortality in the whole Mexican country has decreased to the point that approximately 98% of total maternal deaths are related to hemorrhage during childbirth, hypertension and eclampsia, indirect causes and other pathological conditions. Koch explained that “given the low figures of abortion deaths observed in Mexico and previous results observed in the Chilean natural experiment published in May of this year in PLoS ONEit is very improbable that changes in the legal status of abortion can elicit significant effects to decrease maternal mortality in these Latin American countries.” For instance, out of the 1207 total maternal deaths registered in Mexico during 2009, only 25 could be attributable to induced abortion, resulting in a mortality rate of 0.97 per 100,000 live births. In the case of Chile, out of a total 43 maternal deaths observed during 2009, only 1 could be attributable to induced abortion, with a mortality rate of 0.39 per 100,000 live births. “To evaluate what are the main causes of maternal death is crucial to promote adequate Public Health policies and allocation of resources in developing countries.” Koch and Calhoun agreed.

A fact that concerned the researchers is that part of maternal deaths due to induced abortion in Mexico may be related to violence against women during pregnancy, whose prevalence has increased alarmingly in the country. Surveys of violence against women (Encuesta NAcional sobre Violencia contra las Mujeres, ENVIM) conducted in 2003 and 2006 show an increase in the prevalence of intimate partner violence from 9.8% to 33.3% and of physical violence during pregnancy from 5.3% to 9.4%. «In addition to some deaths due to spontaneus miscarriges rapidly complicated by spesis, membrane rupture and subsequent abortion are often observed in pregnant comen suffering episodes of excessive physical violence, falls or accidents. If these women do not recieve prompt medical attention, they may die from clinical complications. It is important to remark, that any of these deaths cannot be avoided by promting changes in abortion legislations simply because they are the result of other causes, especially septic shock resistant to antibiotic treatment» said Koch. 

The researchers stated that implementation of emergency obstetric units and timely access to specialized medical care for high-risk pregnancies, especially in the most vulnerable regions, are key to further reduce maternal mortality in Mexico. “Hundreds of Mexican women continue to die due to hemorrhage, eclampsia and indirect causes; this suggests very concrete strategies that clearly are unrelated to the legal status of abortion” Koch and Calhoun concluded.



Koch E, Aracena P, Gatica S, Bravo M, Huerta-Zepeda A, Calchoun BC (2012) Fundamental discrepancies in abortion estimates and abortion related mortality: A reevaluation of recent studies in Mexico with special reference to the International Classification of Diseases. Int J Women Health 4: 613-623. Availablehere.

Koch E, Thorp J, Bravo M, Gatica S, Romero CX, et al. (2012) Women’s Education Level, Maternal Health Facilities, Abortion Legislation and Maternal Deaths: A Natural Experiment in Chile from 1957 to 2007. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36613. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036613. Availablehere.

For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview with Dr. Elard Koch and/or Dr. Byron Calhoun, please contact Lea Parks, PR Officer of the MELISA Institute, atlea.parks@melisainstitute.comor            +56 41 234 5814