ISSUES - Maternal Mortality


Maternal mortality(MM)-the death of a woman during pregnancy, childbirth, or in the first 42 days after delivery-is often a preventable tragedy and comprehensive efforts to save the lives of both mothers and their children must be a priority of governments.

Increased intervention and efforts to bolster maternal health have proven successful over the last two decades. According to a 2012 United Nations report Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2010, the number of global maternal deaths has dropped in half from 543,000 to 287,000. Life-affirming programs that provide safe passage for both mothers and their children during the critical time of childbirth have saved lives.

Complications from childbirth such as severe bleeding— the number one cause of maternal death—need to be treated and prevented. Assisted childbirth is essential as skilled birth attendants recognize obstetric emergencies and provide active management of the third stage of labor to prevent and treat hemorrhage. Mothers are saved when they receive clean blood for transfusions and antibiotics to treat infection and when they give birth in safe, sanitary birthing conditions.

Mothers survive when they receive treatment for indirect causes of maternal deaths including malaria, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, anemia, malaria, cardiovascular disease, tuberculosis, epilepsy, and diabetes. The lives of mothers and children are saved when women of child bearing age have access to health care and nutrition before and during pregnancy and in the postpartum period.

Tragically, three million newborns around the world died during their first 28 days of life in 2012. Health policies that parliamentarians enact and government officials promulgate need to affirm dignity and respect for the lives of both mothers and unborn children to achieve MDG 4, reduction in child mortality along with MDG 5, reduction in maternal mortality. At least two lives are at risk in every pregnancy –more if the mother is carrying multiples—and all have an inherent right to life and human dignity.

Progress to reduce maternal mortality has been delayed and plagued by a radical pro-abortion agenda that seeks to inject the violence of abortion into programs and services designed to save women’s lives using the false argument that legal abortion reduces maternal mortality. Maternal health is increasingly encased in the concept of "reproductive health" which has been defined by abortion activists as including access to abortion; a definition which many countries reject.

The mantra of "safe abortion" is the ultimate oxymoron. All abortion—legal or illegal—is unsafe for children and has hurt women physically, psychologically, and spiritually. A study by the Chilean Maternal Mortality Research Initiative (CMMRI), conducted by a wide range of researchers, found that access to legal abortion does not reduce maternal deaths but rather women’s access to education and maternal health care services are key factors in reducing maternal death. This analysis of Chile’s well-documented MM statistics provided researchers with a unique look into a range of factors, including abortion policy changes, affecting maternal mortality over a period of fifty years. Since prohibiting abortion in 1989, Chile has seen a decline in its rate of maternal deaths from 41.3 to 12.7 per 100,000 live births. Chile with a complete ban on abortion has the lowest rate of maternal mortality in all of Latin America and the Caribbean.

PNCI believes that maternal mortality will continue to be reduced when women are provided with life-affirming health care and nutrition and when governments affirm, assist and protect women in their universally valued role as mothers, the bearers of a country’s greatest treasure - its children.


American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG)

Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980—2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5

Melisa Institute

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach

Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2010

The maternal mortality myth in the context of legalized abortion

Women's Education Level, Maternal Health Facilities, Abortion Legislation and Maternal Deaths: A Natural Experiment in Chile from 1957 to 2007