Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Risks and reproductive rights...

Pharyngula links to a great blog, Well-Timed Period, that discusses issues surrounding reproductive health. One post in particular caught my attention; it is the one quoting from an article found in Contraceptive(Volume 73, Issue 5, Pages 437-439 (May 2006) that points out the relative risks associated with reproductive health as compared to one another and "everyday" type risks.

Here are some of the numbers:
Activity Risk of Death
(per year)

automobile accident 1 in 2900

In an airplane crash 1 in 250,000

Risk per year for women
(15-34) preventing 1 in 1,667,000 (non-smoker)
pregnancy using OCs 1 in 57,800 (smoker)

Risk per year for women
(35-44) preventing 1 in 33,300 (non-smoker)
pregnancy using OCs 1 in 5200(smoker)

Risk from pregnancy 1 in 8700

Risk from spontaneous abortion 1 in 142,900

Risk from induced abortion:
Mifepristone/misoprostol 1 in 110,000
Surgical 1 in 142,900
within first 8 weeks 1 in 1,000,000

In other words from the perspective of most woman, abortion and using oral contraceptives (OC) are safer options (especially if you don't smoke) than pregnancy or driving in a car. The pregnancy risk is not usually talked about by the anti-choice* crowd. There are risks associated with being pregnant and giving birth. Abortions are typically safer options for women than staying pregnant. Those lives saved don't really seem to enter into the discussions about abortion. What if those were men who were dying instead of women, would we care more?

Pregnancy is not easy. A woman is basically developing part of her body to become a separate being. Think how much energy we each expend to keep our bodies going let alone doing additional activities. Add on top of that, gestating part of yourself to grow to become another person that itself will need energy just to keep going, let alone grow. That is a lot of effort and that is just looking at things from a more macro view.

* I detest the pro-life naming of such groups. Many are not pro-life as they support the death penalty, wars, etc. Not to mention it is not like the rest of us are against life nor are we pro-abortion. We are though pro-choice. They want to limit the choices women have available to them.

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