Abortion 14 times safer for women than giving birth, study finds

Pregnant Susanne Friis Hasche shows her stomach painted by Danish artist Lotte Ipsen during a photo exhibition on August 12, 2011, in the Round Tower of Copenhagen.

Women are about 14 times more likely to die during or after giving birth to a live baby than to die from complications of an abortion, according to a US study published Monday.

According to the study, published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the risk of death associated with a full-term pregnancy and delivery is 8.8 deaths per 100,000, while the risk of death linked to legal abortion is 0.6 deaths per 100,000 women, HealthDay reported.

The study used information from government data on live births and deaths due to pregnancy or abortions.

Hypertension, urinary tract problems and mental health issues were more prevalent in women who gave birth, while infection was the main, yet very small, risk of having an abortion. 

"Regardless of one's sentiments about abortion, legal abortion is very safe, and dramatically safer than continuing the pregnancy," the study's lead author, Dr. David Grimes, a clinical professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, reportedly said.

The findings contradict some state laws that suggest abortions are high-risk procedures, according to experts quoted by Reuters.

Dr. Anne Davis, who studies obstetrics and gynecology at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York said the message was that getting an abortion and giving birth were both safe.

"We wouldn't tell people, 'Don't have a baby because it's safer to have an abortion' -- that's ridiculous," she reportedly said. "We're trying to help women who are having all reproductive experiences know what to expect."

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