In response to "Trauma's" letter [Aug. 23, 2012], let's set the record straight about the disproportionate and piously selected concerns about life. Yes, it is a sad truth that women die—for all kinds of reasons, abortion included. But let's put some perspective to this sad truth.
The U.S., the richest country in the world, falls into the category of a third-world country in regard to women's lives. Shamefully, the U.S. maternal mortality rate places us 50th in the world. Yes—49 other countries ahead of us have less pregnancy-related deaths. That rate, according to the World Health Organization, is 24 deaths per 100,000 women. Abortion-related deaths in the U.S. is 0.9 deaths per 100,00 women (Guttmacher Institute). Why do we not hear about these far more numerous deaths of women from pregnancy but only showcase the few abortion-related deaths? (Not to mention hearing Stacy Campfield ranting on the Senate judiciary floor about the thousands of women dying from abortions and why we need to "protect" women from these unsafe practices.) The infant mortality rate places the U.S. 36th in the world, with 6.06 infant deaths per 1,000 live births (or, 606 infant deaths per 100,000 live births.) Given these statistics, seems if "life" were the issue, we would have an equally strong right-to-life movement actively opposing pregnancy due to the life and safety issues pregnancy presents.
Furthermore, given the 0.9 abortion-related deaths per 100,000 women in the U.S., countries where abortion is illegal have a death rate 350 times this rate. Let's do the math. That is 315 deaths per 100,000 women. (Guttmacher Institute). Can the U.S. further induce this country's third-world status in regard to women's lives by continuing on the dangerous politically influenced track we're following to make abortion illegal under the false pretense of a right-to-life agenda?
If life were truly the issue in this debate, we would all be on the same page working together to impact these stark and ghastly statistics; not a nation divided along righteously-claimed positions on life. But life is not the issue, as many of us understand. It is a fundamentalist religiosity, a movement to restrict and control women's lives, not that unlike fundamental religious movements the world over, the Taliban included. (Remember Sen. Aiken's remarks this past month!) Perhaps if we could focus our efforts and concerns on matters that could have an impact—like affordable access to health care for all medical services, including maintaining safe legal abortions—we could seriously address issues about life in meaningful ways.
Corinne Rovetti FNP,APRN-BC
Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health