Statistics on abortion in Colombia exaggerated

In an opinion piece for the newspaper El Tiempo in Colombia, that country’s former Vice Minister of Justice, Rafael Nieto Loaiza, denounced the exaggerated statistics being used by abortion supporters to get the practice legalized in Colombia.

Referring to the interview granted to the same newspaper last Sunday by Colombia’s First Lady, Lina Morena de Uribe—in which she said she was in favor of the legalization of abortion in some circumstances—Nieto Loaiza explained that both the statistics cited by the First Lady and her arguments in favor of the change do not have a real basis in the country’s situation and that “she has not been sufficiently clear about certain points.”

“The first is that the case currently before the Constitutional Court seeks the general legalization of abortion, and only secondly does it refer to the cases of rape and life of the mother,” he said.

He pointed out that to say there are 400,000 abortions a year in Colombia “has no basis whatsoever,” noting that in Spain, where it is legal, 80,000 abortions were reported in 2002.  Therefore, he continued, there is no reason to think that in Colombia, where the practice is illegal and where the roots of Christianity are deeper, 600% more abortions are occurring than in Spain.

“According to the World Health Organization, each year 69,000 women worldwide lose their lives due to ‘unsafe’ abortions.  A little less then half of these occur in India, where abortion is legal.  Thus the number of deaths from abortion in Colombia should be much less than what is being reported,” Nieto Loaiza maintained.


He also noted that “the legalization of abortion does not reduce the maternal mortality rate” nor does it reduce the number of cases.  In Ireland, for example, where abortion is prohibited, the maternal mortality rate is very low--close to four times lower than that of the United States, where abortion is allowed.

According to this data, he added, “legalization increases the number of abortions, and with them, the risk to the health of women, not to mention the deaths of thousands of unborn babies.”

Lastly, responding to the government’s claim that deaths from unsafe abortions is a public health problem, Nieto Loaiza noted that “what reduces the maternal mortality rate is not the legalization of abortion, but rather the quality of medical care mothers receive before, during and after birth.  And this is a responsibility the government should not shirk from by claiming that the problem is due to the illegality of abortion.”

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