New WHO manual prescribes unsafe abortion for poor women

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2012 /Christian Newswire --

A new report by Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) on a manual produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) on how to do abortions finds that the agency is "recommending abortion practices for women in poor countries that have been rejected by medical experts in the developed world."

C-FAM's peer-reviewed report "Eleven Problems with the 2012 WHO Technical Guidance on Abortion" concludes that WHO's guidance is designed to make abortion more widespread by lowering the standard of care. It discourages practices such as exams to detect ectopic pregnancies, puts the responsibility for detecting complications like infections and hemorrhaging upon the woman, recommends disposing of "waste," such as babies' remains, in sewers and latrines, and considers "fetal survival" a failure.

C-FAM found WHO's "Safe Abortion: Technical and Policy Guidance for Health Systems," which is aimed at poor women in developing countries, advocates inferior medical practices simply because they reflect methods already used.

"The contents of this purportedly authoritative guidance was so bad I had to put it down several times," stated Dr. Susan Yoshihara, C-FAM's Director of the International Organizations Research Group. "It recommends techniques for use in the developing world that would not be tolerated in the developed world, thus reinforcing instead of remedying the existing disparities in maternal mortality rates. We should expect much higher medical standards from the World Health Organization."

WHO's manual focuses on the drug misoprostol, acknowledging that its advice on using misoprostol for pregnancies beyond 24 weeks lacks clinical studies to back up its recommendation. In addition to lax medical standards, WHO also urges worldwide liberalization of abortion laws.

"Eleven Problems with the 2012 WHO Technical Guidance on Abortion" can be found here.


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