It may surprise some of us to hear that the number one killer of pregnant women in the United States is not unsafe abortion, but homicide.
According to a March 2001 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) using death records and coroner reports, state health department researchers found 247 pregnancy-associated deaths between 1993 and 1998, suggesting that the maternal murder phenomenon is the leading cause of death among pregnant women.
This information is important when we’re considering the necessity of Bill C-510. Pregnant women, according to this research, find themselves in more vulnerable situations than women who are not pregnant. In situations of domestic violence, it is necessary then to provide pregnant women with additional support and further protective legislation. The murder of Laci Peterson in 2002 was an ignored harbinger, and Bill C-510 is an attempt to make up for 8 years of lost time and lost lives, like that of Roxanne Fernando.
“People think that pregnancy is a joyful, happy time for families. That’s not always true,” said Phyllis Sharps, an associate professor at The Johns Hopkins University’s school of nursing who researches violence against women.
In some cases, the woman has been abused for years, and the violence escalates to murder after she’s pregnant. In others, pregnancy itself sparks emotions that can lead to murderous rages.
“Violence in intimate relationships is all about power,” said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. “There are fewer times when you can have power over a woman than when she’s pregnant. She’s vulnerable. It’s an easier time to threaten her.”
In an attempt to educate and raise awareness, the Elliot Institute created this UnChoice Pop Quiz that provides statistics on coercion prior to abortion. Those who oppose Bill C-510 fear that it will negatively affect abortion providers. In my opinion, it’s more important to save women’s lives than to consider the risk to abortion providers.by