Saturday, February 3, 2007

The Cuban Abortion Scheme Debunked (Part 3)

According to the most recent report from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) titled "The ten leading causes of death in countries of the Americas," they confirm that "[a]s might be expected in the less than one year age group [infant category], the leading cause of death in 30 of 31 countries was certain conditions originating in the perinatal period [five months before and one month after birth period]. This was followed by congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities which ranked second..." These second-ranked malformations eventually take their toll in the few following years where "[c]ongenital malformations were highly ranked in 25 countries and the leading cause in both (one to four year old) male and female deaths in Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay."

According to a 2000 longitudinal study from the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, "in Latin America the proportion of infant deaths attributable to congenital anomalies increased from 2-6 per cent in the 1950s to 12-25 per cent in the early 1990s", and that "[i]n absolute terms... infant mortality attributable to congenital anomalies caused more infant deaths in poorer countries than in wealthier countries." In Cuba, according to PAHO, "63% of [infant] deaths occurred in the neonatal period [first month]. Perinatal disorders, birth defects, sepsis, influenza, pneumonia and accidents accounted for more than 80% of all deaths in this [one year] age group."

It is within this context that we should receive the news about "automatic" abortions following prenatal diagnosis of congenital malformations and if "[a] heart murmur or other serious problems required an abortion", or any other claims made by Dorschner and his single source: Jesús Monzón. Monzón, Dorschner's only source from Cuba who makes the direct accusation of the abortion scheme, was an obstetrician-gynecologist in Pinar del Río before he left in 1995. Dorschner interviews another exiled Cuban doctor, but he is not quoted making the same accusation.

A 2004 study in the journal of Prenatal Diagnosis concluded that "[d]epending on the gestational age and legal situation the counselor is operating in, termination of pregnancy may be one of the options to consider and one that should ALWAYS be raised in discussion" (emphasis added) when dealing with fetal congenital heart disease. In 1998, according to PAHO, the leading cause of infant deaths in the US was due to congenital anomalies.

[Part 4]

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