Terry O'Neill, president of National Organization for Women, writes in an editorial that the "heartbreak of infant mortality" can be prevented with "abortion care," or in other words, if babies are killed before they die.
"From a public health point of view, abortion care, no less than contraception, is an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality, and to prevent another tragedy as well – maternal death," writes O'Neill in an article, "Abortion, Like Contraception, Is Essential Health Care That Saves Lives," for The Huffington Post.
About one million infants die on the same day they're born every year, the feminist civil rights attorney points out in the editorial. "This includes about 11,300 infants in the United States. That's 30 infant deaths each and every day!"
She quotes Save the Children as saying that America has the highest first-day infant mortality rate of any country in the industrialized world.
"We have a premature birth crisis in this country that can be directly linked to our failure to provide adequate contraception and abortion care," O'Neill maintains. "About half of pregnancies in the U.S. each year are unintended, and for those women who carry their pregnancies to term (more than half do), the prognosis is anything but great. They not only experience higher rates of premature birth, but also are more likely to have inadequate prenatal care, low birth weight and small size infants, maternal depression and anxiety."
Teen mothers tend to be poorer, less educated and receive less prenatal care than older women, she adds, and therefore "babies born to teen mothers are more likely to be low birth weight and be born prematurely, and to die in their first month."
Restrictions on abortion pose a major hurdle, she suggests.
"As more states like Texas and North Carolina restrict access to abortion care, more women are dying in childbirth or pregnancy, and more infants are not surviving to their first birthday," O'Neill writes. "Politicians may try to separate out abortion, or abortion and contraception, from the continuum of women's reproductive health care, but when they do, women's lives are needlessly cut short."
This cannot be called "pro-life," she argues.
Among the issues NOW addresses include abortion rights, reproductive issues, violence against women, constitutional equality, promoting diversity, ending racism, lesbian rights and economic justice.