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March 2, 1994

Actual Causes of Death in the United States

Author Affiliations

Texas A&M University Health Science Center Temple

JAMA. 1994;271(9):660. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510330037021

To the Editor.  —In the Review by Drs McGinnis and Foege,1 no specific reference is made to lives lost to abortion.Under the heading "Sexual Behavior," they mention 5000 deaths from excess infant mortality rates among those whose pregnancies were unintended.2 Informal estimates range from more than 1 million to approaching 2 million US deaths a year to abortion, but hard data are sorely needed. The total number of deaths reported by McGinnis and Foege for 1990 was only 1 060 000. If such a massive loss of life to a single cause, such as abortion, could be documented and reported, surely it would be of some interest to policymakers. Years of life lost to abortion generate a huge financial number as one calculates monetary consequences of years of productive life lost.Not reporting the abortion statistics may have significant social consequences. The ostrich approach to this undeniable

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