SKOPJE, Macedonia, January 24, 2011 ( – European abortion activists are annoyed with the tiny Balkan state of Macedonia for telling women that abortion is something that carries risks, and that they can do without.

HERA, an international abortion lobby group and affiliate of Planned Parenthood International, has criticized the Macedonian government for a media campaign titled, “Chose life – You have a right to chose,” that included warnings of the possible medical complications of abortion. These included infertility, sepsis, perforations of the uterus, complications from anesthesia and severe post-abortion mental problems.

HERA and the Macedonian Association of the Gynecologists and Obstetricians held a press conference demanding that the government change its campaign to include information on how contraception can lower abortion rates. They also demanded that sex education be instituted as a “separate discipline” in public schools and that public health insurance packages include oral contraceptives.

The campaign, they said, is “completely contradicting … current national polices for reducing the abortion rate in the country.”

The group claimed that the medical threats of abortion cited in the government campaign are common to any surgical procedure, although this is contradicted by information available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC reports 386 deaths from legalized abortion in the U.S. between 1973 and 2004, while physical complications in the CDC report include cervical lacerations and injury, uterine perforations, bleeding, hemorrhage, serious infection, pain, and incomplete abortion in which the fetal remains are left inside the woman’s body.

Abortion is also associated with later preterm births and placenta previa (improper implantation of the placenta). Premature births are associated with higher rates of cerebral palsy, as well as respiratory, brain, and bowel abnormalities.

In Macedonia abortion is allowed under nearly any circumstance, on demand; but in January 2009, several women MPs from the ruling centre right party launched an initiative for more restrictive legislation.

The government is concerned with the country’s extremely low birth rate of 1.58 children born per woman, well under the replacement rate of 2.1. With Macedonia’s low rates of immigration, raising the birth rate could be the only answer to impending demographic, and consequent economic, collapse.