The following article was published by Right to Life of Michigan and posted on th Life News website. It highlights just one of the many lies that Planned Parenthood has disseminated since Margaret Sanger founded this diabolical organization.
So much of the abortion debate is based on myths, bad assumptions, bad logic, or outright gaslighting through deception. For the rest of 2019 we will highlight one common abortion myth every month.
2: Millions of women died in back alley abortions.
The bottom line: Using false numbers and tactics of fearmongering to keep abortion legal does not benefit women.
Comments made this year by Leana Wen, the former president of Planned Parenthood, are an example of this myth in action. She stated:
“Before Roe v. Wade, thousands of women died every year.”
The Washington Post, which is by no means a prolife outlet, pointed out the falsity of such comments: “Even given the fuzzy nature of the data and estimates, there is no evidence that in the years immediately preceding the Supreme Court’s decision, thousands of women died every year in the United States from illegal abortions.”
Back-alley abortions were not as prevalent as they were claimed to be. Frightful stories of coat-hanger abortions are used by pro-abortion advocates to fearmonger and persuade public opinion in favor of keeping abortion legal. Abortion supporters frequently argue that having abortion be “safe, legal, and rare” would be better than the occurrence of dangerous, illegal, and back-alley operations.
Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist and the co-founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL Pro-Choice America), was an early propagator of the back-alley abortion myth. Concerning the use of statistics of 5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year, Nathanson stated,
“I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics? The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible.”
The mental image of abortions accomplished with a coat hanger or the use of other unsanitary and gruesome manners to rid the child from the mother’s womb are useful to move audiences. However, those were generally not the practices used in the illegal abortions obtained before 1973. Nor was it unlicensed, ill-equipped quacks who were performing abortions prior to 1973. In 1960, Mary Calderone, a former medical director of Planned Parenthood, stated that nearly 90% of illegal abortions were performed by physicians in good-standing.
Abortions were not safe for women before 1973, yet neither have they been safe for women after the nationwide legalization of abortion. When considering historical and current abortion data, the logic of legalizing a practice in order to make it safe is empty.
Statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) demonstrate that fatalities of women who received illegal abortions do not add up to the thousands or millions of deaths claimed by pro-choice advocates. In 1972, the year before the legalization of abortion in the United States, the CDC reported that 39 women died from illegal abortion and 24 died from legal abortion.
In 1973, the CDC reported 19 women died from illegal abortion procedures and 25 women died due to legal abortion procedures. Legalizing abortion did not lead to a dramatic drop in women’s deaths. In fact, the most impressive drop in abortion mortality was connected to the invention and widespread distribution of antibiotics, which occurred years prior to the legalization of abortion. Before antibiotics, childbirth and any type of surgery was extremely dangerous relative to today.
Blogger’s note: In an adult evening college class, the subject of abortion was brought up for debate. A young man stated that prior to Roe v Wade, 25,000 women died in back alley abortions. I didn’t challenge him on that figure since I had no knowledge of the veracity of his statistic. In a moment of clarity, I spoke up and told him his figures were wrong. He asked why his number of deaths was incorrect. I said, “It was 50,000, not 25,000….you forgot the babies. Needless to say he was speechless.