2019 is almost over, and for many news outlets, that means a retrospective look on the year that has passed. One of the Washington Post’s most notorious features is a fact-check, where claims are given a “Pinocchio” count. Glenn Kessler just published his list of the biggest Pinocchios of the year, and former Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen earned herself a spot on the list for her notorious lie about abortion deaths before Roe v. Wade.
In May, Washington Post gave Wen four Pinocchios for repeatedly claiming that thousands of women died from illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade was passed. Those lies have now been declared some of the biggest of the year in Kessler’s 2019 round-up.
“Leana Wen, when she was president of Planned Parenthood, repeatedly stated that ‘thousands of women’ died every year from botched abortions before the Supreme Court in 1973 nullified antiabortion laws across the United States in Roe v. Wade,” Kessler wrote. “We dug through the statistics and it turns out she was citing numbers from the 1930s, before the advent of antibiotics. In 1972, the number of deaths in the United States from legal abortions was 24 and from illegal abortions 39, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wen was fired from her job shortly after our fact check. The New York Times, citing the fact check, said ‘she had been told repeatedly by her staff [that the claim was false] but disregarded’ the advice.”
It’s more than a little difficult to believe that anyone at Planned Parenthood attempted to correct this claim; after all, it’s long been known that abortion activists blatantly invented statistics to scare people into supporting legalized abortion. One honest exception: former Planned Parenthood medical director Mary Calderone admitted that most illegal abortions were committed discreetly by physicians; the year Roe v. Wade went into effect, there were actually more deaths from legal than illegal abortions.
Women continue to die from abortion today, even though it is legal. Yet continuously claiming that abortion was markedly more dangerous before Roe v. Wade and that it’s perfectly safe today is a lie that deserves to be exposed.
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