Steve Heilig at the Huffington Post wrote:
“Three decades ago, medical and public health students at UCLA were sometimes taken on a tour of an old hospital ward, previously dedicated to women suffering the aftereffects of illegal abortions. I believe there had been something like 70 beds then and the veteran professor who guided us on the visit said that until 1970, when abortion was legalized in California, the ward was always full of suffering and dying women. ‘We used to have to mop their blood from the floors here – it reminded me of serving in World War II,’ said the old doctor. After the laws changed, the ward quickly emptied out and was no longer needed.”
Remember, Heilig didn’t personally witness the “dying women” or “blood” on the floors. He’s simply reciting a story told by a pro-abortion doctor. So, let’s take a closer look at this story.
The Centers for Disease Control reported 39 deaths to illegal abortions in 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. And that’s for the entire nation.
This means that, on average, there were 3 deaths a month from illegal abortions spread across all 50 states, yet a single ward in a single hospital in California was always full of dying women?
The Centers for Disease Control also reported 24 deaths to legal abortions in 1972. Again, for the entire nation. Of note, there were 11 reported deaths to legal abortions in 2000.
Two points. First, both legal and illegal abortions had similar death rates in the early 1970s. Second, despite advances in medical technology, the so-called “safe, legal” abortions of today still result in nearly a statistically-identical death rate compared to the illegal abortions of the early 1970s.
In the current political climate, however, pro-abortion proponents are skeptical, and they turn to Planned Parenthood as a trusted source of information. So, what did Planned Parenthood have to say about illegal abortions prior to Roe v. Wade?
In 1959, Dr. Mary Calderone, the medical director of Planned Parenthood, wrote:
“Abortion is no longer a dangerous procedure. This applies not just to therapeutic abortions as performed in hospitals but also to so-called illegal abortions as done by physicians.”
And she concluded that nearly all illegal abortions were done by physicians. Case closed.
But Heilig wasn’t finished. He added:
“Of course, if I really believed that that the embryos or early fetuses that account for the vast majority of abortions were full-fledged ‘babies,’ I’d likely be opposed to abortion in most cases too. But such a status is not supported by science, medicine, historical practice, or public opinion – it largely comes from religious conviction.”
Wrong again, Steve. Science and medicine prove that human life begins at conception. Biology textbooks teach this fact. Medical students learn this fact. And historical practice, especially after the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, restricted abortion. (How can that even be argued? Heilig concedes that Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973.) As for public opinion, 61% of Americans say abortion should be illegal or legal only in a few circumstances. According to Gallup, Americans have “consistently” held this position for the past two decades.