In the days leading up to the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in America, pro-choice advocates claimed hundreds of thousands of women had died from illegal abortions. Because of this, several lawmakers voted to decriminalize abortion prior to Roe, and even today, some lawmakers are hesitant to outlaw it because of this lie. These statistics were invented by the same people who would profit from the procedure’s legalization.
False Claim #1: 5,000-10,000 women died annual from illegal abortion before Roe.
FACT: These statistics were made up. The real number was a mere fraction of this.
Abortionist Bernard Nathanson admitted that he and others fabricated large numbers of deaths from illegal terminations prior to Roe. Nathanson and Larry Lader, a Margaret Sanger biographer, worked to decriminalize abortion laws. Together, they and others founded NARAL (then known as the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws).
Alexandra Desanctis writes in National Review, “Undoubtedly this argument, that the illegality of abortion was leading to the deaths of countless women at the hands of ‘back alley butchers,'” played an essential role in deciding Roe, adding, “Blackmun… cited the papers of [a] NARAL attorney… who falsified the legal history of abortion to make it appear as if abortion restrictions were not imposed until the 19th century and were created then only to protect maternal health rather than the lives of unborn children.”
Nathanson admitted in his book that the 5,000-10,000 illegal death figure was fabricated because it was a “nice, round, shocking figure.” And the media repeated it without proof.
“There were perhaps 300 or so deaths from criminal abortions annually in the United States in the sixties,” he said, “but NARAL… claimed to have data that supported a figure of five thousand.”
The 5,000 figure originates from several sources based largely on assumptions. In the image below, NARAL’s footnote quotes from a source that allegedly “discussed Dr. Christopher Tietze’s estimate of nearly 8,000 deaths from illegal abortion annually in the United States.” One problem: Tietze disputed that number, as did records of maternal deaths reviewed by the CDC. Larry Lader admitted, “Tietze places the figure nearer 1,000.”
In 1930, the Guttmacher Institute claimed abortion was the “official cause of death for almost 2,700 women.” By 1940, that number had dropped to between 1400 and 1700. By the 1950s, Mary Calderone claimed these deaths were at around 300, and Guttmacher agreed, citing “the introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s, which permitted more effective treatment of the infections that frequently developed” after illegal procedures. Antibiotics also led to a significant decline in maternal mortality overall.
In 1967, Dr. Tietze called the 5,000 illegal abortion deaths claim “unmitigated nonsense,” according to an article in the Berkshire Eagle, saying the real number was “certainly no more than a thousand.” He said people lied “to raise sympathy for liberalized abortion laws” by “mak[ing] people afraid.” (Tietze was given Planned Parenthood’s Sanger Award in 1973.)
Stories like the one you just read transform hearts and minds.
For example, one of our followers, Ross, messaged us and commented:
“I began to question my pro-choice views after reading articles about Live Action…Live Action is primarily responsible for my becoming Pro-Life through their well-thought-out, scientific information and the emotionally and uplifting stories of real people with real experiences in saving the lives of their children regardless of what others might say.”
Knowledge is power and CAN open eyes to SEE the truth. And, YOU can provide the spark to transform someone’s mind, just like Ross.
The DAILY publishing at Live Action News is only made possible through generous people, like you, who give $5, $10, or $25.
Your gift today will not only keep these stories coming in 2020, but also help us open more eyes and change minds to be fully pro-life and save lives.
Will you join us in creating a world where the killing of preborn children is unthinkable and support Live Action News by making your tax-deductible gift today?