Hillary Clinton May Have Misled Congress on Brazil Botched Abortion Claims

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 12, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Hillary Clinton May Have Misled Congress on Brazil Botched Abortion Claims

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 12
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have misled Congress during a hearing by claiming that she once visited a hospital in Brazil allegedly filled with women who were supposedly dealing with injuries from botched legal abortions. Clinton made the claim in an effort to bolster her pro-abortion position.

The comments came during an April 22 hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where Clinton responded to tough questions from pro-life Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican.

Clinton gave several examples of her own personal experience visiting nations across the globe in an effort to respond to questions from Smith about how abortion advocates were using misleading definitions to create an international abortion right.

"When I think about the suffering that I have seen of women around the world – I’ve been in hospitals in Brazil where half the women … were fighting for their lives against botched abortions,’ she told the panel.

However, there is some question of whether Clinton actually saw such women at any Brazilian hospital.

The National Catholic Register followed up the potential misstatement heard from Department of State spokeswoman Laura Tischler, who couldn’t verify Clinton’s claims.

“I am unable to confirm where or when the trip she referred to in her testimony was — where specifically in Brazil she was visiting or when the trip occurred," she said.

Tischler referred the questions to Clinton’s personal staff, who were also apparently unable to vouch for the veracity of the statement, according to the Register.

LifeNews.com has investigated further and discovered that Clinton, as First Lady, visited a maternity hospital in Salvador, Brazil in October 1995.

The purpose of the visit was to see how a family planning and reproductive health program has been administered by the pro-abortion group Pathfinder International since 1981 with funding from USAID.

During her tour of the hospital, local abortion advocates told Clinton about the need for more promotion of birth control and contraception in the South American nation.

There is no evidence showing Clinton visited more than one hospital or that they were filled with women who had illegal abortions or suffered any complications from them.

In a statement sent to LifeNews.com, Smith said he wasn’t surprised that Clinton may have exaggerated what she saw.

“This is part of a longstanding problem of abortion advocates making unverifiable and/or bogus statements about abortion data and then using the information to try and craft bad policy," he said. "Pro-abortion activists have a long history of making these type of unsubstantiated claims. That’s how they drive policy—with gross exaggeration of numbers, hyperbole and junk science."

Smith says he is reminded of the comments of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortion practitioner and director of NARAL, who is now pro-life.

While Nathanson "told the media that 10,000 women were dying from illegal abortions in the U.S. every year, he later admitted this was all lies. Nathanson said the actual figure of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually."

Nathanson was quoted as saying: “Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public."

"The abortion movement earned a terrible reputation for exaggerating maternal mortality while grossly understating the deleterious effects of legal abortion on women both physically and psychologically," Smith said.

Other pro-life experts also say abortion advocates routinely inflate the number of illegal abortions in an attempt to create a false health crisis necessitating the legalization of abortion.

Dr. Randy O’Bannon, Education Director for National Right to Life, has told LifeNews.com previously that the "the precision implied in such numbers is highly misleading."

Figures given for developing countries and regions, where researchers report the vast majority of "unsafe" abortions and abortion-related deaths, "are based on meager data and a lot of assumption-laden extrapolations," said O’Bannon. "Many of these countries do not maintain detailed birth or mortality records, much less abortion statistics, making even the roughest of estimates problematic."

Governmental agencies like the WHO also rely on so-called "public source data" to provide illegal abortion death guesses. Typically, a "public source" is a journal article, report, or unpublished document, often from a pro-abortion organization, raising questions about its objectivity.
O’Bannon says these sources of information are unreliable.

In Uruguay, for example, the WHO relies on studies with samples sizes of 5, 14, and 23 individuals to extrapolate the number of deaths due to illegal abortions for the entire country. In addition, the studies were done in the 1970s and 1980s and are not current.

The data may provide anecdotal evidence of abortion-related deaths but does not validate the claims of thousands of such deaths, O’Bannon concludes.

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