Members of Congress Claim Back Alley Abortions Will Happen Without Tax Funds

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 13, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Members of Congress Claim Back Alley Abortions Will Happen Without Tax Funds

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 13
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — To hear pro-abortion members of Congress tell the story last weekend, women will head to the back alleys to have abortions unless they can get taxpayer funding for their abortions. Those were the unfounded claims presented during the House debate on the Stupak amendment.

Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, said during the debate, "This amendment takes us one step back to those dark days of back-alley abortions"

Jane Harmon, another California Democrat, added, "I am old enough to remember the days of back alley abortions. Some women I know had them. I cannot bear the idea that the 111th Congress would restore that horror."

Even men such as Florida Democrat Alcee Hastings said he foresaw a "a return to the dark ages."

Then, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, speaking on the Senate floor in the days after the Stupak amendment was adopted, also claimed it would force women to "return to back-alley providers."

Terry O’Neill, the president of the National Organization of Women, echoed the false claims by saying that it is "not acceptable’ to have a bill with an abortion funding ban that is "pushing women back into the back alleys to die.”

The Stupak amendment, she claims, “does just that.”

Never mind that the Guttmacher Institute, the former Planned Parenthood research affiliate that still supports legalized abortion, indicates only 13 percent of women get their abortions paid for with insurance funds.

Never mind that the Hyde amendment, prohibiting direct federal taxpayer funding for abortions through the Medicaid program, has been in place since the 1970s without any evidence of women resorting to self-administered abortions.

Ramesh Ponnuru, a writer at National Review, noticed the bogus claims.

"Is there any evidence that the ban on federal Medicaid funding for abortion has had any such effect over the past three decades?" he wondered.

The pro-abortion movement has always used illegal abortion myths to make its case, though usually against prohibiting abortions and not their funding.

The argument that hundreds of thousands of women died in illegal abortions prior to the Roe v. Wade decision, which allowed virtually unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason, is untrue.

NARAL’s own co-founder, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, admits the organization lied about the number of women who died from illegal abortions when testifying before the Supreme Court in 1972.

"We spoke of 5,000 – 10,000 deaths a year…. I confess that I knew the figures were totally false … it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics?" he said.

According to figures from the National Center for Health Statistics and the Center for Disease Control, women continued to die from abortions — even after they became legal nationwide.

The numbers show legalizing abortion didn’t make it any safer as 25 women died from legal abortions in 1973, 25 in 1974, and 29 in 1975.

From 1976 through 1987, another 135 women died from legal abortions — although some observers suspect the numbers are very low estimates because not all deaths are reported.

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