U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg employed an old, often debunked pro-abortion argument in her decision today to overturn a Texas abortion law credited with saving tens of thousands of babies’ lives.
Ginsburg was one of the five liberal justices to overturn the law in a devastating abortion ruling Monday. The ruling, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, overturned a Texas law requiring that abortion clinics meet common-sense health and safety standards and that abortionists have hospital admitting privileges in cases of patient emergencies.
Pro-lifers believe the Supreme Court ruling will endanger women and allow back alley abortionists like Kermit Gosenell to practice on main street. Gosnell is a jailed Pennsylvania abortion practitioner who notoriously killed and injured women and newborn babies at his shoddy Philadelphia abortion center.
In her opinion, however, Ginsburg claimed that abortion clinic regulations were not necessary, in part, because abortion is safer than childbirth, according to the Washington Post.
Ginsburg wrote: “Many medical procedures, including childbirth, are far more dangerous to patients, yet are not subject to ambulatory surgical-center or hospital admitting-privileges requirements.”
The newspaper gave credence to Ginsburg’s argument by citing a study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, which estimated that the risk of a woman dying after childbirth was 10 times greater than after an abortion.
This common pro-abortion talking point has been debunked numerous times. First and foremost, abortion never is safer for the unborn child. An abortion almost always destroys an unborn human being’s life.
It is not accurate to say that abortion is safer for the woman, either. At the very least, researchers point out that the U.S. does not receive enough data from abortion facilities to make that conclusion. Several European studies have refuted the claim even further, concluding that more women die after abortions than childbirth.
Anna Paprocki, an attorney at Americans United for Life, recently wrote an article explaining how U.S. abortion data is known to be incomplete and unreliable. This makes it hard to make any conclusions regarding the safety of abortion, she wrote.
Dr. Byron Calhoun, vice chair of West Virginia University-Charleston’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, published research in 2013 that explained how little data Americans have about abortion complications and maternal deaths. He wrote in the Catholic medical journal Linacre Quarterly:
There are numerous and complicated methodological factors that make a valid scientific assessment of abortion mortality extremely difficult. Among the many factors responsible are incomplete reporting, definitional incompatibilities, voluntary data collection, research bias, reliance upon estimations, political correctness, inaccurate and/or incomplete death certificate completion, incomparability with maternal mortality statistics, and failing to include other causes of death such as suicides. Given the importance of this disclosure about abortion mortality, the lack of credible and reliable scientific evidence supporting this representation requires substantial discussion.
There also is evidence that legalizing abortion does not reduce maternal mortality rates. In countries like Ireland and Poland that largely protect unborn babies from abortion, maternal mortality rates are lower than neighboring countries where abortion is legal. In fact, Ireland has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world. A study from Chile also found that maternal mortality declined because of better access to health care, not changes in the country’s abortion laws.
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As a result of the high court’s decision on Monday, pro-lifers argue that more women actually could be at risk of injury and death at abortion clinics.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Altio also alluded to this in his dissenting opinion: “Gosnell had not been actively supervised by state or local authorities or by his peers, and the Philadelphia grand jury that investigated the case recommended that the Commonwealth adopt a law requiring abortion clinics to comply with the same regulations as ASCs [ambulatory surgical centers]. If Pennsylvania had had such a requirement in force, the Gosnell facility may have been shut down before his crimes. And if there were any similarly unsafe facilities in Texas, H. B. 2 was clearly intended to put them out of business.”
Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the Pennsylvania affiliate of National Right to Life, said the Gosnell case showed how dangerous it was to allow the abortion industry to police itself.
“The Supreme Court has sided with abortionists over women in this disturbing decision,” Gallagher said. “Women’s health and safety could be severely compromised as a result of this ruling.”
“Before the revelations about Gosnell, hair and nail salons were more stringently regulated than abortion facilities,” she continued. “The Gosnell case clearly showed that the abortion industry has not been policing itself—that the state needs to step in to protect women. We are saddened that the Supreme Court has issued a ruling that could prevent future Gosnells from being put out of business.”