During today’s confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, pro-abortion California Senator Diane Feinstein made false claims about the number of women supposedly dying from illegal abortions. Her allegation comes one day after she erroneously claimed during hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that she sentenced women to jail for having illegal abortions.
Feinstein claimed “a lot of women died” from illegal abortions before Roe and pegged the figures at between “200,000 and 1.2 million.”
“Deaths from illegal abortions in this country ran between 200,000 and 1.2 million … so, a lot of women died in that period,” Feinstein falsely claimed.
The fact is that even abortion activists have admitted that the notion of women dying in so-called back-alley abortions before Roe is a myth because most abortions done prior to 1973 were done by doctors whose illegal abortions became legal after that infamous Supreme Court decision.
In 1960, Dr. Mary Calderone, the medical director of Planned Parenthood, wrote in the American Journal of Public Health:
“… about 90 percent of all illegal abortions are presently being done by physicians…Whatever trouble arises usually arises from self-induced abortions, which comprise approximately 8 percent, or with the very small percentage that go to some kind of non-medical abortionist…So remember…abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is in the main no longer dangerous, because it is being done well by physicians.”
Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist and co-founder of NARAL, also later admitted that their “statistics” about back alley abortions were false.
Nathanson said NARAL often claimed between 5,000 and 10,000 women died every year from dangerous, back alley abortions and argued that legalizing abortions would protect women in America.
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He wrote: “I confess that I knew that the figures were totally false and I suppose that others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted … The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible.”
Actual government statistic prior to the Roe decision in 1973 show nowhere near 1.2 million women (or even 200,000) died in abortions. A 1972 Center for Disease Control report noted the maternal death rate from abortions was 39 in the United States, the year prior to Roe.
And legalizing Roe hasn’t made it safer. CDC reports indicate women still die from legal, supposedly “safe” abortions. As of 2008, the CDC reported more than 400 women died from legal abortions in the United States, including 12 that year. The most recent annual report from the CDC says four women died from abortion complications in 2013.
Notably, the CDC reports its statistics are incomplete. States are not required to report abortion data, and some – including California, the state with the highest number of abortions – often do not. So, there likely are even more women who have died from supposedly “safe, legal” abortions in the United States.
Just as important, though, is the fact that an abortion is never a safe procedure. Its very purpose is to kill a unique, living unborn baby, and about 60 million of them have been killed in abortions since Roe. That is why pro-lifers do not just want an end to Roe. They want an end to abortions altogether so that the lives of unborn babies and their mothers will be protected.