Even the liberal mainstream media did not let pro-abortion U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein get away with a “dramatically exaggerated” comment about back-alley abortion deaths.
The California Democrat made the comment Wednesday during the confirmation hearing on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Speaking about abortion, Feinstein falsely claimed between “200,000 and 1.2 million” women died from illegal abortions prior to Roe v. Wade.
“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 claimed. “I don’t want to go back to those death tolls in this country.”
LifeNews quickly fact-checked Feinstein’s comments. But surprisingly at least two mainstream media outlets also called out her error.
Both cited research from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute to refute her claim:
The Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, cites estimates in a 2003 report that 200,000 to 1.2 million illegal abortions were performed in the 1950s and 1960s in the U.S. The report says the number of deaths from illegal abortion dropped from just under 1,700 in 1940 to just over 300 by 1950 and a little under 200 by 1965. The Supreme Court established a constitutional right to abortion in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Feinstein spokeswoman Ashley Schapitl explained the error in a comment to USA Today, saying, “She meant to cite just the number of illegal procedures, not deaths.”
Widely-regarded abortion activists with Planned Parenthood and NARAL also have said the number of back-alley abortion deaths were small.
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 his organization 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.
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 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.
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.