Sitting in a posh Upper East Side of Manhattan home, feminist lawyer Gloria Allred claimed she “had” to abort her unborn baby when she was a young woman prior to Roe v. Wade.
Allred recently sat down for an interview with The Guardian, joined by fellow feminist Gloria Steinem at her home in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country. They talked about their work, politics and their abortion advocacy, among other things.
“The issue of reproductive rights and who controls a woman’s body is so essential now, because it is being challenged. There are a lot of legislators all over the world who are still trying to control women’s bodies,” the 78-year-old Allred said.
She argued that abortions are dangerous when they are not legal, and brought up her own abortion experience prior to 1973.
“I was a person who had to have an abortion prior to Roe v Wade,” Allred said.
“Women like me had to go to people who gave back-alley abortions, who were not licensed health care providers, and I hemorrhaged and almost died – some did die, from illegal abortions,” she said. “I had to be taken to a hospital with a 106-degree fever, packed in ice, and the nurse told me – and this was after getting pregnant from a rape in Mexico – the nurse told me, ‘Well, I hope this will teach you a lesson.’”
Allred said the experience prompted her to become an advocate for abortion.
“So I said, many years later, it did teach me a lesson: that abortion should be safe, legal, affordable and available,” she said.
What happened to Allred was tragic, but it did not have to happen. She could have chosen life for her unborn baby, as many rape victims do. An abortion was not necessary. It destroyed her baby’s life and put her own in jeopardy when there were better, safer options: parenting or adoption.
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Allred’s implication that abortions are safe when they are legal is not true either. Women continue to be injured and killed along with their unborn babies in supposedly “safe, legal” abortions in the U.S.
The back alley abortion myth has been debunked time after time. A recent Washington Post fact check confirmed what pro-life advocates have been saying for years: that few women died from abortions in the decade prior to Roe, and a rise in the use of antibiotics appears to be the biggest factor in the drop in maternal deaths, not legalized abortions.
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.”
Government statistic prior to Roe confirm Calderone’s statements. 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.
A founder of the pro-abortion group NARAL also later admitted that their claims about thousands of women dying from unsafe abortions annually was “totally false.”
Making abortions legal, as Allred and Steinem want, does not help women. It only leads to more deaths. Since 1973, at least 61 million unborn babies have been aborted in America. Women have died, too. As of 2008, the Centers for Disease Control 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 three women died from abortion complications in 2015.
Women and their babies deserve better.