Abortion proponents are now urgently making deceptive claims about what will happen if the procedure is banned or if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Though many of the claims have already been debunked, pro-choice advocates have not hesitated to repeat them often.
Claim #1:“Thousands of women died from illegal abortions prior to Roe v. Wade.”
Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, has been seen on talk-shows and has posted to Twitter that if her organization is defunded or abortion is banned, women’s lives will be endangered.
“Thousands of women died before Roe v. Wade,” Wen told the Daily Show. “That could happen now.”
However, Planned Parenthood’s own fact sheets tell a very different story.
Wen’s organization states:
In 1965, when abortion was still illegal nationwide except in cases of life endangerment, at least 193 women died from illegal abortions, and illegal abortion accounted for nearly 17 percent of all deaths due to pregnancy and childbirth in that year (Gold, 1990; NCHS, 1967).
The pro-choice Guttmacher Institute also reported:
By 1950, illegal abortion deaths fell to “just over 300,” likely “because of the introduction of antibiotics in 1940s, which permitted more effective treatment of the infections frequently developed after illegal abortion.”
By 1965, “the number of deaths due to illegal abortion had fallen to just under 200.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 1972, the year before the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe, 24 women died from legal induced abortion – legal in a handful of states in which abortion in some very limited cases was permitted – and 39 women died from illegal abortion.
In 1973, when the Supreme Court created a right to abortion, CDC reported 19 deaths from illegal abortions and 25 deaths from legal abortions.
Though abortion reporting measures have not been consistent – leading to differing results – none of the reports gave the indication that “thousands” of women died in illegal abortions prior to Roe v. Wade.
As pro-life organization Live Action reported, NARAL founder and former abortionist Bernard Nathanson admitted he and others fabricated large numbers of deaths from illegal abortions prior to the high court’s decision in Roe.
According to the report, in his 1979 book, Aborting America, Nathanson called the “thousands” claim a “nice, round, shocking figure.”
Life News reported Nathanson said of the fabrication, “[I]n the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics?”
Wen and other abortion industry leaders, however, are still suggesting “thousands” of lives will be endangered if abortion is banned. The fact is, women still die during “legal” abortions and “thousands” of children die each year because abortion is not banned. Planned Parenthood aborts the lives of more than 300,000 children each year.
Claim #2:“Maternal mortality rates increased in Texas after funding cuts to Planned Parenthood clinics.”
This claim is still being repeated by abortion advocates and their allies in politics and the media, despite having been debunked over a year ago. Wen repeats it in this tweeted video message:
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 20, 2019
“We know what happens when our health centers are forced to close around the country,” Wen told NowThisNews. “In Texas, 30,000 women went without access to care. Maternal mortality rates increased.”
The Washington Post published a fact-check Tuesday with the headline, “No, maternal mortality did not spike in Texas after funding cuts to abortion clinics.”
Glenn Kessler at the Post conducted the fact-check following Rep. Don Beyer’s (D-VA) comments last week in a House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
Anti-abortion bills increase maternal mortality and infant mortality. Texas is the best case. The reported rate of maternal deaths in Texas doubled when the state closed their abortion clinics and cut funding for Planned Parenthood. The fact is that if Texas was a country it would have the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country in the world.
However, the data cited by Beyer on the alleged increased maternal deaths in Texas was shown to be flawed more than one year ago, and yet is still being cited as well by Wen, who frequently touts her physician’s credentials.
To summarize, the study claimed the maternal mortality rate (MMR) in Texas had quickly doubled, and abortion supporters and left-wing media added the spin that the “doubling” was due to Texas’ defunding of Planned Parenthood.
As Kessler explained, Marian MacDorman conducted the flawed study on MMR in Texas that generated the claim. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Obstetrics and Gynecology(ObGyn).
The Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force found errors in the original study and corrected the 2012 data from 38.4 deaths per 100,000 live births to 14.6 per 100,000 live births.
Ryan Bomberger, chief creative officer at the Radiance Foundation, noted that while Planned Parenthood was still receiving taxpayer funds in Texas, MMR even tripled among black women.
“What the MacDorman study, or any pro-Planned Parenthood mainstream media outlets, won’t tell you is that the MMR of black women skyrocketed long before Texas defunded a Medicaid-defrauding abortion chain (Planned Parenthood paid $4.3 million for filing false Medicaid claims in Texas),” Bomberger wrote.
In 2017, Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) scholars James Studnicki and John Fisher had already debunked the MacDorman study, exposing its flawed methodology, and informed ObGyn months before the Texas Task Force report.
CLI President Chuck Donovan commented:
Total maternal deaths in Texas were less than half what MacDorman concluded in her heralded study – 56 deaths, rather than 147. Moreover, Texas had experienced a spike in maternal deaths almost a decade earlier, and California had experienced an even larger one, facts MacDorman’s study had obscured because of its failure to apply a mathematical adjustment to historical data across the board.
Interestingly, Patrice Harris, president-elect of the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees also cited the flawed study in her testimony before Beyer’s committee hearing last week.
[T]he fact that Beyer’s staff originally missed the revision, as did the AMA in its testimony, demonstrates that the news that the original study was based on flawed data has not traveled far enough. It’s been a year since Hollier’s task force published the revised numbers – more than enough time to eliminate this talking point. Lawmakers should not try to make public policy by relying on bad data.
Kessler found Beyer’s comments to be false.
Claim #3: “Government shouldn’t be involved in women’s reproductive decisions.”
Abortion advocates often say they want government “out of my uterus,” a statement that suggests they want to be able to have as many abortions as they want, for whatever reason, and at any time during pregnancy, without any restrictions from any level of government.
These same advocates, however, show no concern when government interferes in “reproductive health care” for their benefit.
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 21, 2019
When Obamacare mandated that health insurance plans provide coverage for free contraceptives, sterilization procedures, and abortion-inducing drugs, abortion advocates praised that government interference.
Employers had no forced involvement in their employees’ sex life decisions – which birth control method they used, its cost, etc., until Obamacare came along. It was Barack Obama’s signature government-run health insurance reform that forced employers to become involved in “reproductive” health decisions.
Many on the pro-choice side have no problem as well with the fact that faith groups whose beliefs conflict with contraception and abortion-inducing drugs have been forced by the government – via Obamacare – to become engaged in paying for the intimate sexual behavior decisions of others.
In sum, if the “government interference” in “reproductive health care” benefits abortion advocates, they appear to be all for it. If the government restricts abortion to save unborn lives, this “interference” is then an “undue burden” that prevents them from exercising their right to abortion.
.@ACOG stands firmly against #abortionbans. Abortion #AccessIs essential for our patient's health and these medically-unnecessary restrictions constitute political interference in the practice of medicine. #stopthebans Read our full statement: https://t.co/vRluPwxa9W pic.twitter.com/S3jteZUEGq
— ACOG Action (@ACOGAction) May 17, 2019
In support of the abortion industry and against restrictions on the procedure, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) tweeted, “Abortion #AccessIsessential for our patient’s health and these medically-unnecessary restrictions constitute political interference in the practice of medicine.”
Claim #4:“Pro-life people are only concerned about unborn babies, but never support welfare programs.”
Lyman Stone, a research fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, wrote in a column at the Federalist Monday that “the implicit argument” in this claim is that “banning abortion won’t save lives but that supporting progressive priorities will, or at least that progressive policies will save more lives.”
Let’s not kid ourselves. Abortion restrictions work. They have large, rapid effects and save tens of thousands of lives from the cruelty of murder in the womb.https://t.co/zTx7jBWfEo
— The Federalist (@FDRLST) May 20, 2019
Stone points to a tweet by the Atlantic’s David Frum that embodies this claim:
“Hypothesis: a $500/month per child mother’s allowance – not a tax credit, a check – would do more to reduce abortion than any law,” Frum wrote.
Hypothesis: a $500/month per child mother's allowance – not a tax credit, a check – would do more to reduce abortion than any law.
— David Frum (@davidfrum) May 15, 2019
To address this claim, Stone looked at what resulted in Poland, South Korea, and Austria – all nations that changed their abortion laws.
Poland banned the procedure between the 1920s and 1950s until Soviet authorities pressured the country to legalize it, Stone explained. Abortion policy was liberalized further during the 1960s, but then, in the 1980s, the procedure was more restricted.
After the fall of the U.S.S.R. in the early 1990s, abortion was banned in Poland, except in a few cases.
Ultimately, the legalization of abortion in the 1960s led to a dramatic rise in the procedure in Poland. As more restrictions were placed on the procedure, abortion rates fell sharply.
South Korea banned the procedure until 1961, when the country engaged in population control and eased restrictions. In 1973, abortion became legalized in South Korea.
Concerns about sex-selection abortions, however, caused another change in policy. In 2005, South Korea introduced more restrictions on abortion.
Abortion rates rose by about 10 percent of reported conceptions when South Korea liberalized their policy. When the country reduced access to abortion, abortion rates fell.
When Austria legalized the procedure, the country experienced what Stone described as “an immediate increase in the share of conceptions ending in death by about 8 percentage points.”
This argument is old, tired, and demonstrably false. Do bans on theft, child abuse & murder just make us feel better? When you legalize something, it happens more. The abortion rate spiked when Roe v Wade made it legal. It should be unlawful to kill a child in the womb. https://t.co/2ZtFjTlW6r
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) May 19, 2019
“Abortion restrictions work,” Stone concluded. “They have large, rapid effects and save tens of thousands of lives from the cruelty of murder in the womb.”
The CDC released a report in November that revealed the number of abortions in the United States has reached its lowest level since the Supreme Court’s decision in 1973.
However, the number of abortions Planned Parenthood performs has increased.
In contrast to the 321,384 abortions performed in year 2016-2017, Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report, released in January, states the organization performed 332,757 abortions in 2017-2018 – 11,373 more abortions than in the previous year.
Claim #5: “1 in 4 women will have an abortion in their lifetimes.”
As noted, the CDC observed the abortion rate is at its lowest rate since Roe v. Wade.
According to the agency:
In 2015, 638,169 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2015 was 11.8 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 188 abortions per 1,000 live births.
Compared with 2014, the total number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions for 2015 decreased 2%. Additionally, from 2006 to 2015, the number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions decreased 24%, 26%, and 19%, respectively. In 2015, all three measures reached their lowest level for the entire period of analysis (2006—2015).
Claim #6: “Abortions ‘that occur later in pregnancy are because something in the pregnancy has gone very wrong.”
Wen has repeatedly made the claim that the procedure is performed in the third trimester of pregnancy due to “severe fetal abnormalities” or “serious risks to the woman’s health.”
90% of abortions occur before 21 weeks. As a doctor & public health expert, I can tell you that those that occur later often result from a diagnosis of severe fetal abnormalities, or serious risks to the woman's health.
— Leana Wen, M.D. (@DrLeanaWen) February 6, 2019
Abortionists themselves, however, admit Wen’s claim is not true.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, admitted in 1997 partial birth abortions were not that rare.
“The abortion rights folks know it, the anti-abortion folks know it and so, probably, does everyone else,” he said, adding that he “lied through [his] teeth” during a Nightline interview when he said partial-birth abortions were rarely performed and only due to fetal anomalies and serious health risks to the mother.
"The majority of these procedures [late-term abortions] are performed… on healthy women and healthy fetuses." – Ron Fitzsimmons, Director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers https://t.co/S8IiG32gr9
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) February 6, 2019
Murdered abortionist George Tiller told National Abortion Federation attendees in 1995, “We have some experience with late terminations; about 10,000 patients between 24 and 36 weeks and something like 800 fetal anomalies between 26 and 36 weeks in the past 5 years.”
“That equates to a mere eight percent of Tiller’s late-term patients who aborted because their babies were diagnosed prenatally with a health condition,” pro-life organization Live Action observed.
Additionally, a study released in 2013 by Guttmacher found that women who were seeking both first-trimester and late-term abortions provided the same reasons for delaying the procedure, including “not knowing about the pregnancy,” “trouble deciding about the abortion,” and “disagreeing about the abortion with the man involved.”
The study concluded that “most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.”