Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Bad Old Days

It never hurts to review. What were the bad old days of abortion really like?

Mary Claderone (then Medical Director of Planned Parenthood) and Nancy Howell Lee (a pro choice researcher) both investigated the practice of criminal abortion in the pre-legalization era. Calderone estimated that 90% of all illegal abortions in the early 1960s were being done by physicians. Calderone further estimated that 8% were self-induced and that 2% were induced by someone other than the woman or a doctor. Lee estimated that 89% of pre-legalization abortions were done by physicians, an additional 5% by nurses or others with some medical training, and 6% were done by non-medical persons or the woman herself.

Anecdotal data tends to support Lee's research. Stories of abortions by midwives, orderlies, chiropractors, and assorted lay practitioners like Harvey Karman (pictured) and the Jane Syndicate are far too common to represent only 2% of criminal abortions. We would probably not err too far if we relied primarily on Lee's numbers and adjusted them slightly to reflect the slight under-reporting of amateur abortions. Thus, a fair estimate of the breakdown of criminal abortions would probably look like this:

90% performed by physicians, either illegally or through loopholes in the law
5% performed by trained non-physicians (medical and lay)
5% performed by amateurs, either the woman or somebody else

This is a far cry from what the abortion lobby commonly claims.



For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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1 comment:

Dakuro said...

This topic doesn't really have an end... even if you try to kill your baby with cheap viagra it's a crime, I guess that the abbortion it's good for woman that don't have childs.