Saturday, June 01, 2013

Would More Women Die if Roe Fell?

Deceived or lying?
A common claim among abortion advocates is that although legal abortion deaths are indeed sad, they're only a pale shadow of the carnage that would ensue were legal protection restored to unborn children. They use these claims to garner support among those otherwise reluctant to support legal abortion as well as to slander life advocates.

I find no fault with people who innocently believe what they've been told. by people and organizations that they considered trustworthy. But once you have learned the truth, you have a responsibility to hold those who deceived you accountable and to stop passing on the deceptive claims. If you can't defend your stand without lying, should you be defending it at all?

There are two approaches Big Abortion takes when trying to scare people into supporting legal abortion as a means of protecting women's lives:
  1. Outright lying. They will trot out the long-disproven claim that 5,000 to 10,000 women were dying every year from abortion before legalization.
  2. Lying by omission. They will use numbers that are accurate, but will totally remove them from context in order to draw a conclusion that is demonstrably false.
Let's start with the outright lie: that 5,000 to 10,000 were dying annually in the US from abortions prior to criminalization.

Where did the numbers come from? Here's an interesting exercise: When you see the 5,000 to 10,000 deaths claim, check and see who they cite (if they even bother to cite a source at all). Odds are it will be Lawrence "Larry" Lader or some other late 1960's early 1970's abortion guru. This gives the impression that Lader (or whoever) looked at whatever the then-current situation was and wrote up his findings. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Dr. Frederick Taussig
The original source was a book -- Abortion, Spontaneous and Induced -- published in 1936 by Dr. Frederick Taussig, a leading proponent of legalization of abortion. Taussig calculated an urban abortion rate based on records of a New York City birth control clinic, and a rural abortion rate based on some numbers given to him by some doctors in Iowa. He took a guess at a mortality rate, multiplied by his strangely generated estimate of how many criminal abortions were taking place, and presto! A myth is born!

At a conference* in 1942, Taussig himself apologized for using "the wildest estimates" to generate a bogus number.

Although it took Taussig six years to reject his own faulty calculations, at least he did admit that he'd been wrong. Other abortion enthusiasts lacked Taussig's compunctions.

Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL,** admitted that he and his associates knew that the claims of 5,000 to 10,000 criminal abortion deaths were false. They bandied them about anyway, Nathanson confessed, because they were useful. This, too, is old news -- Nathanson came clean in 1979 when he published Aborting America.

The abortion lobby has had nearly three quarters of a century to drop the numbers after Taussig himself admitted that they were wrong. Abortion supporters have had over thirty years since they were outed in public for lying. Still, as Nathanson said, the number is useful. It's scary. This is why friends of Big Abortion, such as Barbara Boxer and NARAL ProChoice Oregon, still continue to lie.

If you have to lie and scare people into joining your cause, it seems like it's time for a little quiet reflection.

Now for the lying by omission, which typically involves taking fairly reliable abortion mortality numbers from before and after legalization then crediting legalization for the drop. No less prestigious organization than the Alan Guttmacher Institute uses this statistical legerdemain: "As the availability of legally induced abortion increased, mortality due to abortion dropped sharply: The number of abortion-related deaths per million live births fell from nearly 40 in 1970 to eight in 1976."

The truth is that you can take virtually any time period from when public health officials first started collecting the data and you'll find that abortion mortality fell.The only exception is a strange leveling-off in the 1950s that I've been unable to account for:

Are abortion advocates suggesting that somehow the loosening of abortion laws in some states in 1968 and 1969, the open gates to abortion-on-demand in New York in 1970, and Roe vs. Wade in 1973 somehow retroactively caused the fall in abortion mortality during the 1940s?

Milan Vuitch
What caused abortion mortality to fall precipitously wasn't legalization. Legalization didn't even make a blip in the trends, likely because for every non-physician whose business fell away, a physician abortionist became sloppy once the risk of a prison sentence for botching an abortion was gone. I know of three erstwhile criminal abortionists -- Jesse Ketchum, Milan Vuitch, and Benjamin Munson -- who kept their noses clean prior to legalization but each went on to practice appallingly sloppy abortions that killed two patients after legalization.

What does this mean for a Post-Roe America?

It means we're not going to see a huge surge in abortion deaths. It was improvements in medical care that reduced abortion mortality before legalization, and those improvements in medical care will keep abortion mortality low after Roe falls.

This doesn't mean that Big Abortion won't get somebody killed and then parade the corpse around. They're pushing hard to convince vulnerable women that if there isn't a handy-dandy abortion clinic on the corner, there will be no choice but to reach for the rustiest coathanger in the closet. In times of stress, people tend to run on autopilot, so a woman who has heard nothing for years but "You'll have no choice but to resort to a dangerous abortion" will likely do just that: resort to a dangerous abortion.

The truth, though, is that everything is already in place to prevent any woman from ever dying from a botched abortion ever again. Prolife pregnancy help centers already outnumber dedicated abortion facilities three-to-one. As aging abortionists retire and seedy mills get shut down by the authorities in the wake of the Gosnell scandal, the balance will shift even further toward organizations that help women to address the issues that make them think abortion is their only choice. The abortion lobby, however, is doing everything in their power to hamstring  these resources and to maintain the illusion that if a pregnant woman is facing challenges, somebody has to die.***

There is still much work to do, but we can be ready so that when legal protection is removed from abortionists and restored to the unborn and their vulnerable mothers, Big Abortion gets shut down once and for all.

Nobody -- not one mother, not one baby -- needs to die.

*The Abortion Problem: Proceedings of the Conference Held Under the Auspices of the National Committee on Maternal Health, Inc., at the New York Academy of Medicine, June 19th and 20th, 1942

**National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, later renamed National Abortion Rights Association, now called NARAL Pro-Choice America

***Why don't the champions of "choice" offer alternatives other than abortion? If the point is choice, rather than abortion, shouldn't there be a whole movement of prochoice activists running pregnancy help centers that are like what they say the prolifers should be running -- offering all of the services prolife centers offer and referring for abortion if the woman doesn't want the other services?

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