Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Where are all the coathangers?

This review of The Last Abortion Clinic features an interesting quote:
''It's like even before Roe v. Wade for these poor women," says Pat White, an OB-GYN nurse who has worked for 30 years at public health clinics in the Mississippi Delta.

We've been told time and again that before Roe, women were flooding emergency rooms and morgues, impaled on coathangers. But there's no mention of that happening in Mississippi.

Let's look at the CDC's stats on Mississippi abortions prior to PP v. Casey, the SCOTUS decision that allowed states to start regulating abortion. In 1991, the CDC's abortion surveillance indicates that 8,184 abortions were performed in Mississippi, out of 1,388,937 abortions reported for the entire US. That's .6% (six-tenths of one percent) of all abortions. We're also told that 5,000 - 10,000 women were dying from botched abortions every year in the US prior to Roe. That would mean that 30 - 60 women were dying of botched abortions in Mississippi every year before Roe.

So if the hysteria mongers are right, there are virtually no legal abortions being done in Mississippi, and perhaps as many as 60 women are dying from botched illegal abortions.

Let's look at the most recent numbers. The most recent abortion surveillance numbers put out by the CDC are for 2001. According to their numbers, 6,983 women submitted to abortions in Mississippi, out of 752,283 reported nationwide. (The CDC's numbers are low because many states don't report.) So though the overall numbers dropped 1,201 (15%), the percentage of US abortions performed in Mississippi climbed 33%! How's that for lack of "access"?

And what about the 30-50 dead women we should be expecting, since Mississippi's abortion situation is now "like even before Roe v. Wade? Well, the CDC counted a total of 12 induced abortion deaths in the US for 1991 (11 legal and 1 illegal), but for 2000 they counted 11 legal and no illegal. So for all these horrible restrictions unleashed after 1991, we're not seeing all the coathanger-impaled women we were told would be inevitable.

The point is this: restrictions on abortions result in fewer abortions, with no rise in the number of women dying as a result of their abortions.

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