Culture Watch 13 July 2015
The pro-abortion camp is fond of speaking about rusty coat-hanger abortions and other horror stories associated with illegal abortions. They claim we must have legal abortion or we will return to the bad old days where so many mothers are said to have died. But there are a number of mistruths and deceptions going on here.
First, legalising abortion did not make abortion safer. It was made safer in the 1940s and onwards with the availability of antibiotics. As one researcher put it, “Death rates from infections and all types of surgeries, including illegal abortions, had already fallen precipitously after World War II, when antibiotics finally became available to the general public.”
Second, the majority of abortions performed before legalisation was done in doctor’s offices, something even Planned Parenthood has admitted. Indeed, as Randy Alcorn states, “The majority of physicians performing abortions after legalization were the same ones doing it before legalization”.
Third, the claim that thousands of women died each year in America before the 1973 decision to legalise abortion is simply not true. Bernard Nathanson ought to know. He was a leading abortionist during this period – having performed 60,000 abortions – and helped to make up this figure of 5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year. He says:
“I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in 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? The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible”.