|5 Myths About “Back Alley” Abortions (2011) (from Physicians for Life)|
The Truth About “Back Alley” Abortions
The truth is that legal abortion has increased, rather than prevented, the pain, suffering and exploitation of women.1
Prior to legalization, 90 percent of illegal abortions were done by physicians.2 Most of the remainder were done by nurses, midwives or others with at least some medical training.
The term “back alley” referred not to where abortions were performed, but to how women were instructed to enter the doctor’s office after hours, through the back alley, to avoid arousing neighbors’ suspicions.
This pseudo-fact was much repeated by the media. The late Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the co-founders of the National Abortion Rights Action League [NARAL] and the obstetrician/ gynecologist who directed what was in the 1970s the world’s largest abortion business, later revealed that leading abortion proponents knew this figure was false but considered it to be “useful” in their public relations campaign.3
Even Planned Parenthood’s own leading statisticians admitted that the official statistics on deaths resulting from illegal abortion were very accurately reported prior to 1973.
In 1972, there were 39 maternal deaths related to illegal abortion, not the thousands proclaimed by pro-abortionists.
In fact, deaths from illegal abortions were already declining or leveling off prior to 1973. After legalization, this trend remained unchanged. Deaths eliminated from the illegal abortion column were replaced by deaths resulting from legal abortion.
However, since 1973, whenever a legal abortion results in a maternal death the underlying cause is often, and perhaps usually, ignored or disguised on death certificates.
Most recently, a single researcher examining public records was able to document 50 percent more deaths related to legal abortion than had been reported in the “official” government reports.6
The researcher, Kevin Sherlock, insisted that even his efforts have uncovered only a small fraction of these misclassified abortion related deaths.
Further, researchers in Finland who linked women’s death certificates to their medical records found that 94 percent of maternal deaths associated with abortion are not identifiable as such when looking at the the death certificates alone.
This was another made-up number intended to shock the public with the “overwhelming” dimensions of this unstoppable problem. Scientific estimates based on known deaths and complications related to illegal abortion show that the actual rate of illegal abortions was in the range of 60,000 to 200,000 per year.
In addition, among those women who did procure an illegal abortion, the reported rate of physical complications was almost identical to the complication rate related to legal abortions. This last fact is not surprising since most illegal abortions were already performed by physicians.7
[ED. There are now at least 1.2 million legal abortions performed in the USA every year. Does that make the devastation any better?]
Surveys of women undergoing legal abortions confirm that only 6 to 20 percent would have considered seeking an illegal abortion if it was not legally available.
This finding also confirms that legalization of abortion has replaced every illegal abortion that we sought to avoid with between ten and fifteen legal abortions.8
[ED. Laws are educative. If something is legal, the general public assumes it is morally acceptable.]
Further, research and anecdotal evidence finds that most women having abortions are pressured or coerced to do so by someone else — and that most abortions are likely unwanted.
Before 1973, women could refuse an unwanted abortion on the grounds that it was illegal, unsafe and immoral.
Legalization has made it easier for those around her to insist that because abortion is legal it must be “safe,” and because it is “socially approved,” it must be moral. It makes it easier for them to refuse to support her desire to continue the pregnancy and insist that she abort anyway.
For example, when actress Hunter Tylo was fired from the TV show Melrose Place after she became pregnant, her pregnancy discrimination suit quoted a producer as saying, “Why doesn’t she just go out and have an abortion? Then she can work.” 9
Any marginal improvements in the safety of legal abortions, as compared to illegal abortions, are more than offset by the astronomical increase in the number of women exposed to the inherent risks of induced abortion, legal or illegal.
While the percentage of women dying from abortion is lower, the actual number of women dying has increased.
The actual number of women suffering physical complications has increased.
The actual number of women suffering psychological complications has increased.
The suffering of women, men, and families has not been reduced by legalization; it has been increased.
Women with a history of abortion are 3.5 times more likely to die following abortion and six times more likely to commit suicide than are women who give birth. They are also more prone to substance abuse and other forms of risky behavior that may lead to death.
Indeed, more than 30 studies published in the last five years alone have linked abortion to higher rates of mental health problems, including depression, substance abuse, suicidal behavior, and anxiety disorders — including symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
More abortions, not safer abortions
The basic flaw in this argument is the false assumption that a change in legal status can make safe a medical act that is inherently unsafe.
It is also absurd to believe that legalizing abortion will not increase the abortion rate or expose a whole new group of women to the danger of being pressured into unwanted abortions.
Indeed, the available evidence shows that abortion is instead associated with a worsening of the physical, emotional, economic, and social well-being of women.
Easy access to abortion has made it easier, not harder, for men to abandon their wives and girlfriends.
In addition, women with a history of abortion are more likely to experience breast cancer, substance abuse, sleep disorders, sexual dysfunction, suicidal impulses, psychiatric hospitalization, and other problems.
Through the legalization of abortion, they have succeeded in reducing the birth rates among the “lower classes” and racial minorities, which was exactly their goal. But the cost to women has been tremendous.
Deceptive business practices, negligence, and even sexual abuse of patients are well documented throughout the abortion industry.11
Kevin Sherlock, author of Victims of Choice, has accurately described the present situation with this memorable comment: “While abortion is legal, it is still practiced with the ethics of the back alley.”
In a letter posted at Fredricksburg.com, Eileen Roberts, president of Mothers and Advocates for Mothers Alone, and the mother of a teen girl injured by abortion, wrote:
Defending the Pro-Life Position,
By Olivia Gans and
(from National Right to Life)
It is incumbent upon each of us in the pro-life movement to learn (and it most definitely can be learned) how to persuasively talk about life issues – and never, never miss the opportunity to speak on behalf of those who have no voice. It literally can be the difference between who will live and who will die.
Ryan Scott Bomberger: A Rape Victim's Child Speaks Up for Right to Life
10 Responses to
If you've ever written to a pro-abortion politician about the right to life, you've probably received a form letter that utilizes one of several worn-out arguments. Let's review how we answer them:
1. "I respect your views, but I have to represent all the people."
pro-life response: That's what we're trying to say to you. If you neglect the unborn, you are not representing all the people. Roe vs. Wade excludes them from protection; we demand that they be included. A public servant cannot legitimately ignore an entire segment of the public that is being destroyed.
2. "I'm personally opposed to abortion, but can't impose my views on others."
pro-life response: This is not a matter of views, but of violence. The law is supposed to protect human life despite the views of those who would destroy it.
3. "The government should not be involved in such a personal decision as abortion."
pro-life response: The government got "too involved" in abortion when it claimed to have the authority to deprive some human beings of their right to life [Roe vs. Wade, Doe vs. Bolton -- In 7-2 decisions, the US Supreme Court "legislated" in 1973]. The Declaration of Independence asserts that government exists to secure the rights already bestowed by the Creator. Moreover, when somebody's "choice" destroys somebody else's life, that choice is no longer merely a personal, private matter.
4. "Legislators should not be practicing medicine."
pro-life response: We're not asking you to practice medicine, but to prevent the abuse of medicine. The practice of medicine is regulated by all kinds of laws that protect the lives of patients -- Do No Harm. All we ask is that the unborn be included in that protection.
5. "Abortion is the law of the land."
pro-life response: [Abortion was not the "law of the land" until 1973, because 7 Supreme Court Justices legislated it so.] The "law of the land" can be changed, just as it was changed regarding slavery and segregation. Leadership means seeing the injustices that others miss, and inspiring people to utilize the methods the law permits to make necessary changes.
6. "I support women's rights and health."
pro-life response: That is precisely why you should examine the evidence, which is more plentiful than ever, that abortion is destructive of women's health, and listen to the growing voices of those who have been harmed by abortion. That is also why you should examine how the abortion industry, through unregulated and dangerous [abortion centers], continues to deceive and exploit women.
7."Abortion is just one of many issues; I embrace a consistent ethic of life."
pro-life response: The foundation of a house is only one of many parts of the house; but it is essential in order to build the other parts...[Without the Right to Life, all other "rights" are moot...]
8. "My office does not involve any decision-making about abortion."
pro-life response: Your position on abortion says a lot about your character and worldview. If you cannot stand up for the smallest of children, how will you stand up for the rest of us?
9. "Let's just agree to disagree."
pro-life response: We have the greatest respect for those who disagree with us. Bur when victims are oppressed, we don't sit back and "agree to disagree" with the oppressor. Rather, we intervene to save the victim. Abortion is not about beliefs; it's about bloodshed. Those who need protection need it despite the disagreement of others.
10. Finally, always use the best response to all the arguments: I vote!
[source: Priests for Life]
"When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -- Elizabeth Cady Stanton, founder of the Women's Movement