Bookmark and Share

Before abortion was legal, 10,000 women died every year from getting back-alley abortions. Don't you think more girls will die if they outlaw abortion again?

More women die from abortion today than before abortion was legalized. But before offering evidence in support of this, let's take a look at the statistic you mentioned. Is it true that 10,000 women died every year from getting illegal abortions? According to a founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and previous owner of the largest abortion clinic in the world at the time, former abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson explained the origin of the "10,000 deaths" statistic:

"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."[1]

If you look at data from the U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics and the CDC, you'll see that the last time 1,000 women died from illegal abortions in a year was over 60 years ago, before penicillin was widely available. According to the U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics, due to the advances made in medical technology, about 39 women died from illegal abortions in 1972, the year before abortion was legalized.[2] During that time of medical progress, abortion had been legal in Europe and their death rates for legal abortions paralleled the death rates of illegal abortions in America.[3]

Furthermore, women were generally not getting "back-alley" abortions. Over a decade before the legalization of abortion, the president of Planned Parenthood, Mary Calderone, declared that "90% of all illegal abortions are presently done by physicians."[4]

What is current annual death rate from abortion? According to the United Nations, approximately 75,000 women die worldwide annually from unsafe abortions.[5] It is not easy to pinpoint how many women die from "safe" abortions, because the World Health Organization states that deaths caused by surgical complications should not be reported under the type of procedure, but under the complication itself (such as a blood clot or heart attack).[6] Likewise, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) generally do not classify abortion as the cause of death, but will report the specific medical complication.

According to researcher Isabelle Bégin: "Medical coders have in fact relayed that any attempt to code a death due to abortion under abortion yields a ‘'reject message' from the computer programs provided by the National Center for Health Statistics of Washington D.C., a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. Only a tiny number of abortion-related deaths actually qualify to be declared under abortion, i.e. those for which the medical certificate of death categorically and unequivocally gives abortion as the underlying cause of death."[7]

Because of this, the reported number of fatalities caused by abortions are vastly underestimated. For example, in 1987, the Commissioner of Health for New York City sent a memo (not intended for the public) to those who provided abortions in his city. In it, he mentioned that between 1981 and 1984 there were 30 women in N.Y.C. who died as a result of their abortions, and 146 in the rest of the U.S..[8] Meanwhile, the CDC's official report only showed 42 maternal deaths in the entire nation during that time!

Likewise, the book Lime 5 explains that from 1992 to 1993, at least 23 maternal deaths were caused by abortion in America. These were reported to state agencies, but only 18 were reported to the Federal Center for Disease Control. When the official CDC report was released on mortality figures, there were only 2 deaths.[9]

For the more details of the cover-up, click here.

But for the sake of argument, let's pretend that 10,000 women used to die every year from illegal abortions. Considering that about 1.5 million children die every year because of abortion, outlawing the practice in America would save the lives of about 750,000 little girls every year.

Lastly, one cannot overlook the women who commit suicide after getting abortions. David Reardon, Ph.D, reported, "Sadly, in at least one documented case, an 18-year-old committed suicide three days after having a suction abortion because of guilt feelings over having ‘killed her baby.' Later examination of the clinic's records revealed that she had not actually been pregnant."[10]

The solution to all of these tragic deaths is not to offer safer abortions, but to promote chastity and offer pregnant mothers enough love and support that they will not feel the need to take the lives of their unborn children.
[1]. Bernard Nathanson, M.D. Aborting America (Doubleday, 1979), 193.
[2] From the U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics Center for Disease Control, as cited in Dr. and Mrs. J. C. Wilke, Abortion: Questions and Answers, rev. ed. (Cincinnati: Hayes documents from the FDA that reveal about 600 reports of "serious complications" suffered by women who used the abortion drug RU-486.
[3]. Human Life International "The Facts of Life" 2002 CD Edition.
[4]. Mary Calderone, "Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem," in American Journal of Health 50 (July 1960):949.
[5]. United Nations Population Fund, "The State of World Population," 1997.
[6]. Coding Rule 12, International Classification of Diseases, World Health Organization.
[7] Isabelle Bégin, "World-wide Abortion Statistics Scam Exposed," Reality, Oct. 1999.
[(8] Kevin Sherlock, Victims of Choice, (Akron, OH: Brennyman Books, 1996) 165-167.
[9] M. Crutcher, Lime 5-Exploited by Choice (Genesis Publishers), Chapter 4, "Cooking the Books."
[10]. The Abortion / Suicide Connection by David C. Reardon, Ph.D., Originally published in The Post-Abortion Review 1(2) Summer 1993. Elliot Institute.