I don’t know where you stand on the issue of abortion, but regardless I’m guessing that you’ve all heard the following arguments:
“If anti-abortion extremists successfully prohibit abortion, it will usher back to the back alley butcher era. Before the legalization of abortion there were 1 million unsafe abortion and 5,000-10,000 maternal deaths due to these unsanitary ‘coat-hanger’ abortions. There are 1.2 millions abortions a year now, and 1 million before Roe - the only difference the legalization of abortion made was to make them safer. If Roe v Wade is overturned, mothers will die - you don’t want that, do you?”
This seems pretty convincing, I must admit that these stats sound pretty convincing as a good reason to keep abortion legal. But do you know where these stats came from?
“ONE MILLION illegal abortions every year before 1973”The source is from a study by Bates and Zawadzki in 1984. But where did they get their number? Original research? No, they got the number 1 million from a researcher named Taussig in 1936, and that researcher got his number from the researcher Kopp’s original study in 1934. Kopp published a study that found that at the New York City Sanger Birth Control Clinic, the ratio for abortions was 1 for every 2.5 pregnancies. Taussig then took this statistic and applied to the entire urban population of the United States. Next, Taussig used another study done by a researcher named Plass in order to "find out the rural population ratio of America". Plass’ study was a questionaire sent to doctors in Iowa that asked the doctors to roughly estimated how many abortions they guessed women had per pregnancy. The guesstimation came out to be 1 for every 5 pregnancies. Taussig used this ratio of 1 to 5 and applied to the entire rural population of the United States, added this number to his urban ratio of 1 to 2.5. This totaled that 631,600 illegal abortions were being performed every year. All the Bates and Zawadski study did was to take the number 631,600 and project it onto the current day population of 1964. Ta da: 1 million!
It doesn’t take one long to see the errors that occurred in coming up with the number 1 million illegal abortions every year. It was derived from 30 year old statistics that were flawed studies in the first place. The New York clinic was one of the most radical clinics in the whole country and their ratios did not accurately reflect the current national average. Additionally the Iowa study was based on GUESSES - no scientific data was actually compiled to back up the doctors’ claims.
In 1981 a man by the name of Syska created a more reliable study that looked pregnancy maternal mortality rates and credible estimates of greater risk illegal abortions. He calculated that there was an average of 98,000 illegal abortions per year with 210,000 as the high in 1961.
Legalization did increase the numbers of abortions, no questions asked. There were about 100,000 illegal per year before 1973 and now tragically that number has skyrocketed to 1.2 million a year.
Further evidence that there were not millions of upon millions of women clamoring for abortions before the legalization is that in 1973 there were only 781,000 abortions. It wasn’t until 1977 that the number hit 1 million. This piece of information is the last nail in the coffin for the magic number ONE MILLION. It is a number that was constructed to purposefully mislead the public into thinking that abortion was an already accepted and desired practice and that legalization would only make it safer.
“5,000 to 10,000 women died every year from illegal abortions"This number originated from the same researcher: Taussig. He discovered from stats from the 1920’s and from Germany that old studies showed that there was a .6% chance of death from illegal abortions. He didn’t think that the number was high enough -surely there was a higher chance than that - the numbers were just hidden, so he doubled the chance of death. When he applied 1.2% to the 631,600 illegal abortions that he estimated, he got the number 8,000 to 10,000 maternal deaths annually. In 1942, Taussig himself revised the number to 5,000 because he admitted it was too high. But the pro-abortion advocates used this faulty number to further the debate in 1973 and still use the number to today. Abortion advocate Dr. Hall, president of the Association for the Study of Abortion said in 1967, “[Taussig’s estimate] is certainly not valid now. There are in fact fewer than 1500 total pregnancy deaths in this country per annum...and of these 1500, probably no fewer than a third are the result of abortion.”
Abortion advocates love to point out that legalizing abortion reduced maternal death rates, but in fact the rates starting falling LONG before ‘73. Why, you might be asking? Antibiotics were invented! In the 1940-50 decade, maternal death due to abortions reduced from 1407 to 260. From 1960 to 1972 the death rate still fell further: from 260 to 39 - deaths that were needless, tragic deaths nonetheless. This drastic decline was due to the addition of intensive care units and better surgical techniques.
So would back alley butcher abortions increase if abortions were made illegal again? The short answer is no. If the number of abortions were reduced, even if there is higher risk per illegal abortion, there would be less maternal deaths. Plus, the medical advancements of each decade will not disappear - mothers will not be forced to go to a "dirty back alley butchers" or use a coat hanger and be left to die in the street. Infection was the cause of death for many self-induced abortions before 1940‘s, but the modern day antibiotics will never disappear from the medical practice.
Bottom line, abortionists who were performing abortions illegally just brought their signs from the back door and moved it to the front door in 1973. The same abortionists who performed abortions the day before Roe v Wade, performed the abortions after Roe. The same medical procedures were used before Roe and after Roe (and many are in fact still used TODAY). The legalization did not make it any “safer”. The idea of back alley butchers was a scare mongering tactic, which was very effective in 1973 and still is an effective tactic today.
So what does uncovering these statistics show us?If abortion becomes illegal, it would NOT increase the deaths of mothers. That claim was based on fabricated myths. Medical technology would be able to save lives of mothers who had botched abortions, as it has saved lives since the invention of penicillin and ICU's were integrated into the health care system.
The abortion industry propagates that abortion saves lives and prevents deaths. The truth is that the only thing saving women during the abortion process is the secondary doctor who rescues them after the abortionists' invasive dangerous procedure ends the life of their babies and puts their health at risk during every single abortion.
Fact: before Roe, there were not one million abortions per year. This number was falsely created with 30 year old data to justify abortions. “You’re oppressing women by not allowing abortion, it is an option that every woman wants and has always wanted.” But in reality, it took several years for the idea of abortion to become an accepted, prevalent “choice” in our culture through non-stop propaganda of the pro-abortion industry.
If the abortion industry claims to truly care for women, they need to realize that the only solution that really cares for women are the life-affirming alternatives that don’t include killing their children.
If abortion becomes illegal -
it would save the lives of mothers...
it would save the lives of their unborn children....
and it would save mothers from being fed the lie that abortion is a positive option and it would save them experiencing the devastatingly trauma of going through an abortion.
Mothers deserve better answers than the death of their children through the violence of abortion, legal or illegal.