Pro-abortionists' coat hangers: Do murderers lie?
Truth is always the strongest argument. -Sophocles
These are the things you are to do: speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgement in your courts. -Zechariah 8:16
At any pro-abortion rally, the forces of death wave coat hangers in the air and cover their placards with this image. And these coat hangers are intended to communicate that, before abortion was legalized, tens of thousands of women died as a result of illegal abortions. Always lurking behind the coat hanger is the back-alley abortionist.
Some years ago, Time magazine ran full-page ads placed by Planned Parenthood using these symbols to raise money. The text of the ads ran:
If you wonder whether legal abortion is a good idea, ask any woman who survived an illegal one. She'll tell you how ... horribly dangerous a back-alley abortion was. But despite the incredible risks,... American women had abortions before they were legalized in 1973. An untold number were maimed for life. Thousands were literally slaughtered, packed off bleeding and infected to die... (Footnote 1)
This vision of pregnant young women at the mercy of unscrupulous back-alley abortionists because of the callousness of those who oppose abortion-on-demand is an old, dog-eared tactic of the pro-abortion forces. In the March/April 1981 issue of Church and Society, a 3/4-page cartoon was printed in which a young woman was shown knocking at the door of a cut-rate abortion clinic. She stood under the light of a bare bulb in a back alley. Sinister eyes glared out at her through a slit in the door. Still today, coat-hangers waved about are a staple of pro-abortion protests.
The assumption behind all these scare tactics is that legalized abortion and regulated abortion clinics are saving women's lives...
If Roe v. Wade is reversed, the argument goes, we will be sending 5,000 to 10,000 women a year to their deaths at the hands of the back-alley butchers.
This is not true. Illegal abortions never were as dangerous as we were led to believe. Pro-abortion activists have intentionally manufactured these scenes of danger to support their position.
The National Abortion Rights Action League (N.A.R.A.L.) is the strongest pro-abortion lobbying organization in our country and its co-founder was Dr. Bernard Nathanson who once ran the largest abortuary in the Western world.
Nathanson now confesses that in the early seventies, he and the rest of the N.A.R.A.L. forces used false figures to fight for the legalization of abortion:
How many deaths (due to back-alley abortions) were we talking about when abortion was illegal? In N.A.R.A.L. we generally emphasized the drama of the individual case, not the mass statistics, but when we spoke of the letter it was always "5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year." I confess that I knew the figures were totally false ... 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?" (Footnote 2)
Prior to 1973, women rarely died as a result of illegal abortions.
In 1972 the United States Department of Health and Human Services reported that a total of 39 women died as a result of illegal abortions. (Footnote 3) Any death is tragic but the deaths of thirty-nine women don't balance the deaths of 1.3 million unborn children.
Many men die while attempting armed robbery. Should we then legalize armed robbery?
Furthermore, it's not clear there's a significant decrease in back-alley (illegal) abortions after abortion is legalized. For instance, in a study of legal and illegal abortions done in Sweden between 1950 and 1961, Dr. L. Huldt showed that the number of legal abortions did not affect the number of illegal abortions. (Footnote 4) Drs. Hilgers and Shearin of the Mayo Clinic found that when permissive abortion laws were passed in eight European countries, the number of illegal abortions stayed about the same. In two countries, the number of illegal abortions actually increased. (Footnote 5)
And yet, even illegal abortions are relatively safe today and have been for a number of years.
Back in 1960, Dr. Mary Calderone, medical director of Planned Parenthood, stated the following at a three-day conference of 43 experts sponsored by Planned Parenthood: "Abortion is no longer a dangerous procedure, and this applies not just to therapeutic abortions as done in hospitals, but also to so-called illegal abortions..."(Footnote 6)
Yet 25 years after its medical director publicly admitted that illegal abortions are no longer dangerous, Planned Parenthood and the pro-abortion forces continue to spread this fear. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, probably one of the most experienced abortionists in our nation, states: "One can expect that if abortion is ever driven underground again, even non-physicians will be able to perform this procedure with remarkable safety. No women need die..."(Footnote 7)
What Dr. Calderone admitted to be a safe procedure in 1960 is even safer today. Since 1973 the abortionists have been provided with a perfect laboratory in which to perfect their procedure--upwards of thirty-five million abortions.
Footnote 1: Time, October 14, 1985.
Footnote 2: B. Nathanson, Aborting America. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1979, p.193.
Footnote 3: It's interesting to note that in that same year 24 women died due to legal abortions. Figures cited taken from a telephone conversation 11/1/85 with Dr. Hani Atrash, Medical Epidemiologist at the pregnancy Epidemiology Branch of the Division of Reproductive Health and Human Services.
Footnote 4: L. Huldt, "Outcome of Pregnancy when Legal Abortion is Readily Available." Lancet, 1968, I, 457. In R.F.R. Gardner, Abortion: The Personal Dilemma. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, p.41.
Footnote 5: Thomas Hilgers, Induced Abortion: A Documented Report, 2nd ed., Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, 1973, Chapter 7. In John Powell, Abortion: The Silent Holocaust. Allen, Texas: Argus Communications, 1981.
Footnote 6: Mary S. Calderone, M.D.: "Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem." American Journal of Public Health, 50:948, 1960. In Child and Family, 7:3, 1968.
Footnote 7: Nathanson, op. cit., p. 194.