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R O E  v. W A D E   R E P O R T



A Look at Abortion’s History
From Ancient Rome to the U.S. Supreme Court
December 1999

"I think it’s safe to say that the entire abortion industry is based on a lie … I am dedicated to spending the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name."

—Norma McCorvey, "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade1

The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision imposed abortion-on-demand throughout the United States. But that decision did not mark the beginning of abortion in mainstream society. In fact, the history of abortion reaches back not just decades, but centuries, and even millenniums. To comprehend the issue of abortion completely, we must understand its historic context.

From Ancient Times
Abortion was present even in ancient times. Under Roman rule "[n]ot only [was] … abortion permitted; [but also] infanticide. The shriveled remains of exposed babies could be found in every countryside of the [Roman] Empire…"2 Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun referred to this culture in Roe v. Wade: "Greek and Roman law afforded little protection to the unborn … Ancient religion did not bar abortion."3

Limited records indicate that early Americans used abortion as well. "Solid statistics concerning early abortion and unwed pregnancy are unavailable," Dr. Marvin Olasky writes in Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America, "but I have looked at enough pre-1800 records of infanticide and abortion to see a pattern." Samplings of those records include a 1648 execution for infanticide in Massachusetts, a 1652 conviction for intention to abort in Maryland, abortifacient use in the 1680s, and a 1719 murder of a newborn in New York. Additionally, in a study of colonial Massachusetts records, only about 2 percent of all children were illegitimate, yet 90 percent of murdered newborns were illegitimate.4

But overall, in America’s early years abortion was recognized as a negative phenomenon and an attack on human life. To combat this, early American colonies adopted laws drawn from English common law, which declared abortion prior to quickening (feeling life) a misdemeanor, and after quickening a felony. In 1869, the British Parliament passed the "Offenses Against the Persons Act." It pushed the felony punishment back to fertilization—the point at which scientific evidence proved life begins. During the same time period, every existing state passed its own law against abortion.5

Foundations for the 20th Century
As the legal system increasingly recognized the sanctity of life in the 19th century, philosopher Thomas Malthus developed his theories on population growth and economic stability. He took a very different perspective. In An Essay on the Principle of Population, Malthus wrote: "All children born, beyond what would be required to keep up the population to a desired level, must necessarily perish … we should facilitate … the operations of nature in producing this mortality."6

Margaret Sanger was an avid follower of Malthus. She embraced his view that the weak should be purged from society to maintain order.

"The most merciful thing a large family can do to one of its members is to kill it." —Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood

7 In The Pivot of Civilization, she "unashamedly called for the elimination of ‘human weeds,’ for the cessation of charity, for the segregation of ‘morons, misfits, and the maladjusted’ and for the sterilization of ‘genetically inferior races.’"8 Sanger also endorsed the euthanasia, sterilization, abortion and infanticide programs of Hitler’s Third Reich.9 In 1916, Sanger founded the Planned Parenthood Federation of America—which called for legalized abortion. Her anti-family, pro-promiscuity, pro-contraceptive and pro-abortion views slowly grew in popularity and acceptance throughout the first half of the century.

In 1939, Sanger outlined her plan to eliminate the Black community. She argued that:

The most successful, educational appeal to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their rebellious members.10
Kinsey’s Contributions
Throughout the 20th century, Planned Parenthood gained ground, and Alfred Kinsey’s fraudulent theories on human sexuality afforded legitimacy to Planned Parenthood and its allies. Kinsey’s studies, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, were published in 1948 and 1953 respectively.

Kinsey argued that children are sexual from birth, and he "proved" his theory through data gathered during the systematic sexual abuse of children. Not only was Kinsey a "sadomasochistic homosexual on a perverted mission," he also advocated an "amoral new order—possible only if human life is unhinged from the divine." Kinsey promoted, with the "fraudulent data of his ‘studies,’ the abandonment of absolutes in the social or juridical reasoning of America’s Judeo-Christian moral system."11

Together, the agendas of Malthus, Sanger, Kinsey—and other militant pro-abortion groups such as the National Association for Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL)12 and the Population Council—slowly permeated American culture and led to the Supreme Court’s fateful decision in 1973.

The Decision that Changed a Nation
Although abortion spans history, the 20th century response is unique. Now, not only does the government allow abortion, it has placed its stamp of approval on the practice of killing the unborn. It has allowed a largely unregulated industry to be built upon the premise that life in the womb has no value.

In 1955, Planned Parenthood held a secret abortion conference,13 which declared war against the "epidemic" of "back-alley" abortions. It claimed that thousands of women were dying from botched abortions occurring on the black market. And the only way to save women’s lives was to decriminalize abortion.14

Dr. Melvin Schwartz, an early abortion-rights proponent, strove to further the cause by advocating the removal of moral considerations from the medical field. In an editorial urging Missouri to decriminalize abortion, he wrote:

The decision should be a medical one … In Missouri we live under many antiquated laws written by non-medical zealots who have confused medical necessity with their own interpretation of the moral values of the day. The result of the decision can have a tremendous effect on the physical and psychological well-being of the pregnant woman involved. The decision is … not theological—not political.15

Lobbying efforts by pro-abortion groups began to gain ground in the late 1960s and early 1970s. By April 1970, one-fifth of the states had approved measures allowing abortion—in extreme conditions only. However, New York, California, Hawaii and Alaska had more liberal laws. In fact, California’s loose interpretation of "mental health" essentially allowed abortion-on-demand.16

"Our nationwide policy of abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy was neither voted on by our people nor enacted by our legislators." —President Ronald Reagan, Abortion & the Conscience of the Nation, 1984.

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Roe v. Wade decision. The woman at the center of the lawsuit, Norma McCorvey ("Jane Roe"), had challenged Texas’ abortion law in 1969. At the time, she was pregnant and wanted an abortion—which was illegal. According to McCorvey, political opportunists grabbed hold of her case in an effort to further their pro-abortion agenda.17

The court’s decision in Roe’s favor rested on two premises: a woman’s "right to privacy," and the belief that the beginning of life cannot be pinpointed. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun wrote the majority decision in Roe v. Wade, stating, "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer."18

One observer wrote, "The Court’s majority dismissed the living individual within the womb as ‘potential’ life, worthy of the ‘interest’ of the state but meriting no protection from it … In other words, under Roe a developing child may be killed at any point in the pregnancy, since the child is not recognized as a ‘person’ by the Supreme Court."19

Key Abortion Court Cases20

Jane Roe v. Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade, Jan. 22, 1973: Declared that the 14th Amendment guarantees a woman's "right to privacy"; held that the fetus is not a person and the decision to abort should be left up to a woman and her doctor.

Mary Doe v. Georgia Attorney General Arthur K. Bolton, Jan. 22, 1973: Restricted the scope of permissible state regulation and overturned a law requiring abortions to be performed only in hospitals. Abortion could be performed "in light of all factors-physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age-relevant to the well being of the patient [mother]. All these factors may relate to health." 21

Planned Parenthood v. Missouri Attorney General John C. Danforth, July 1, 1976: Declared it unconstitutional to require doctors to exercise care to preserve fetal life; overturned a ban on saline abortions and a law which required a husband's consent to abortion.

Connecticut Social Services Commissioner Edward W. Maher v. Susan Roe, June 20, 1977: Declared that Medicaid should not pay for nontherapeutic elective abortions because the state has a legitimate interest in protecting life.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Patricia R. Harris v. Cora McRae, June 30, 1980: Stated that states are not obliged to fund "medically necessary" abortions for which federal funds are blocked by the Hyde amendment-also upheld as constitutional.

Missouri Attorney General William L. Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, July 3, 1989: Upheld Missouri's ban on using state facilities or employees to perform elective nontherapeutic abortions, as well as a requirement for medical tests to determine a fetus' viability.

Planned Parenthood v. Pennsylvania Gov. Robert P. Casey, June 29, 1992: The Court accepted a 24-hour waiting period, informed consent guidelines and parental consent in some cases. "It essentially … adopted a new 'liberty' standard. The above restrictions would not apply if they 'unduly burdened' her right to abortion." 22

Roe placed the Court’s stamp of approval on "abortion-on-demand" throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Supposedly, abortion would become "safe and rare" because women would no longer die from "back-alley" abortions.

The Legacy of Roe v. Wade
In the more than 26 years since that Supreme Court decision, the phrase "rare abortion" has become a mockery. Over thirty-five million abortions have been recorded.23 Original restrictions—such as limiting abortions in the second and third trimesters—have disappeared altogether. Further, one out of every three children conceived in America since 1972 has died a brutal death through abortion—more than six times the number of Jews that Adolf Hitler put to death in his Nazi concentration camps.24

In addition, 45 percent of abortions in the U.S. in 1995 were repeats.25 Even the pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) admits that the "reasons women give for having abortions include that they have had all the children they want, they want to delay the next birth, … they are estranged from or on uneasy terms with their sexual partner, and they do not want a child while they are in school or working."26 Essentially, these elective abortions demonstrate that they use abortion as birth control.

Today, a misguided "abortion rights" mentality pervades America. Women demand their "right to choose." Americans recoil at even perceived restrictions on their freedom, so abortion advocates’ rallying cry of "rights" resonates throughout the country. Shirley Spitz, a supporter of abortion-on-demand, states, "Without freedom, women will always be shackled; we will always be second-class citizens."27

By calling themselves "pro-choice," feminists avoid the label "pro-abortion" and manage to dodge the real issue. In his book, When Choice Becomes God, F. LaGard Smith asks, "Could it be that, deep down, feminists know they would lose the battle if it were fought on the turf of basic morality, and that the childlike response ‘But I want to do it!’ is all they can legitimately cling to?"28

The U.S. Supreme Court has made a "right to abortion" the judicially created "law" of this land. But there is a law of nature and of nature’s God that supersedes even the Supreme Court. This law attests to the value and sanctity of life. Can one person’s right to do anything take precedence over another’s most basic right to live? The answer is obvious.

Today, clashes between the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" sides regularly capture the headlines. The debate over this issue has left our nation deeply divided. But when the last words of eloquent rhetoric are spoken, one must acknowledge that the conflict over abortion is about pitting a mother against her child. In the cacophony of voices arguing over "rights," the quiet consciences of those who stand for the sanctity of all life understand this is an assault on the most vulnerable—those who are too weak to defend their rights—as well as an exploitation of women.

End Notes

  1. Cheryl Wetzstein, "Ex-'Jane Roe' says her abortion case was based on lies," The Washington Times, 22 January 1998, A7.
  2. Joseph Sobran, "Commemorating you-know-who," Conservative Chronicle, 24 December 1997, 30.
  3. Francis A. Schaeffer, The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview, Volume Five, A Christian View of the West (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982), 308.
  4. Marvin Olasky, Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1992), 26.
  5. Dr. and Mrs. J.C. Willke, Why Can't We Love them Both (Cincinnati, OH: Hayes Publishing Company, 1997), 28.
  6. George Grant, Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood (Franklin, TN: Adroit Press, 1992), 51.
  7. William F. Jasper, "Calling the shots," The New American, 19 January 1998, 27.
  8. Grant, 55.
  9. Ibid., 57.
  10. "Who was Margaret Sanger?" (Stafford, VA: American Life League, 1996).
  11. Col. Ronald D. Ray, USMC (Ret.), "Kinsey's Legal Legacy," The New American, 19 January 1998, 31.
  12. Today, NARAL is known as the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.
  13. Leslie J. Reagan, When Abortion Was a Crime (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997) as cited in Christina Dunigan, "Notable Abortion Dates in the 20th Century: The Transition Period: 1950-1970," About.com, 1999.
  14. Grant, 33.
  15. Cynthia Gorney, Articles of Faith: A Frontline History of the Abortion Wars (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998), 29.
  16. Willke, 30-31.
  17. Wetzstein.
  18. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).
  19. William Norman Grigg, "License to Kill," The New American, 19 January 1998, 11.
  20. Frank J. Murray, "Birth of a battle," The Washington Times, 21 January 1998, A3.
  21. Doe v. Bolton, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 70-40, IV, January 1973, 11, as cited in Willke, 34.
  22. U.S. Supreme Court, 29 June 1992, Planned Parenthood of S.E. PA v. Casey No. 91-744 and 91-902, as cited in Willke, 41.
  23. Jeff Jacoby, "What hath Roe wrought in the intervening years?" The Washington Times, 22 January 1998, A1.
  24. L. Brent Bozell III, "Assaults on valued beliefs," The Washington Times, 27 January 1998, A19.
  25. S. Henshaw et al., "Abortion Characteristics, 1994-95," Family Planning Perspectives 28, no. 4 (July 1996): 143, as cited in Willke, 113.
  26. AGI, "Facts in Brief: Induced Abortion Worldwide," May 1999.
  27. Pamela Constable, "A Continual Call for Women's 'Freedom,'" The Washington Post, 21 January 1998, B3.
  28. F. LaGard Smith, When Choice Becomes God (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1990), 79. Contributing writers: Jessica Wadkins, Trudy Chun, Catherina Hurlburt

Sponsored by Roe v. Wade: 26 Years of Life Denied

http://www.prolife.org/rvw

Permission to forward granted provided this document remains intact.


 

Page index Roe v. Wade Report '99, Issue 1

Roe v. Wade Report '99, Issue 2

Roe v. Wade Report '99, Issue 3

Sen. Bob Smith To Run for President

Russian Woman Hides Baby in Freezer in Possible Infanticide


 

ROE v. WADE REPORT '99 Issue 1

DATELINE 1.2.99 -- 20 days until 26 Years of Roe v. Wade becomes official.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the first issue of the 1999 Roe v. Wade Report. This is a special mini-newsletter that will be published several times leading up to the 26th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand. This mini-newsletter is sponsored by Roe v. Wade: 26 Years of Life Denied, a comprehensive web site including a plethora of information related to abortion and the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case. Point your web browser to http://www.prolife.org/rvw

WEB SITE UPDATE

Many of you reading this report may be familar with the web site from last year. During 1998, we were able to provide over 86,000 people with the real facts about this case and about abortion. For this year, we have added additional information, we've created a new logo that you can place on your web site and link back to us, and we'll once again be sponsorng several issues of this report filled with information and facts that you can forward to others across the Internet.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD

You can make your voice in opposition to the Roe v. Wade case heard by using our special graphic on your web page. Point your web browser to http://www.prolife.org/rvw and on the right-hand side you will find a special small image that we offer for your use on your web page. We've including coding information for you to make it easy to implement anywhere on your web site. Please be sure to point the image back to our web site, as we only allow use of the image with the reciprocal link back to Roe v. Wade: 26 Years of Life Denied.

ABORTION ON DEMAND?

There seems to be a widespread perception that the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade (1973) only permits abortions up to 24 weeks, and after that time only to save the life of the mother. This false perception -- fueled in large part by groups supporting abortion rights -- is uncritically accepted by the media. The fact is that the current law does not restrict a woman from getting an abortion for practically any reason she deems fit during the entire nine months of pregnancy.

In actual effect, Roe v. Wade judicially created abortion on demand in the United States. [Source: John Warwick Montgomery, "The Rights of Unborn Children," Simon Greenleaf Law Review 5 (1985-86):40.]

FROM THE CASE

I cannot accept the Court's exercise of its clear power of choice by interposing a constitutional barrier to state efforts to protect human life and by investing mothers and doctors with the constitutionally protected right to exterminate it. -- Justice Byron White dissenting in ROE V. WADE, 410 U.S.113.

QUOTABLE QUOTES

Mother Teresa: America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts -- a child -- as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters. And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign." (Mother Theresa -- "Notable and Quotable," Wall Street Journal, 2/25/94, p. A14)

ROE v. WADE REPORT '99

Issue 2

DATELINE 1.6.99 -- 16 days until 26 Years of Roe v. Wade becomes official.

In this issue we look at some common questions some have about abortion before and after the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that allowed for abortion on demand.

DIDN'T ILLEGAL ABORTIONS KILL THOUSANDS OF WOMEN?

Dr. Bernard Nathanson -- who was one of the original leaders of the American pro-abortion movement and co-founder of N.A.R.A.L. (National Abortion Rights Action League), and who has since become pro-life -- admits that he and others in the abortion rights movement intentionally fabricated the number of women who allegedly died as a result of illegal abortions.

"How many deaths 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 latter it was always "5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year." 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 the 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 which had to be done was permissible." [Source: Bernard Nathanson, M.D., Aborting America (New York: Doubleday, 1979), 193.]

WHAT HAPPENED TO JANE ROE?

Norma McCorvey and Sandra Cano, the women whose Supreme Court cases (Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton respectively) made abortion legal on demand in the U.S., both now oppose abortion.

In an interview on 8/10/95 with WBAP radio in Dallas, McCorvey announced, "I'm pro-life. I think I've always been pro-life, I just didn't know it" (Reaves, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/11/95). McCorvey, claimed before Roe that she had been raped, was 21 and pregnant when approached by attorney Sarah Weddington about suing for the right to have an abortion. McCorvey never had an abortion, because the decision came too late. She carried the baby to term and gave her up for adoption. McCorvey later admitted that she had not been raped (ibid., 8/11). ABC's "World News Tonight" and "Nightline" featured exclusive interviews with McCorvey, in which she renounced her role in the abortion advocacy movement and declared that "abortion is wrong."

"I think abortion is wrong. I think what I did with Roe vs. Wade was wrong, and I just have to take a pro-life position on [abortion]" ("World News Tonight," 8/10/95).

McCorvey spent time assisted the pro-abortion movement after the case by was treated poorly by pro-abortion leaders and haunted by simple things like empty swings in a playground." McCorvey: "They were swinging back and forth but they were all empty. And I just totally lost it, and I thought 'Oh my God. are empty because there's no children, because they've all been aborted'" ("World News Tonight," 8/10/95).

From Norma McCorvey: "Abortion has been founded on lies and deception from the very beginning. All I did was lie about how I got pregnant. I was having an affair. It all started out as a little lie. I said what I needed to say. But, my little lie grew and grew and became more horrible with each telling. Sarah and Linda's (the pro-abortion attorneys in Roe) eyes seemed blinded to my obvious inability to tell the same story twice. It was good for the cause. It read well in the newspapers. With the help of willing media the credibility of well-known columnists, the lie became known as the truth these past 25 years."

"I did not go to the Supreme Court on behalf of a class of women. I wasn't pursuing any legal remedy to my unwanted pregnancy. I did not go to the federal courts for relief. I went to Sarah Weddington asking her if she knew how I could obtain an abortion. She and Linda Coffey said they didn't know where to get one. They lied to me just like I lied to them. Sarah already had an abortion. She knew where to get one. Sarah and Linda were just looking for somebody, anybody, to further their own agenda. I was their willing dupe. For this, I will forever be ashamed."

"But, my life has been restored to me, and I now have the privilege of speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves." (Ibid.)

Cano: "I am against abortion. I never sought an abortion. I never had an abortion. Abortion is murder. For over 20 years, and against my will, my name has been synonymous with abortion. The Doe vs. Bolton case is based on deceit and fraud. I never participated in this case. The Supreme Court had already made up their minds. They didn't care what was in the affidavits. I never wanted to be a part of this." (LeBoeuf, CHATTANOOGA FREE PRESS, 3/24/97).

BUT AFTER ALL, ISN'T ABORTION A WOMAN'S CHOICE?

Most women -- at least 70% -- say they believe abortion is immoral [Los Angeles Times Poll, March 19, 1989. See also Mary K. Zimmerman, Passage Through Abortion (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1977)]. But they choose against their conscience because of pressure from others and their circumstances. They choose abortion out of fear -- fear of not being able to raise a child, fear of losing their partner if they do not have an abortion, fear of losing control over of their lives, etc. Many women lack support from their families and loved ones. More than 80% say they would have completed their pregnancies under better circumstances or with more support from the people they love. [David C. Reardon, Ph.D., Aborted Women: Silent No More (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1987).]

Abortion is not a true "choice" on the woman's part; it is an act of despair. On a very basic level, it is precisely because women who abort are acting against their consciences and their maternal instincts that the psychological impact of abortion is so profound.

BUT NO WOMAN HAS EVER DIED FROM A LEGAL ABORTION, RIGHT?

Since abortion was legalized in 1973, between 1973 and 1987 215 women died as a result of complications from botched legal abortions. The government stopped collecting these statistics in 1987 though many women continue to die each year from legal abortions. [Sources: National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 1994. Hyattsville, Maryland: Public Health Service, 1995; Abortion Surveillance 1985, Center for Disease Control, Table #18; Induced Abortion: World Review 1983, by Christopher Tietze, The Population Council, p 103.]

ROE v. WADE REPORT '99

Issue 3

DATELINE 1.16.99 -- 6 days until 26 Years of Roe v. Wade becomes official.

"NEVER AGAIN" NEVER WAS

Claims of thousands of women dying to illegal abortions were unfounded and, in fact, were made up by abortion advocates. In this issue of the Roe v. Wade Report, we'll find out how legal abortions have hurt and even killed women.

Abortion Advocates Lie About Illegal Abortions

Abortion advocates have long maintained that abortion should not be made illegal because it would somehow lead to thousands of women dying from illegal abortions. They say "never again" will they go back to having abortion illegal and killing women. Yet these claims were untrue and made simply for public relations purposes. Today, legal abortions kill women just as before.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson -- who was one of the original leaders of the American pro-abortion movement and co-founder of N.A.R.A.L. (National Abortion Rights Action League), and who has since become pro-life -- admits that he and others in the abortion rights movement intentionally fabricated the number of women who allegedly died as a result of illegal abortions:

How many deaths 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 latter it was always "5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year." 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 the 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 which had to be done was permissible. [Source: Bernard Nathanson, M.D., Aborting America (New York: Doubleday, 1979), 193.]

The Real Numbers

Dr. Nathanson's observation is borne out in the best official statistical studies available. There were a mere 24 women who died from illegal abortions in 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. [Source: U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics Center for Disease Control.] With the Roe decision, abortion was now legal in all fifty states and back alley abortions eliminated, along with their alleged total of maternal deaths. In 1973 there should have been a sharp drop in abortion-related deaths if abortion advocates were right that legalizing abortion would make abortion safe.

Yet abortion-related deaths increased with 25 deaths resulting from legal abortion in 1973, 26 in 1974 and 29 in 1975. [Ibid.]

Illegal Abortions Were Not Unsafe

It is misleading to say, as abortion advocates do, that pre-Roe illegal abortions were performed by "back-alley" abortionists with rusty coat hangers. While president of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Mary Calderone pointed out in a 1960 American Journal of Health article that Dr. Kinsey showed in 1958 that 84% to 87% of all illegal abortions were performed by licensed physicians in good standing. Dr. Calderone herself concluded that "90% of all illegal abortions are presently done by physicians." [Mary Calderone, "Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem," in American Journal of Health 50 (July 1960):949.]

Further, Calderone went on to say, "Call them what you will, abortionists, or anything else, they are still physicians, trained as such; ... They must do a pretty good job if the death rate is as low as it is... Abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is in the main no longer dangerous, because it is being done well by physicians." [Ibid.] Obviously, the claims Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates make today about the supposed horrors of illegal abortions deaths are simply untrue. Either they were lying then or they're lying now.

The vast numbers of abortion practitioners performing abortions prior to the legalization of abortion by Roe v. Wade are now currently advertising their abortion "services" in the yellow pages and in newspapers and on radio stations across the country. If abortions were dangerous for women *before* Roe v. Wade, then abortion advocates must admit that abortions *now* are still very dangerous to women. One is hard pressed to find any abortion advocate today who will willing to admit that abortions are dangerous to women.

Women Die From Legal Abortions

From 1973 until 1987, according to the National Center for Health Statistics and Centers for Disease Control, 215 women died from *legal* abortions. [Sources: National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 1994. Hyattsville, Maryland: Public Health Service, 1995 and Abortion Surveillance 1985, Center for Disease Control, Table #18.]

The government stopped collecting these statistics in 1987 due to the lack of accurate reporting of deaths as a result of legal abortions. Yet the Roe v. Wade web site (http://www.prolife.org/rvw) contains news story after news story from credible media outlets of women who have died at the hands of abortion practitioners performing legal abortions.

Making abortion legal didn't make it safe. "Never again" simply never existed.

FROM THE CASE

The fact that a majority of the states reflecting, after all, the majority sentiment in those states, had had restrictions on abortions for at least a century, is a strong indication, it seems to me, that the asserted right to an abortion is not "so rooted in the traditions of conscience and our people as to be ranked fundamental," SNYDER V. MASSACHUSETTS, 291 U.S. 97, 105 (1934). Even today, when society's views on abortions are changing, the very existence of the debate is evidence that the "right to an abortion" is not so universally accepted as the appellant would have us believe. -- Justice William Rehnquist dissenting in ROE V. WADE, 410 U.S. 113.

DID YOU KNOW?

More than 58 percent of all women experienced 'quite a bit' or 'severe' pain during induced abortion? Among women with no full term births prior to the abortion, this figure is 61.4%. "We were surprised to note that the majority of women reported moderate or more discomfort during the [abortion]; we had not expected as many women to report severe pain." [Source: The Journal of Reproductive Medicine, Pain During Early Abortion, Dr. Lynn Borgatta and David Nickinovich (PhD), 1997, vol. 42, pp. 287-293. Co-author Dr. Lynn Borgatta is in the Medical Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (New York City).]

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD

You can make your voice in opposition to the Roe v. Wade case heard by using our special graphic on your web page. Point your web browser to http://www.prolife.org/rvw and on the right-hand side you will find a special small image that we offer for your use on your web page. We've including coding information for you to make it easy to implement anywhere on your web site. Please be sure to point the image back to our web site, as we only allow use of the image with the reciprocal link back to Roe v. Wade: 26 Years of Life Denied.

The Roe v. Wade Report is a special feature sponsored by "Roe v. Wade: 26 Years of Life Denied," a web site at http://www.prolife.org/rvw that highlights information and analysis concerning the infamous Supreme Court decision and its effects.