by Roger Resler
For this post and several future posts I will respond to pro-choice arguments presented on a website called Amplify Your Voice. I welcome comments and feedback from anyone so long as they stay within the “good exchange of ideas” realm. Fair warning: as the unimpeachable blog dictator, I will mercilessly exercise omnipotent control over content on this site. Essentially, if I like your comment, it will see the light of day. If not, it will be forever banned to outer darkness (followed by maniacal laughter). So… with that in mind, let’s get started.
The voices wishing to be amplified at Amply Your Voice.com are no doubt backed up by sincerely held beliefs. The problem is, “sincerely held” does not necessarily equate to rational. Case in point: “10 Arguments in Favor of Pro-Choice Policy.” Let’s begin with the first point which is actually #10:
10. Laws against abortion do not stop abortion; they simply make it less safe. The number of women who get abortions does not change when it goes from being legal to illegal, or vice versa. The only thing that changes is more women die. Every year, 78,000 women die from unsafe abortions.
With all due respect, this is propaganda. The 78,000 figure is cited with no supporting data, but it’s interesting to note that Amplify is claiming this number while abortion is legal. If legal abortion is safe (for the mother) and abortion is currently legal, then why are 78,000 women dying from abortion “every year” according to Amplify?
In 2006 I had a phone conversation with ex-abortionist turned pro-life advocate Dr. Bernard Nathanson who stated that the popular pre-Roe figure of 10,000 annual maternal deaths was simply manufactured out of thin air by the pro-choice community (of which Nathanson was then an active participant). The truth is no one knows how many illegal abortions took place (for the obvious reason that no one was reporting illegal abortions) but the pro-choice “estimate” of abortion related maternal deaths has now obviously inflated by a factor of 7.8! This is an absurd number; useful only for pro-choice propaganda.
Although we don’t know how many illegal abortions took place, we do have a reasonable estimate of how many maternal deaths were attributed to illegal abortion in the years leading up to Roe.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there were roughly 1,350 such deaths in 1941. Due to the introduction of Penicillin in the 1950’s the figure had dropped dramatically to less than 200 by 1965 and continued to drop to under 50 by the time Roe v. Wade was argued. Did you catch the disparity? Those interested in keeping abortion legal are now casually claiming that 78,000 maternal deaths occur annually due to illegal abortions, when, in reality, the number was well under 50 by the time Roe was argued!
“Law’s against abortion do not stop abortion.”
Obviously true. Hardly surprising. Laws against speeding do not stop Mario-Andretti-wanna-be’s from flying past me on the freeway.
Laws against murder have not put serial killers out of business. If we could stop vice simply by passing laws, then we should be living in utopia.
“The number of women who get abortions does not change when it goes from being legal to illegal, or vice versa. “
This is where a “my-stats-are-better-than-your-stats” tit-for-tat begins – except that Amplify provides no stats to support their claims. I deal with this topic in my book Compelling Interest (which will be released in the Fall of 2012 – the link, by the way, is for an earlier version audio book). It comes down to whose stats are we going to believe?
In his exhaustive book, Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History, (Carolina Academic Press, 2006) Villanova law professor Joseph W. Dellapenna methodically shreds this and other abortion myths that have been promoted as fact by the pro-choice movement for decades. Dellapenna’s research demonstrates that the modern origin of many of these now popular abortion myths goes back to the pro-abortion-agenda-driven research of a New York University law professor named Cyril Means Jr.
Over the course of more than 1,200 pages, Dellapenna shows that Means’ research was “seriously deficient even based on the evidence Means himself presented.” (Dellapenna, p. xi) Factual inaccuracy did not stop Sarah Weddington from relying heavily on Means’ research, however, in her pro-abortion arguments before the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. And it also did not stop Harry Blackmun from perpetuating Means’ errors as he wrote the Roe majority opinion.
Obviously numbers are easy to inflate and the pro-choice community has been busily inflating.The important question is: does society wish to promote abortion as a public good which should be legal? Most people agree that at best abortion is a necessary evil. The debate becomes a matter of: when is it necessary?
The way Amplify frames the issue is revealing: “Laws against abortion do not stop abortion; they simply make it less safe.” While the actual number of maternal deaths is much lower than Amplify would have us believe we should keep in mind that abortion is never safe for the unborn child.
The idea that laws force women into back alleys is also flawed. Women choose to have abortions. They are almost never forced, and certainly not by anti-abortion laws.
Do we create laws against abortion in the hopes that more women will die from illegal abortion? Of course not. The hope is that women will be discouraged from participating in abortion because society is saying abortion on demand is morally unacceptable, just like murder is morally unacceptable.
Well, I’ve managed to answer only one of Amplify’s 10 points. Thanks for bearing with me. I will continue with the second point on my next blog entry.
Roger Resler is an author, researcher & media producer for Truth In Depth Productions.