When abortion was legalized in 1973, one of the principal arguments offered to justify it was the claim that thousands of women died each year from illegal, and therefore unsafe, abortions.
That claim was unfounded and intentionally false. It was a lie.
Dr. Bernard Nathanson -- co-founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), a man who later become pro-life -- admitted that he and others in the early abortion rights movement knowingly and intentionally lied about the number of women who allegedly died as a result of illegal abortions: “In NARAL we generally emphasized the drama of the individual case, not the mass statistics . . . [W]hen 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 . . . But in the "morality" of the revolution, it was a useful figure . . . The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason which had to be done was permissible." (Nathanson, Aborting America, p.197).
Later, Nathanson started telling the truth, and the official statistics of the Center for Disease Control backed him up. According to the CDC, only 24 women died from illegal abortions in the year before Roe v. Wade legalized the practice in 1973. Far from reducing the number of maternal deaths from abortion, in the wake of Roe v. Wade that number actually rose, both in 1973 and in the years immediately following.
Those who concocted the lie about women’s health and abortion still won’t tell you the truth. But gynecologist Horton Dean will. According to Dean, as many as 15 percent of all first trimester, 40 percent of all second trimester, and a startling 90 percent of all third trimester abortions end in problems requiring serious medical attention for the mother (George Grant, Grand Illusions, pp. 65-66). Obstetrician Thomas Hilgers will tell you the truth also. According to Hilgers, “natural pregnancy was found to be safer [than abortion] both in the first and second 20 weeks of pregnancy” (Francis Beckwith, Politically Correct Death, p. 128). Furthermore, maternal deaths due to illegal abortion have now been replaced, almost one-for-one, by maternal deaths resulting from legal abortion (Stephen Krason, Abortion, p. 307).
In other words, the abortion rights movement was built on a lie -- but not one lie only. Norma McCorvey, the infamous “Roe” in Roe v. Wade, a woman who (like Nathanson) has since become a pro-life advocate, now admits that the rape claim she then alleged stood behind her desire to get an abortion was a lie. It never happened. These are just the lies to which they have confessed. Doubtless there are others.
But those wicked lies are not my point; abortion is. Nor am I saying that the death of even 24 women is insignificant. I am saying that it pales in comparison to the 700,000 females who are legally aborted every year.
Not only was the plea to make abortion safe by making it legal a plea based on a lie, it also begs the moral question. Abortion ought to be made safe only if it is moral, only if those who advocate it can prove that the unborn are not human. But if the unborn are human, and if abortion kills them, then the effort to make abortion safe is as morally misguided a project as making bank robbery safe for thieves.
The unborn are, indeed, human.
Just like the mother herself, the one being killed in abortion has a unique combination of 23 sets of paired chromosomes, a distinct combination that identifies them as human beings. The victim in abortion is both genetically human and genetically unique. That is, the unborn person is not only human, but a human. The one being killed in abortion is not a member of some other species. But if you think that they are, then name it. They are not canine, feline, equine, or bovine. They are not mineral or vegetable. They are human. Their genes say that about them, just as the mother’s does about her. Being human isn’t something you become, it’s something you are or you are not. That determination is made genetically. In that light, the unborn are human beings. Unlike some pro-choice advocates, the genetic code doesn’t lie.
Nor is the unborn person a part of the mother’s body. If the body in question were truly hers, its genetic code would be the same as hers. It is not. It never is. Indeed, half the time the body in question is male. The child lives in the mother’s body; the child is not the mother’s body. To speak differently on the point is just another lie.
For nearly 40 years we have endured this colossal evil. It grew from a falsehood and it proceeds by falsehoods. Abortion has taken the lives of approximately 50 million persons in America alone. It claims a staggering 4,000 lives per day, every day.
It’s time that the lies and the killing stop.