Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why are people pro-choice? (part 1)

The one thing some pro-life people don't like to consider is that some pro-choice people have arrived at their position by reason. Their conclusion is wrong, but it is not the result of blindly following some cultural aberration, or being "bad" in some way. The problem is that the reasoning is based on incorrect information or there is a flaw in the logic. Let's look at one of the reasons people have given me for being pro-choice and examine the "facts" on which it is based, and the logic that leads to the pro-choice conclusion. To eliminate the possibility of using false information myself I will be referencing primary sources that are either unbiased (e.g. government statistics) or unabashedly pro-choice (e.g. Guttmacher Institute).

N.B. I was going to make this a list of reasons and rebuttals, but there is so much evidence against some of these reasons that this post would be too long. Therefore I am splitting this up into several (probably many) posts, each covering one or a small number of reasons.

Reason #1: If abortion were illegal tens of thousands of women would be dying each year in back alley clinics.

This is a good argument in the sense that the person is trying to minimize the death of humans - they are actually arguing a pro-life position. However, their information is wrong. The back alley abortion statistics on which it is based are lies made up by NARAL (then known as the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, now the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) in the 1960s in order to get people to support legalized abortion. NARAL co-founder Bernard Nathanson admits:
Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.
In fact, even the number Dr. Nathanson used were out of date at the time Roe v. Wade legalized abortion throughout the US. What were the real numbers? The United States CDC (Centers for Disease Control) keeps track of the number of deaths by cause. According to them, the number of women who died from illegal abortion in 1972 (the year before Roe v. Wade) was 39, versus 24 who died from legal abortions that year. Since then, reporting procedures in US states have changed so that today we have no accurate figures of how many women die from legal abortion in the US.

We still hear reports of tens of thousands of women dying form illegal abortion in other countries today. They too are lies. One set of figures, used by the UN groups to promote legalization of abortion worldwide, does not rely on any reporting or research, but simply assume 13% of illegal abortions result in death. By that logic, in 1972 there would have been 300 illegal abortions total in the US. While it is hard to estimate the number of illegal abortions that took place in the US, that figure is lower than any reasonable estimate.

But can we really relate numbers of abortion deaths in other countries to the lies told in the US? Let's look at some real figures:
On June 18, 1989, CNN World Report, in an hour-long documentary, stated that in Brazil there are 6 million illegal abortions each year and 400,000 women die. But the U.N. Demographic Yearbook of 1988 lists only 40,000 women, age 15-44, dying each year of all causes.
In other words, for these "facts" to be true the number of illegal abortion deaths would be ten times more than the total number of deaths! You can follow this link to find primary source references. Want more examples?
In Portugal the claimed figure was 2,000 deaths. The actual number of deaths of females between the ages of 15-46 was 2,106 in the same year from all natural causes, accidents and illness. There were only 97 listed in the "complications of pregnancy" of which 12 were due to abortion, including spontaneous and induced, legal and illegal.

In Italy, the claimed figure before their abortion referendum was 20,000. In the age group 15-45, there were actually only 11,500 female deaths from all causes.

In Germany the claim was that 15,000 women died annually. In fact, only 13,000 women of reproductive age died annually in West Germany, and less than 100 died of complications of abortion, legal and illegal.

At the United Nations Habitat meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, in June 1996, the following "fact" was given wide publicity: The UNICEF suddenly claimed that 585,000 women die each year from causes related to pregnancy and birth.

The pro-life NGO’s for the family immediately answered, "This is wild. According to the U.N. Demographic Year Book for 1990, the total known maternal deaths worldwide for 1986 and 1987 numbered 11,924 (around 6,000 per year). This figure encompasses countries covering 35% of the world’s population."
These are not pro-life claims vs, pro-choice claims. These are pro-choice "talking points" versus official numbers collected by governments and health organizations. So the entire set of figures for maternal deaths due to abortion worldwide are lies. While any death is tragic, promoting the death of 42 million children a year is hardly a good tradeoff.


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