The U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade was to prevent women from dying from ‘unsafe’ abortions. But it didn’t.
And another major news outlet confirmed the fact this week.
USA Today rated the popular claim that “Roe was the end of women dying from abortion” as “false” in a new fact check. Although the number of maternal abortion deaths has declined, the fact-check found that they were already falling before Roe in 1973, and some women still die each year from Abortion in the U.S.
The news outlet pointed to data from the Centers for Disease Control showing hundreds of maternal abortion deaths since Roe. In particular, this number is an undercount; the CDC abortion report notes that several states do not report their abortion data to the federal government.
“From 2011 to 2018, the CDC reported two to six deaths per year from legal abortions and one total number of deaths from illegal abortions,” the report said. “In terms of rate, the latest data showed 0.41 deaths per 100,000 abortions from 2013 to 2018.”
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The fact check found that, according to CDC data, maternal abortion deaths were smaller after Roe. It quoted professors from several universities arguing that an increase in contraceptive use and the legalization of Abortion contributed to the decline.
“Experts told USA TODAY that abortion-related deaths continued to occur after Roe v. Wade was decided, although such results are rare,” the news channel wrote. “This declining trend in abortion mortality started before the 1970s, but the Roe decision was a major contributor to that trend.”
USA Today hasn’t explained exactly how Roe himself led to fewer female deaths from Abortion — specifically legal, sizing Abortion makes it safer for women.
Mary Faith Marshall, director of biomedical ethics at the University of Virginia, offered a possible explanation, telling the news channel: “Abortion became part of the care delivered under an accredited health care system with safety standards. Clinicians had to be trained to perform abortion procedures formally.”
Abortion facilities since Roe has had very few safety regulations, and only one state requires abortionists to be certified OB-GYNs, according to the Guttmacher Institute. But this contradicts other evidence. Some abortionists are not doctors at all.
In addition, Dr. Mary Calderone, a former Planned Parenthood medical director, said nearly all abortions in the decades leading up to Roe were done by doctors, not back alley abortions.
Calderone wrote in 1960 in the American Journal of Public Health:
“…about 90 percent of all illegal abortions are done by doctors... Whatever problems arise, they mostly stem from self-induced abortions, which make up about 8 percent, or a very small percentage going to some non-medical abortionist goes… So remember… Abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is generally no longer dangerous because doctors do it well.”
Pro-life advocates and many experts believe the real reason for the decline in maternal abortion deaths was advanced in modern medicine, especially antibiotics. USA Today recognized this as a factor in its fact-checking, writing:
Abortion mortality dropped when antibiotics such as penicillin became widely available in 1945, increasing the procedure’s safety. Dr. Lisa Harris, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan, USA, TODAY in an email.
A 2019 Washington Post fact check came to a similar conclusion about antibiotics and maternal deaths. It also found that abortion activists often exaggerate the number of women who died from Abortion before 1973.
Abortions are never safe. Their goal is to kill an unborn baby, and sometimes they kill mothers too. For decades, pro-life advocates have said legalizing Abortion leads to more deaths, not less. Since Roe, more than 63 million unborn babies and hundreds of mothers have died in supposedly “safe, legal” abortions.
These fact checks and mountains of other evidence show that the goals of the pro-life movement are legitimate and effective. It is certain that overthrowing Roe, as many hope this summer, will save many lives.