- - Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Recently, an editor at parenting website Romper made the stunning accusation that the pro-life movement wants to see pregnant women die.

In her piece, “Why supporting abortion is a pro-life position,” Danielle Campoamor declares that supporting pro-life laws that protect innocent life in the womb is a form of violence against women.

Ms. Campoamor claims that without legal access to abortion, American women would die as they sought illegal “back alley” abortions. She concludes that supporting abortion is actually the only real pro-life stand — a conclusion she could only come to while totally ignoring the fact that abortions take the lives of nearly a million children every year in the United States.

Ms. Campoamor’s attack on pro-lifers comes as Iowa’s governor recently signed into law the “heartbeat bill,” which bans abortion after a baby’s heartbeat is detected. With current technology, that’s about six weeks into a pregnancy.

The heartbeat law acknowledges a simple scientific fact that the abortion movement tries desperately to ignore: There is a unique, individual human life in the womb, not a random “clump of cells;” and just three weeks after fertilization, a child’s heart is already beating. The law finally recognizes that there are two human beings in a pregnancy and that both deserve protection.

Ms. Campoamor asserts that to advocate for such a law isn’t pro-life because protecting children in the womb will lead to “a nation of back alleys and contorted clothes hangers” and the deaths of thousands of women a year. That’s a horrific thought, but it’s also a myth.

This myth has been around since the days leading up to Roe v. Wade, when, to win public and court opinion to legalize abortion, advocates claimed that thousands of women were dying each year from illegal abortions.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the leading voices for legalized abortion and the co-founder of NARAL, admitted that he and his colleagues made it up. In his 1979 book, “Aborting America,” Dr. Nathanson wrote, “How many deaths were we talking about when abortion was illegal? In NARAL, we generally emphasized the frame 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 that the figures were totally false.”

In reality, in the year prior to Roe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s abortion surveillance reports showed that 39 women died from illegal abortions — while 24 died from legal abortions.

While any death is tragic, the mortality misinformation continues to be pushed by the abortion industry over 40 years later.

And to Ms. Campoamor’s claim that if the United States restricts abortion, we will go back to illegal “back alley” or “clothes hanger” abortions, former Planned Parenthood President Alan Guttmacher made it clear even before Roe that a majority of those who performed illegal abortions were trained physicians: “Seventy per cent of the illegal abortions in the country are performed by reputable physicians,” he said in 1967. Others put the percentage in the 80s.

Working against the abortion industry’s fake statistics are some real ones: Poland, Ireland and Malta ban most abortions, yet World Bank statistics show that all three nations have lower maternal mortality rates than the United States. And a groundbreaking study in 2012 revealed that outlawing most abortions in Chile in 1989 actually decreased maternal mortality.

But just as critical as debunking misinformation about mortality rates, is remembering that abortion is not health care. Poisoning, starving, dismembering, or suctioning a preborn child to death isn’t health care. It is the taking of an innocent human life.

This is something Ms. Campoamor and others conveniently leave out of the discussion. To make a statement so absurd that being pro-abortion is more pro-life than being pro-life, you have to ignore the fact that a baby violently dies in an abortion.

Contrary to Ms. Campoamor’s assertions, pro-lifers are not only pro-child, but also pro-woman. Most pro-life organizations are led by women, many of them mothers. Thousands of pro-life pregnancy resource centers offer free and confidential counseling, moral support, adoptions help, parenting support, and financial assistance that empowers women to work with their bodies and protect a new life instead of rejecting it.

The pro-life movement is working to change the “me versus you,” mother-against-child society that the abortion business has devised to a “me and you” society. We are working to create a society where one person’s “right to choose” doesn’t trump another person’s right to exist. Where we end this decades-long war against nearly a million preborn children each year. Where the health of both people in a pregnancy is paramount. And where both mother and child are not only protected, but cherished.

Lila Rose is the president and founder of the national pro-life organization Live Action.

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