Legal Abortion Does Not Save Women’s Lives. Here’s Proof.

Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen recently made the following claim in an interview with a TV station in Dallas: 

We face a real situation where Roe could be overturned and if it is overturned then one in three women over reproductive age, which is 25 million women, could be living in states, including Texas, where they do not have the right to safe, legal abortion and we know what will happen.

Women will die. Thousands of women died every year pre-Roe

Before we get to the actual statistics, let’s look at what Planned Parenthood was saying back in the 1960s, before Roe.

Mary S. Calderone, then medical director of Planned Parenthood, discussed illegal abortions in a 1960 article in the American Journal of Public Health:

Abortion is no longer a dangerous procedure. This applies not just to therapeutic abortions as performed in hospitals but also to so-called illegal abortions as done by physicians. In 1957 there were only 260 deaths in the whole country attributed to abortions of any kind. In New York City in 1921 there were 144 abortion deaths. In 1951 there were only 15; and, while the abortion death rate was going down so strikingly in that 30-year period, we know what happened to the population and the birth rate. Two corollary factors must be mentioned here: first, chemotherapy and antibiotics have come in, benefiting all surgical procedures as well as abortion. Second, and even more important, the conference estimated that 90 percent of all illegal abortions are presently being done by physicians. Call them what you will, abortionists or anything else, they are still physicians, trained as such; and many of them are in good standing in their communities. They must do a pretty good job if the death rate is as low as it is… abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is in the main no longer dangerous. [1]

Then Planned Parenthood president Dr. Alan Guttmacher, in his 1960 book Babies by Choice or Chance, wrote:

The technique of the well–accredited criminal abortionist is usually good. They have to be good to stay in business, since otherwise they would be extremely vulnerable to police action. [2]

So we see that before Roe, Planned Parenthood officials knew perfectly well that illegal abortion was not killing thousands of women. Planned Parenthood’s current president is either grossly uninformed, or, more likely, simply lying.

Where did the stories of thousands of abortion deaths a year originate? Pro-choicers started lying about these statistics during the push to make abortion legal in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson was a former abortionist turned pro-life activist who co-founded NARAL, a pro-abortion organization that is still active today. He helped come up with pro-abortion talking points. In his 1977 book Aborting America, he wrote about the way NARAL lied about illegal abortion deaths:

How many deaths were we talking about when abortion was illegal? In NARAL., we generally emphasized the drama 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 the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the “morality” of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics? The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible. [3]

Malcolm Potts was medical director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), who helped promote abortion throughout the world. He wrote in 1977:

Those who want the [abortion] law to be liberalized will stress the hazards of illegal abortion and claim that hundreds, or thousands, of women die unnecessarily each year – when the actual number is far lower. [4] 

Courtesy of Carole Novielli and Live Action News, here are the actual official numbers on mothers’ deaths from illegal abortion before Roe:

  • 1959: less than 300 deaths (Source: Guttmacher Institute)
  • 1964: 264 deaths (Source: Department of Health Education and Welfare)
  • 1964: 267 deaths (Source: Statistician Dr. Christopher Tietze)
  • 1965: just under 200 deaths (Source: Guttmacher Institute) 
  • 1965: 193 deaths (Source: Planned Parenthood) 
  • 1966: 189 deaths (Source: National Center for Health Statistics, reported by CDC)
  • 1972: 39 deaths (Source: Centers for Disease Control CDC)
  • 1973: 19 deaths (Source: Centers for Disease Control CDC)
There were nowhere near thousands of women dying before Roe. The year before Roe vs. Wade was decided, there were only 39 deaths. 
But even though the numbers are small, we still see the numbers going down. Did Roe save some women’s lives? There were, indeed, fewer maternal deaths in 1973 than there were in 1959. So, were fewer women dying? 
Sadly, no. Deaths from illegal abortions simply started being replaced by deaths from legal abortions. In 1978, in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, one of the oldest and most respected peer reviewed medical journals in the world, researcher Dennis Cavanaugh wrote: 

There has been no major impact on the number of women dying from abortion in the United States since liberalized abortion was introduced… It really makes no difference whether a woman dies from legal or illegal abortion, she is dead nonetheless. I find no comfort in the fact that legal abortion is now the leading cause of abortion related maternal deaths in the US. [5] 

Researchers Thomas W. Hilgers, M.D. and Dennis O’Hare conducted a study in 1981 that determined a high number of legal abortion deaths since Roe. They wrote: 

As a result [of deaths by legal abortion], there has been no detectable change in the relative frequency of abortion-related maternal death due to induced abortion in the United States in the last 30 years. It is extremely important that there has been no significant impact on the relative frequency of abortion related maternal death due to induced abortion in the United States since the legalization of abortion.

The reason for this appears to be quite simple. While maternal death due to criminal abortion appear to be decreasing, they have been replaced, almost one for one, by maternal deaths due to legal abortion. [6] 

There were not thousands of women dying before Roe, and Roe v. Wade did not stop women from dying of botched abortions. Despite the common argument that overturning Roe would lead to massive numbers of women dying, there is no historical evidence to back this up. 
[Today’s guest post by Sarah Terzo is part of our paid blogging program.]
Footnotes
[1] Mary Calderone, “Illegal Abortions” American Journal of Public Health July 1960, p. 949
[2] Quoted in Kevin Sherlock The Scarlet Survey (Akron, Ohio: Brennyman Books, 1997) 5 
[3] Bernard N. Nathanson, M.D. Aborting America (New York: Pinnacle Books, 1979) 193 
[4] Malcolm Potts, Peter Diggory and John Peel Abortion (Cambridge University Press 1977) 529 
[5] Dennis Cavanaugh “Effect of Liberalized Abortion on Maternal Mortality Rates” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology February 1978, p. 375
[6] Thomas W. Hilgers, M.D. and Dennis O’Hare “Abortion Related Maternal Mortality: An In-Depth Analysis” in New Perspectives on Human Abortion, ed. By Thomas W. Hilgers, M.D. Dennis J. Horan, and David Mall (Frederick, Maryland: University Publications of America, 1981) 84

Legal Abortion Does Not Save Women’s Lives. Here’s Proof.

Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen recently made the following claim in an interview with a TV station in Dallas: 

We face a real situation where Roe could be overturned and if it is overturned then one in three women over reproductive age, which is 25 million women, could be living in states, including Texas, where they do not have the right to safe, legal abortion and we know what will happen.

Women will die. Thousands of women died every year pre-Roe

Before we get to the actual statistics, let’s look at what Planned Parenthood was saying back in the 1960s, before Roe.

Mary S. Calderone, then medical director of Planned Parenthood, discussed illegal abortions in a 1960 article in the American Journal of Public Health:

Abortion is no longer a dangerous procedure. This applies not just to therapeutic abortions as performed in hospitals but also to so-called illegal abortions as done by physicians. In 1957 there were only 260 deaths in the whole country attributed to abortions of any kind. In New York City in 1921 there were 144 abortion deaths. In 1951 there were only 15; and, while the abortion death rate was going down so strikingly in that 30-year period, we know what happened to the population and the birth rate. Two corollary factors must be mentioned here: first, chemotherapy and antibiotics have come in, benefiting all surgical procedures as well as abortion. Second, and even more important, the conference estimated that 90 percent of all illegal abortions are presently being done by physicians. Call them what you will, abortionists or anything else, they are still physicians, trained as such; and many of them are in good standing in their communities. They must do a pretty good job if the death rate is as low as it is… abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is in the main no longer dangerous. [1]

Then Planned Parenthood president Dr. Alan Guttmacher, in his 1960 book Babies by Choice or Chance, wrote:

The technique of the well–accredited criminal abortionist is usually good. They have to be good to stay in business, since otherwise they would be extremely vulnerable to police action. [2]

So we see that before Roe, Planned Parenthood officials knew perfectly well that illegal abortion was not killing thousands of women. Planned Parenthood’s current president is either grossly uninformed, or, more likely, simply lying.

Where did the stories of thousands of abortion deaths a year originate? Pro-choicers started lying about these statistics during the push to make abortion legal in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson was a former abortionist turned pro-life activist who co-founded NARAL, a pro-abortion organization that is still active today. He helped come up with pro-abortion talking points. In his 1977 book Aborting America, he wrote about the way NARAL lied about illegal abortion deaths:

How many deaths were we talking about when abortion was illegal? In NARAL., we generally emphasized the drama 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 the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the “morality” of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics? The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible. [3]

Malcolm Potts was medical director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), who helped promote abortion throughout the world. He wrote in 1977:

Those who want the [abortion] law to be liberalized will stress the hazards of illegal abortion and claim that hundreds, or thousands, of women die unnecessarily each year – when the actual number is far lower. [4] 

Courtesy of Carole Novielli and Live Action News, here are the actual official numbers on mothers’ deaths from illegal abortion before Roe:

  • 1959: less than 300 deaths (Source: Guttmacher Institute)
  • 1964: 264 deaths (Source: Department of Health Education and Welfare)
  • 1964: 267 deaths (Source: Statistician Dr. Christopher Tietze)
  • 1965: just under 200 deaths (Source: Guttmacher Institute) 
  • 1965: 193 deaths (Source: Planned Parenthood) 
  • 1966: 189 deaths (Source: National Center for Health Statistics, reported by CDC)
  • 1972: 39 deaths (Source: Centers for Disease Control CDC)
  • 1973: 19 deaths (Source: Centers for Disease Control CDC)
There were nowhere near thousands of women dying before Roe. The year before Roe vs. Wade was decided, there were only 39 deaths. 
But even though the numbers are small, we still see the numbers going down. Did Roe save some women’s lives? There were, indeed, fewer maternal deaths in 1973 than there were in 1959. So, were fewer women dying? 
Sadly, no. Deaths from illegal abortions simply started being replaced by deaths from legal abortions. In 1978, in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, one of the oldest and most respected peer reviewed medical journals in the world, researcher Dennis Cavanaugh wrote: 

There has been no major impact on the number of women dying from abortion in the United States since liberalized abortion was introduced… It really makes no difference whether a woman dies from legal or illegal abortion, she is dead nonetheless. I find no comfort in the fact that legal abortion is now the leading cause of abortion related maternal deaths in the US. [5] 

Researchers Thomas W. Hilgers, M.D. and Dennis O’Hare conducted a study in 1981 that determined a high number of legal abortion deaths since Roe. They wrote: 

As a result [of deaths by legal abortion], there has been no detectable change in the relative frequency of abortion-related maternal death due to induced abortion in the United States in the last 30 years. It is extremely important that there has been no significant impact on the relative frequency of abortion related maternal death due to induced abortion in the United States since the legalization of abortion.

The reason for this appears to be quite simple. While maternal death due to criminal abortion appear to be decreasing, they have been replaced, almost one for one, by maternal deaths due to legal abortion. [6] 

There were not thousands of women dying before Roe, and Roe v. Wade did not stop women from dying of botched abortions. Despite the common argument that overturning Roe would lead to massive numbers of women dying, there is no historical evidence to back this up. 
[Today’s guest post by Sarah Terzo is part of our paid blogging program.]
Footnotes
[1] Mary Calderone, “Illegal Abortions” American Journal of Public Health July 1960, p. 949
[2] Quoted in Kevin Sherlock The Scarlet Survey (Akron, Ohio: Brennyman Books, 1997) 5 
[3] Bernard N. Nathanson, M.D. Aborting America (New York: Pinnacle Books, 1979) 193 
[4] Malcolm Potts, Peter Diggory and John Peel Abortion (Cambridge University Press 1977) 529 
[5] Dennis Cavanaugh “Effect of Liberalized Abortion on Maternal Mortality Rates” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology February 1978, p. 375
[6] Thomas W. Hilgers, M.D. and Dennis O’Hare “Abortion Related Maternal Mortality: An In-Depth Analysis” in New Perspectives on Human Abortion, ed. By Thomas W. Hilgers, M.D. Dennis J. Horan, and David Mall (Frederick, Maryland: University Publications of America, 1981) 84

It’s been five years since Kermit Gosnell’s conviction

Yesterday, as pro-life advocates around the United States celebrated Mother’s Day, Kermit Gosnell marked the five years of life as a convicted felon.

Gosnell, the notorious Philadelphia abortionist, was convicted on May 13, 2013 of three counts of murder, one count of manslaughter, and 211 counts of violating Pennsylvania’s abortion waiting period law. The murder counts were for the deaths of three infants known only as Baby A, Baby C, and Baby D. The manslaughter count was for the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, a Bhutanese refugee who died after Gosnell administered her an overdose of sedatives during her abortion at 19 weeks.

Abortion advocates are sick of hearing about Gosnell. He was an outlier, they claim. Why are we still harping on this, five years later?

The truth is we have no idea if Gosnell was an outlier. He, like many others in states with abortion-friendly governors, operated without oversight for years. The reason he finally got caught? His over-prescription of narcotics caught the attention of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

That is part of a pattern. Time and time again, dangerous abortionists operate unimpeded for years, even decades, leaving a wide path of destruction in their wake. The abortion industry routinely refuses to police its own. To give just three examples (which are by no means the only ones):

  • Michigan abortionist Alberto Hodari received a $10,000 slap on the wrist in the 2003 abortion death of Regina Johnson; horrifically botched an abortion in 2008; also in 2008, forced a woman to go through with an abortion after she had changed her mind; was cited for numerous health and safety violations in 2009; also in 2009, missed an ectopic pregnancy; and remained in practice until his retirement in 2013. 
  • James Pendergraft‘s medical license was suspended four separate times, but each time, he was allowed to resume his butchery. Like Gosnell, his downfall only came when he was caught dealing drugs—but even now, a Florida abortion facility affiliated with Pendergraft continues to operate without a license. 
  • Abortionist Steven Chase Brigham is so horrific, the vehemently pro-abortion blog RH Reality Check reported: “Since the early 1990s, public records show, Brigham’s patients have suffered emergency hysterectomies, severe bowel injuries, severed ureters, and sweeping lacerations to the uterus. Over a period of two decades, Brigham has been barred from practicing medicine in at least six states, sued by his landlords and business associates, and even served jail time for failing to pay taxes. And yet today, Brigham remains in control of a network of 15 abortion clinics in four states, and there appears little that most state authorities are able—or willing—to do about it.”
Gosnell himself showed early signs of psychopathy on Mother’s Day of 1972:

It was called the Mother’s Day Massacre—the brainchild of Harvey Karman, an eccentric California man without medical training who had served 2½ years in prison for performing illegal abortions in the 1950s. Karman teamed with a young Philadelphia doctor who offered to perform abortions on 15 impoverished women, each between four and six months pregnant, who were bused to the Philadelphia clinic from Chicago on Mother’s Day 1972.

What the women didn’t know was that they were guinea pigs for a device Karman had invented, which he called the “super coil.” He had tested it only on wartime rape victims in Bangladesh, where he had traveled under the sponsorship of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

That young Philadelphia doctor, of course, was Gosnell. The way the “Super Coil” worked was that a bunch of razors were coated with a protective gel and wrapped into a ball before being placed into the mother’s uterus. After warming up in the body, the gel would melt and the razors would spring open, cutting up the baby.

Of the 15 mothers who underwent the procedure, nine suffered serious complications, including one who needed a hysterectomy. Others had a punctured uterus, hemorrhage, infections and retained fetal remains. Karman’s conviction (only for practicing medicine without a license) was overturned and Gosnell totally got away with it. 

Imagine if Gosnell’s license were revoked in 1972! Karnamaya Mongar, and tens of thousands of innocent children, might still be alive.

Justice delayed is justice denied. If health officials acted promptly to shut down abortionists upon their first offense, countless lives would be saved, and women would be spared injury and heartache.

Pro-life, pro-woman advocates are working hard to make that happen, but the usual suspects are fighting progress. Five years after Gosnell’s conviction, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are in court, trying to eliminate an Indiana law that requires annual inspections of abortion centers and reporting of abortion complications.

It’s been five years since Kermit Gosnell’s conviction

Yesterday, as pro-life advocates around the United States celebrated Mother’s Day, Kermit Gosnell marked the five years of life as a convicted felon.

Gosnell, the notorious Philadelphia abortionist, was convicted on May 13, 2013 of three counts of murder, one count of manslaughter, and 211 counts of violating Pennsylvania’s abortion waiting period law. The murder counts were for the deaths of three infants known only as Baby A, Baby C, and Baby D. The manslaughter count was for the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, a Bhutanese refugee who died after Gosnell administered her an overdose of sedatives during her abortion at 19 weeks.

Abortion advocates are sick of hearing about Gosnell. He was an outlier, they claim. Why are we still harping on this, five years later?

The truth is we have no idea if Gosnell was an outlier. He, like many others in states with abortion-friendly governors, operated without oversight for years. The reason he finally got caught? His over-prescription of narcotics caught the attention of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

That is part of a pattern. Time and time again, dangerous abortionists operate unimpeded for years, even decades, leaving a wide path of destruction in their wake. The abortion industry routinely refuses to police its own. To give just three examples (which are by no means the only ones):

  • Michigan abortionist Alberto Hodari received a $10,000 slap on the wrist in the 2003 abortion death of Regina Johnson; horrifically botched an abortion in 2008; also in 2008, forced a woman to go through with an abortion after she had changed her mind; was cited for numerous health and safety violations in 2009; also in 2009, missed an ectopic pregnancy; and remained in practice until his retirement in 2013. 
  • James Pendergraft‘s medical license was suspended four separate times, but each time, he was allowed to resume his butchery. Like Gosnell, his downfall only came when he was caught dealing drugs—but even now, a Florida abortion facility affiliated with Pendergraft continues to operate without a license. 
  • Abortionist Steven Chase Brigham is so horrific, the vehemently pro-abortion blog RH Reality Check reported: “Since the early 1990s, public records show, Brigham’s patients have suffered emergency hysterectomies, severe bowel injuries, severed ureters, and sweeping lacerations to the uterus. Over a period of two decades, Brigham has been barred from practicing medicine in at least six states, sued by his landlords and business associates, and even served jail time for failing to pay taxes. And yet today, Brigham remains in control of a network of 15 abortion clinics in four states, and there appears little that most state authorities are able—or willing—to do about it.”
Gosnell himself showed early signs of psychopathy on Mother’s Day of 1972:

It was called the Mother’s Day Massacre—the brainchild of Harvey Karman, an eccentric California man without medical training who had served 2½ years in prison for performing illegal abortions in the 1950s. Karman teamed with a young Philadelphia doctor who offered to perform abortions on 15 impoverished women, each between four and six months pregnant, who were bused to the Philadelphia clinic from Chicago on Mother’s Day 1972.

What the women didn’t know was that they were guinea pigs for a device Karman had invented, which he called the “super coil.” He had tested it only on wartime rape victims in Bangladesh, where he had traveled under the sponsorship of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

That young Philadelphia doctor, of course, was Gosnell. The way the “Super Coil” worked was that a bunch of razors were coated with a protective gel and wrapped into a ball before being placed into the mother’s uterus. After warming up in the body, the gel would melt and the razors would spring open, cutting up the baby.

Of the 15 mothers who underwent the procedure, nine suffered serious complications, including one who needed a hysterectomy. Others had a punctured uterus, hemorrhage, infections and retained fetal remains. Karman’s conviction (only for practicing medicine without a license) was overturned and Gosnell totally got away with it. 

Imagine if Gosnell’s license were revoked in 1972! Karnamaya Mongar, and tens of thousands of innocent children, might still be alive.

Justice delayed is justice denied. If health officials acted promptly to shut down abortionists upon their first offense, countless lives would be saved, and women would be spared injury and heartache.

Pro-life, pro-woman advocates are working hard to make that happen, but the usual suspects are fighting progress. Five years after Gosnell’s conviction, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are in court, trying to eliminate an Indiana law that requires annual inspections of abortion centers and reporting of abortion complications.

No, defunding Planned Parenthood did not make maternal mortality skyrocket in Texas

In 2011, Texas redirected taxpayer funds from Planned Parenthood to federally qualified health centers and other comprehensive healthcare providers. The next year, maternal mortality in Texas allegedly skyrocketed. Pro-lifers were immediately blamed. Planned Parenthood funding had been saving lives! Post hoc, ergo propter hoc!

That explanation was unsatisfying, because Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer birth care. Nor would Planned Parenthood’s provision of contraceptives explain it; FQHCs offer contraception too, and besides, the maternal mortality rate is calculated per 100,000 births, so it should be unaffected by changes to the pregnancy rate and birth rate.

So what was causing more Texas mothers to die? And what could the pro-life movement do to prevent these deaths?

Nothing — because in fact, the maternal mortality spike was an illusion. The Washington Post reports:

For the past few years, Texas’s maternal mortality rate was so high it seemed unbelievable.

As it turns out, according to a study released this week it was, indeed, not to be believed.

This week, the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force released a study in Obstetrics & Gynecology that found the maternal morbidity figures from 2012 — which had Texas mothers dying at rates that shocked experts and the public — were based on sloppy and erroneous data collection.

So sloppy, in fact, that more than half of the deaths that were recorded as pregnancy-related that year were recorded that way in error.

Specifically, the phantom mortality increase arose from changes to Texas death certificates, which resulted in more coroners incorrectly checking a box to indicate pregnancy-related death.

A recently published report combed through this data and determined that “after all of the data-collection errors were excluded, Texas’s 2012 maternal mortality rate was corrected from 38.4 deaths per 100,000 live births to 14.6 per 100,000 live births.” That’s considerably lower than the current (2015) national average of 26.4 deaths per 100,000 births. Put another way, not only did Planned Parenthood defunding not cause a spike in maternal mortality, it’s actually safer to give birth in Texas than it is to give birth in the United States as a whole.

To be clear, even one pregnancy-related death is too many. None of this takes anything away from the fantastic pro-life initiatives, like Abide, that are working hard to improve the health of Texas mothers and babies. And as the Washington Post points out, the United States has a long way to go before it matches the maternal mortality rates of other developed countries.

No, defunding Planned Parenthood did not make maternal mortality skyrocket in Texas

In 2011, Texas redirected taxpayer funds from Planned Parenthood to federally qualified health centers and other comprehensive healthcare providers. The next year, maternal mortality in Texas allegedly skyrocketed. Pro-lifers were immediately blamed. Planned Parenthood funding had been saving lives! Post hoc, ergo propter hoc!

That explanation was unsatisfying, because Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer birth care. Nor would Planned Parenthood’s provision of contraceptives explain it; FQHCs offer contraception too, and besides, the maternal mortality rate is calculated per 100,000 births, so it should be unaffected by changes to the pregnancy rate and birth rate.

So what was causing more Texas mothers to die? And what could the pro-life movement do to prevent these deaths?

Nothing — because in fact, the maternal mortality spike was an illusion. The Washington Post reports:

For the past few years, Texas’s maternal mortality rate was so high it seemed unbelievable.

As it turns out, according to a study released this week it was, indeed, not to be believed.

This week, the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force released a study in Obstetrics & Gynecology that found the maternal morbidity figures from 2012 — which had Texas mothers dying at rates that shocked experts and the public — were based on sloppy and erroneous data collection.

So sloppy, in fact, that more than half of the deaths that were recorded as pregnancy-related that year were recorded that way in error.

Specifically, the phantom mortality increase arose from changes to Texas death certificates, which resulted in more coroners incorrectly checking a box to indicate pregnancy-related death.

A recently published report combed through this data and determined that “after all of the data-collection errors were excluded, Texas’s 2012 maternal mortality rate was corrected from 38.4 deaths per 100,000 live births to 14.6 per 100,000 live births.” That’s considerably lower than the current (2015) national average of 26.4 deaths per 100,000 births. Put another way, not only did Planned Parenthood defunding not cause a spike in maternal mortality, it’s actually safer to give birth in Texas than it is to give birth in the United States as a whole.

To be clear, even one pregnancy-related death is too many. None of this takes anything away from the fantastic pro-life initiatives, like Abide, that are working hard to improve the health of Texas mothers and babies. And as the Washington Post points out, the United States has a long way to go before it matches the maternal mortality rates of other developed countries.

Remembering Marla Cardamone

[Today’s post by Sarah Terzo is part of our paid blogging program. Sarah is a pro-life atheist, a frequent contributor to Live Action News, a board member of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, and the force behind ClinicQuotes.com.]


Since Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in every state in the U.S., over 55 million babies have been killed in the wombs of their mothers (and some outside). The deaths of women from legal abortion get far less attention. Yet hundreds of women have been killed in botched legal abortions.

One of these women was 18-year-old Marla Cardamone (pictured right), who died from a botched abortion 27 years ago this month. Christina Dunigan has written about the events that took place in August of 1989.

Cardamone, already the mother of a toddler, was pregnant and was thinking of making an adoption plan for her baby. Unfortunately, her social worker urged her to have an abortion. The reason was that Cardamone had been taking medication for depression. The medications Tegretol (a mood stabilizer) and Elavil (an antidepressant) had a small chance of causing fetal deformities. According to Dunigan’s research, however, the chances of Cardamone’s baby being damaged was only 8%.

Despite the fact that the odds were in her child’s favor, Cardamone listened to the social worker who was urging her to abort. Already, as a woman suffering from a mental illness, she was at high risk of post-abortion trauma and regret. According to a World Health Organization report:

Studies concerned with women who have had legal abortions in hospitals, mainly for psychiatric reasons, show that serious mental disorders arise more often in women with previous emotional problems. These, the very women for whom legal abortion is considered to be justified on psychiatric grounds, are the ones that have the highest risk for postabortion psychiatric disorders.

Cardamone went for a sonogram, but never learned the medical results. More on that later.

The social worker convinced Cardamone that the risk of having a severely disabled baby was too high, and she agreed to an abortion. She may have believed that no one would adopt a disabled child. This is a common misconception. There are often families willing to adopt even children with potentially fatal conditions. For instance, Dana Weinstein, who told the story of her abortion in Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement, was given the option of placing her son for adoption, even though he suffered from a fatal brain defect.
Weinstein says:

They couldn’t give me any indication of how long the child would survive after it was born, but they did say that I would need a resuscitation order in place prior to delivering her, and she would need significant medical intervention to exist. They gave me the option of adoption, there are apparently families and places that will adopt children like this, that will die.

Sadly, instead of placing her baby for adoption, Weinstein aborted at 32 weeks.

So even if Cardamone’s baby had been severely disabled, adoption was still a possibility. But Cardamone chose abortion. She was admitted to Magee Women’s Hospital for the abortion and abortionist Michael W. Weinberger injected urea into her uterus to kill her baby.

She would never leave the hospital.

A botched laminaria insertion and possible botched injection led to septicemia, and massive cortical necrosis of the kidneys and uterine wall.
The complications began during the night. She became ill with nausea, vomiting, urinary incontinence and began bleeding from the mouth. Disorientation and seizures followed. Her temperature skyrocketed. Although doctors struggled to save her, she died. Her family was not notified that anything was wrong until after her death.

Cardamone’s mother describes coming to the hospital to see her daughter’s body:

When I entered the room, I could hardly believe what I saw. There was my beautiful daughter so horribly disfigured that she was almost unrecognizable. A tube was still protruding from her mouth and I could see that her teeth and gums were covered with blood. Her eyes were half opened and the whites of her eyes were a dark yellow. Her face was swollen and discolored a deep purple. The left side of her face looked like she had suffered a stroke. All I wanted was to hold her. I managed to get an arm around her and kissed her good-bye.

A lawsuit was filed, and another tragic fact came to light. The ultrasound Cardamone had before the abortion showed that the baby was normal, but she never knew. As her mother said: “My daughter was pressured to have an abortion, and there had been no reason for it, no reason at all.”

Pro-choice groups have never reached out to Cardamone’s family or publicly mentioned her death. Cardamone’s mother says.

I’ve often wondered why pro-choice women’s groups have never expressed any sympathy or concern over Marla’s death. Why aren’t they demanding justice? Why aren’t they concerned that Marla was lied to about the condition of her baby and wasn’t shown the sonogram results? Why aren’t they concerned that proper treatment was delayed because Marla was misdiagnosed by a resident who was only two months out of medical school? Why are they so quiet?
I believe it’s because pro-choice groups don’t want women to read or hear about abortion injuries and deaths. Bad publicity hurts their cause. That’s why they prefer that Marla and her baby remain hidden statistics.

Marla Cardamone’s death was a tragedy that never should have happened. How many times have pro-choice leaders told the public that abortion must be legal in so that it can be safe? Cardamone is just one of hundreds of mothers who have died from legal abortions.

A legal abortion is not always a safe abortion. But despite these deaths, the pro-choice movement has mobilized against common sense clinic regulations that would make abortion safer and have been successful in getting legislation protecting women struck down in the courts.

Remembering Marla Cardamone

[Today’s post by Sarah Terzo is part of our paid blogging program. Sarah is a pro-life atheist, a frequent contributor to Live Action News, a board member of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, and the force behind ClinicQuotes.com.]


Since Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in every state in the U.S., over 55 million babies have been killed in the wombs of their mothers (and some outside). The deaths of women from legal abortion get far less attention. Yet hundreds of women have been killed in botched legal abortions.

One of these women was 18-year-old Marla Cardamone (pictured right), who died from a botched abortion 27 years ago this month. Christina Dunigan has written about the events that took place in August of 1989.

Cardamone, already the mother of a toddler, was pregnant and was thinking of making an adoption plan for her baby. Unfortunately, her social worker urged her to have an abortion. The reason was that Cardamone had been taking medication for depression. The medications Tegretol (a mood stabilizer) and Elavil (an antidepressant) had a small chance of causing fetal deformities. According to Dunigan’s research, however, the chances of Cardamone’s baby being damaged was only 8%.

Despite the fact that the odds were in her child’s favor, Cardamone listened to the social worker who was urging her to abort. Already, as a woman suffering from a mental illness, she was at high risk of post-abortion trauma and regret. According to a World Health Organization report:

Studies concerned with women who have had legal abortions in hospitals, mainly for psychiatric reasons, show that serious mental disorders arise more often in women with previous emotional problems. These, the very women for whom legal abortion is considered to be justified on psychiatric grounds, are the ones that have the highest risk for postabortion psychiatric disorders.

Cardamone went for a sonogram, but never learned the medical results. More on that later.

The social worker convinced Cardamone that the risk of having a severely disabled baby was too high, and she agreed to an abortion. She may have believed that no one would adopt a disabled child. This is a common misconception. There are often families willing to adopt even children with potentially fatal conditions. For instance, Dana Weinstein, who told the story of her abortion in Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement, was given the option of placing her son for adoption, even though he suffered from a fatal brain defect.
Weinstein says:

They couldn’t give me any indication of how long the child would survive after it was born, but they did say that I would need a resuscitation order in place prior to delivering her, and she would need significant medical intervention to exist. They gave me the option of adoption, there are apparently families and places that will adopt children like this, that will die.

Sadly, instead of placing her baby for adoption, Weinstein aborted at 32 weeks.

So even if Cardamone’s baby had been severely disabled, adoption was still a possibility. But Cardamone chose abortion. She was admitted to Magee Women’s Hospital for the abortion and abortionist Michael W. Weinberger injected urea into her uterus to kill her baby.

She would never leave the hospital.

A botched laminaria insertion and possible botched injection led to septicemia, and massive cortical necrosis of the kidneys and uterine wall.
The complications began during the night. She became ill with nausea, vomiting, urinary incontinence and began bleeding from the mouth. Disorientation and seizures followed. Her temperature skyrocketed. Although doctors struggled to save her, she died. Her family was not notified that anything was wrong until after her death.

Cardamone’s mother describes coming to the hospital to see her daughter’s body:

When I entered the room, I could hardly believe what I saw. There was my beautiful daughter so horribly disfigured that she was almost unrecognizable. A tube was still protruding from her mouth and I could see that her teeth and gums were covered with blood. Her eyes were half opened and the whites of her eyes were a dark yellow. Her face was swollen and discolored a deep purple. The left side of her face looked like she had suffered a stroke. All I wanted was to hold her. I managed to get an arm around her and kissed her good-bye.

A lawsuit was filed, and another tragic fact came to light. The ultrasound Cardamone had before the abortion showed that the baby was normal, but she never knew. As her mother said: “My daughter was pressured to have an abortion, and there had been no reason for it, no reason at all.”

Pro-choice groups have never reached out to Cardamone’s family or publicly mentioned her death. Cardamone’s mother says.

I’ve often wondered why pro-choice women’s groups have never expressed any sympathy or concern over Marla’s death. Why aren’t they demanding justice? Why aren’t they concerned that Marla was lied to about the condition of her baby and wasn’t shown the sonogram results? Why aren’t they concerned that proper treatment was delayed because Marla was misdiagnosed by a resident who was only two months out of medical school? Why are they so quiet?
I believe it’s because pro-choice groups don’t want women to read or hear about abortion injuries and deaths. Bad publicity hurts their cause. That’s why they prefer that Marla and her baby remain hidden statistics.

Marla Cardamone’s death was a tragedy that never should have happened. How many times have pro-choice leaders told the public that abortion must be legal in so that it can be safe? Cardamone is just one of hundreds of mothers who have died from legal abortions.

A legal abortion is not always a safe abortion. But despite these deaths, the pro-choice movement has mobilized against common sense clinic regulations that would make abortion safer and have been successful in getting legislation protecting women struck down in the courts.

Why Abortion Regulation Matters

[Today’s guest post is by Maria Tsikalas.]

News organizations from Al Jazeera America to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel were in full force last week lamenting current and pending legislation in Louisiana, Wisconsin and other states that would require admitting privileges at nearby hospitals for abortion providers.

The New York Times said:

The requirement that doctors have admitting privileges has emerged as a new tactic of the anti-abortion movement, which says it is intended to protect women’s health. But major medical groups have said that the rule has no bearing on safety since, in the rare cases of emergency, hospitals will accept and treat women experiencing complications from abortion regardless.

The Times declined to raise any specific cases whatsoever where admitting privileges for abortion clinics might have actually saved women’s lives. Allow me.

Maria Santiago went into cardiac arrest and died in February 2013 in a Baltimore clinic following her abortion. The staff at the facility did not provide correct post-anesthesia care and observation. No one at the clinic, including the abortion provider, had current CPR certification, and the defibrillator in the clinic was broken. The Maryland Office of Health Care Quality determined that the facility “was not equipped to complete a procedure safely [and] failed to implement a safe discharge plan for the patient. … The Respondent practiced in an environment in which unlicensed/untrained office staff were allowed to perform ultrasounds, evaluate fetal gestational age, and provide medications to patients to promote abortions.”

In that same month, in the same state, Jennifer Morbelli died following her abortion at Germantown Reproductive Health Services. The fly-by-night abortionist responsible for her procedure, Leroy Carhart, had left the clinic immediately following her visit. In the hours following, Morbelli’s family tried to reach him for emergency instructions to no avail. They then took her to a nearby hospital, where emergency room staff also tried to contact Carhart and the clinic staff without success, leaving “hospital physicians in the dark about her condition and prior medical treatment, causing a delay in providing the care she needed,” according to Operation Rescue. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found in their inspection following the incident that “the staff were not trained on the emergency transfer of a patient to the hospital from the facility,” nor did the facility have any policies in place to ensure such training.

Tonya Reaves hemorrhaged to death at a Planned Parenthood in Chicago in 2012. She underwent four abortion procedures in one day and bled internally for between 9 and 11 hours. The abortionist in question, Mandy Gittler, who has no certification from any organization in obstetrics and gynecology, initially blamed the incident on Reaves probably having a deformed uterus (despite the fact that Reaves had had an abortion at Planned Parenthood two years before with no complications). Gittler neglected to tell the hospital staff that she might have accidentally perforated the uterus during the abortion, which she admitted to having known as a possibility. Uterine perforation in two places turned out to be the cause of death. Following the abortion, Gittler never even looked at the autopsy report; she was apparently uninterested in what had happened under her watch and indifferent to ensuring that she did not repeat the fatal mistake.

In all of these cases, one can reasonably conclude that had abortion doctors been quicker to involve hospitals following complications, these three women might still be alive. Does that mean, then, that admitting privileges are the solution? Not necessarily. But it does indicate that more oversight and regulations of some form are certainly warranted. After all, as the grand jury report in the infamous Kermit Gosnell case stated, “Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety.” And a New York Post article published in April reported that New York City’s tanning salons are inspected more often than its abortion clinics. More than 30 percent of the city’s abortion centers weren’t inspected even once over a 12-year period.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, President Obama immediately pushed for gun control legislation, proclaiming “If there’s even one step we can take to save another child … surely we have an obligation to try.” But in the wake of the deaths of these women, and other tragic incidents at abortion centers across the United States, what is the response? Abortion-supporting politicians and lobbyist groups are remarkably silent about how to prevent even one more fatality. It’s time for them to surrender their “women’s health” cards.

Why Abortion Regulation Matters

[Today’s guest post is by Maria Tsikalas.]

News organizations from Al Jazeera America to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel were in full force last week lamenting current and pending legislation in Louisiana, Wisconsin and other states that would require admitting privileges at nearby hospitals for abortion providers.

The New York Times said:

The requirement that doctors have admitting privileges has emerged as a new tactic of the anti-abortion movement, which says it is intended to protect women’s health. But major medical groups have said that the rule has no bearing on safety since, in the rare cases of emergency, hospitals will accept and treat women experiencing complications from abortion regardless.

The Times declined to raise any specific cases whatsoever where admitting privileges for abortion clinics might have actually saved women’s lives. Allow me.

Maria Santiago went into cardiac arrest and died in February 2013 in a Baltimore clinic following her abortion. The staff at the facility did not provide correct post-anesthesia care and observation. No one at the clinic, including the abortion provider, had current CPR certification, and the defibrillator in the clinic was broken. The Maryland Office of Health Care Quality determined that the facility “was not equipped to complete a procedure safely [and] failed to implement a safe discharge plan for the patient. … The Respondent practiced in an environment in which unlicensed/untrained office staff were allowed to perform ultrasounds, evaluate fetal gestational age, and provide medications to patients to promote abortions.”

In that same month, in the same state, Jennifer Morbelli died following her abortion at Germantown Reproductive Health Services. The fly-by-night abortionist responsible for her procedure, Leroy Carhart, had left the clinic immediately following her visit. In the hours following, Morbelli’s family tried to reach him for emergency instructions to no avail. They then took her to a nearby hospital, where emergency room staff also tried to contact Carhart and the clinic staff without success, leaving “hospital physicians in the dark about her condition and prior medical treatment, causing a delay in providing the care she needed,” according to Operation Rescue. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found in their inspection following the incident that “the staff were not trained on the emergency transfer of a patient to the hospital from the facility,” nor did the facility have any policies in place to ensure such training.

Tonya Reaves hemorrhaged to death at a Planned Parenthood in Chicago in 2012. She underwent four abortion procedures in one day and bled internally for between 9 and 11 hours. The abortionist in question, Mandy Gittler, who has no certification from any organization in obstetrics and gynecology, initially blamed the incident on Reaves probably having a deformed uterus (despite the fact that Reaves had had an abortion at Planned Parenthood two years before with no complications). Gittler neglected to tell the hospital staff that she might have accidentally perforated the uterus during the abortion, which she admitted to having known as a possibility. Uterine perforation in two places turned out to be the cause of death. Following the abortion, Gittler never even looked at the autopsy report; she was apparently uninterested in what had happened under her watch and indifferent to ensuring that she did not repeat the fatal mistake.

In all of these cases, one can reasonably conclude that had abortion doctors been quicker to involve hospitals following complications, these three women might still be alive. Does that mean, then, that admitting privileges are the solution? Not necessarily. But it does indicate that more oversight and regulations of some form are certainly warranted. After all, as the grand jury report in the infamous Kermit Gosnell case stated, “Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety.” And a New York Post article published in April reported that New York City’s tanning salons are inspected more often than its abortion clinics. More than 30 percent of the city’s abortion centers weren’t inspected even once over a 12-year period.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, President Obama immediately pushed for gun control legislation, proclaiming “If there’s even one step we can take to save another child … surely we have an obligation to try.” But in the wake of the deaths of these women, and other tragic incidents at abortion centers across the United States, what is the response? Abortion-supporting politicians and lobbyist groups are remarkably silent about how to prevent even one more fatality. It’s time for them to surrender their “women’s health” cards.