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Senator at Kavanaugh confirmation falsely claims millions died from illegal abortion

6 September 2018

Senator Feinstein made the false claims during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. 

"Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public."

The confirmation hearing for US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been subject to constant disruption by pro-abortion activists and Democrat senators, who fear he will provide the majority needed to overturn Roe v Wade, the 1973 decision that legalised most abortions across America.

However, opponents of Judge Kavanaugh's nomination have also been using the hearing to spread misleading facts and figures on abortion in the US.

Wildly inaccurate claims

Senator Diane Feinstein has already been called out for claiming that she sent women to jail in the 1960s for illegal abortions, despite never having been a lawyer or judge, and the last of only two  known prosecutions of women for abortion before Roe v Wade having taken place in 1922. 

She continued to incite fear about the consequences of Roe v Wade being overturned in yesterday's hearing by referring to the number of women supposedly dying from illegal abortions. 

Senator Feinstein claimed that "a lot of women died" from illegal abortions, saying: "In the 1950s and 60s, the two decades before Roe, deaths from illegal abortions in this country ran between 200,000 and 1.2 million. That’s according to the Guttmacher Institute."

A record of fabricating figures

It appears that Senator Feinstein may have meant to refer to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute's statistics for illegal abortions carried out, rather than deaths, but it highlights the point have fabricated figures for maternal deaths due to abortion have long been used to change laws. 

Bernard Nathanson, who, as co-founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), was at the heart of the movement to liberalise abortion laws in the the USA, and who later became pro-life, has admitted that they lied about the number of women dying from illegal abortions. 

"We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000 but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000. Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200 - 250 annually. The figure 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 Britain as well

Similar false claims were made in Britain; referring to the number of backstreet abortions, David Steel MP, the principal sponsor of the 1967 Abortion act said: "I would not settle for any definite figure, but it is probably somewhere between 40,000 and 200,000 a year." However, in 1966 the Council of the Royal college of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) showed that approximately 14,600 women had received treatment for the consequences of illegal abortion in 1962. The Council commented that the repeatedly stated figures of 100,000, 250,000 or even 50,000 "are without any secure factual foundation of which we are aware." 

Stoking fears about a return to backstreet abortions is also disingenuous because evidence shows that, with the advent of antibiotics, maternal deaths of any sort were declining rapidly years before the introduction of abortion. Legalising abortion did nothing to reduce maternal deaths - but it did lead to a situation where hundreds of thousands of unborn babies are killed by abortion each year. 

News in brief:

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