By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director
Dr. Bernard Nathanson
The panic is almost palpable. Abortion supporters are screaming proverbial “Fire!” all over social and mainstream media, attempting to create mass hysteria over recent developments. Facts are distorted, truths half-told. Why are they ramping up their rhetoric?
The Alabama ban on abortions. The Ohio and Georgia bills protecting babies at early stages of development. The Down Syndrome Protection Act passed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. These are just a few among several other legislative efforts to defend the only unprotected class of Americans, the pre-born.
Seemingly all of a sudden, the 40+ years that pro-lifers have worked to change laws are showing signs of progress.
And while all this is certainly an encouragement to those of us on the side of life, we cannot rest easy. We have a two-fold mission: change laws and change hearts and minds. And neither is easy to do.
So now is the right time for all of us to self-enroll in Pro-Life Apologetics 101.
Apologetics is the systematic defense of a held belief. We pro-lifers must be ready to defend our position amongst the most persistent arguments for abortion. Often this may require a bit of historical research or googling of statistics, but it is well worth it if we can dispel some of the myths that continue to drive the abortion culture. There is not a single argument for abortion that cannot be answered with science, history, logic, or personal witness.
Take for example, one of the most common arguments that our society will return to the days of illegal back alley abortions, which abortion supporters claim were the cause of countless deaths prior to Roe vs. Wade. This allegation is meant to strike fear in our hearts, conjuring up horrible images of women suffering from infections due to unsterile instruments and untrained abortionists.
So how do we respond?
First, let’s acknowledge that legalized abortion puts women at risk for those very same things. Consider the deplorable conditions of Gosnell’s abortuary, where for over 30 years, grown and just-birthed women died, while others were infected with STD’s due to unsterilized instruments. Consider the Planned Parenthood in Philadelphia, made famous recently by Rep. Brian Sims’ outrageous bullying toward peaceful citizens, which failed 13 of the last 23 inspections. Do we honestly think these are the only two abortion centers not providing a “safe” sterile abortion? Even in the cleanest of facilities, abortion remains a procedure with multiple risks for women and death to every child.
Secondly, let’s be clear about where abortion advocates get their numbers.
When the sexual revolution, women’s liberation, and the abortion movement all collided in the late 60’s, the co-founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (later NARAL) abortionist Bernard Nathanson and his cohorts played off this fear and used the media to spread false statistics.
Nathanson, who later became an outspoken figure in the pro-life movement, confessed to these numbers being fake:
“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. Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalizing abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally. In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1500% since legalization.”
In Aborting America (1979) Nathanson writes that since these false statistics were useful to the abortion “revolution”, why would NARAL go out of its way to correct them?
Abortion supporters still rely on these fictitious figures to feed fears and create hysteria. And it is not beneath them to create additional misleading statistics, like abortion only being 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services. Or that a majority of Americans support abortion on demand throughout pregnancy.
But as students of truth and defenders of life, we can counter the inaccurate, irrational arguments used by abortion supporters to manipulate the American public. Perhaps repeating the truth often enough will convince the public.
There are many excellent resources available to educate ourselves and others, including our website at paprolife.org.
Let’s get busy. Let the truth spread like fire!