Learn the Facts

Do you want to return to the days of “back alley” and “coat hanger” abortions?

The idea of widespread and dangerous “back alley” abortions prior to the nationwide legalization of abortion in 1973 is not supported by the facts. The medical director of Planned Parenthood wrote in 1960 that “90% of illegal abortions are presently being done by physicians.”

Likewise, the “coat hanger abortion” is a myth. In his 1979 book, Aborting America, the late Dr. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL, then known as the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, refers to one coat hanger abortion. However, Nathanson, who later became committedly pro-life, publicly confessed to fabricating evidence in order to get abortion legalized. There is no hard evidence to support the performance of a single coat hanger abortion.

NARAL claimed that 1,000,000 illegal abortions were performed yearly, though they believed the actual number to be about 100,000. They claimed that 10,000 women died each year from illegal abortions, knowing that the actual number was a mere fraction of this.

See also If you make abortion illegal, women will die, What risks are associated with abortion?, and What was the legal status of abortion in the United States before Roe v. Wade?


Calderone, Mary S., MD. “Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem.” American Journal of Public Health 50, no. 7 (July 1960): 949.

Nathanson, Bernard. Aborting America. Garden City: Doubleday, 1979.

Nathanson, Bernard. The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind. Washington: Regnery, 1997.

Willke, John, MD and Barbara Willke. Abortion: Questions & Answers. Cincinnati: Hayes, 2003.

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