If you make abortion illegal, women will die.
It is impossible to know how many illegal abortions were performed prior to 1973, since they were not reported. Still, we have a fairly accurate picture of how many women died from illegal abortions. A woman who was seriously injured as a result of abortion would go to another physician for care; if she died, that physician would accurately report her cause of death as abortion.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, after penicillin became available the number of deaths from abortion stabilized in the 1950s to about 250 per year. By 1966, when abortion was still illegal in all 50 states, abortion deaths had dropped to half that number. In 1972, the year before the Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide, only 39 women died—fewer than one per state.
Unfortunately, women are still dying from abortion. Life Dynamics has documented the deaths of 347 women from so-called “safe, legal abortion.”
- See also Do you want to return to the days of “back alley” and “coat hanger” abortions? and Isn’t abortion safer than childbirth?
Calderone, Mary S., MD. “Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem.” American Journal of Public Health 50, no. 7 ( July 1960): 949.
Life Dynamics Incorporated. “The Blackmun Wall.” Accessed October 10, 2013. http://www.lifedynamics.net/Pro-life_Group/Pro-choice_Women.
Willke, John, MD and Barbara Willke. Abortion: Questions & Answers. Cincinnati: Hayes, 2003.