The Corner

Culture

Planned Parenthood’s Lie about Maternal Deaths Makes the Post’s Pinocchios of the Year

Pro-choice activists assemble in downtown Memphis during a “Stop Abortion Bans Day of Action” rally hosted by the Tennessee chapter of Planned Parenthood in Tennessee, U.S., May 21, 2019. (Karen Pulfer Focht/Reuters)

At the Washington Post today, fact-checker Glenn Kessler has a roundup of the biggest Pinocchios of 2019, collecting the top 13 falsehoods that he fact-checked over the past year. Though Donald Trump dominates the list, one item is dedicated to Leana Wen, the former president of Planned Parenthood.

Shortly before Planned Parenthood’s board ousted her — displeased with her desire to focus more on expanding the group’s health-care services than on pro-abortion political activism — Wen was the feature of a Kessler fact-check and received four Pinocchios for her repeated claims that thousands of women died from botched abortions prior to 1973’s Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.

Kessler rightly corrected the record, noting Centers for Disease Control data showing that, in 1972, the number of deaths in the U.S. from legal abortion was 24 and from illegal abortions 39. Those statistics could be somewhat of an undercount, but they easily disprove Wen’s claim.

And it isn’t just Wen who peddles this fiction. One of the foremost arguments wielded against abortion restrictions is the claim that limiting the procedure wouldn’t stop abortion from happening; it would merely give rise to “back-alley” abortions and “send us back” to the dangerous pre-Roe days when, we are given to believe, countless women died in “unsafe” abortions. Elizabeth Warren particularly loves this rhetoric, speaking often of how she lived before Roe and remembers a world that, as she describes it, was something akin to a hellscape for pregnant women.

But as Kessler demonstrates, the country before Roe was hardly suffering from a maternal-mortality crisis related to abortion procedures. This myth is one of the various ways that supporters of unlimited abortion keep uninformed observers in the dark about what would really happen if Roe were overturned and voters once again had some control over our abortion policy.

Most Popular

White House

On the Bidens, Schiff Opened the Door

You opened the door. Trial lawyers live in fear of that phrase. When a trial starts, both sides know what the allegations are. Both have had enough discovery to know what the adversary will try to prove. Just as significantly, both know what their own vulnerabilities are. A litigator spends his pretrial ... Read More
White House

On the Bidens, Schiff Opened the Door

You opened the door. Trial lawyers live in fear of that phrase. When a trial starts, both sides know what the allegations are. Both have had enough discovery to know what the adversary will try to prove. Just as significantly, both know what their own vulnerabilities are. A litigator spends his pretrial ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Clarence Thomas Speaks

Those who know Justice Clarence Thomas say that any perception of him as dour or phlegmatic couldn't be more off-base. He's a charming, gracious, jovial man, full of bonhomie and easy with a laugh, or so I'm told by people who know him well. On summer breaks he likes to roam around the country in an RV and stay ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Clarence Thomas Speaks

Those who know Justice Clarence Thomas say that any perception of him as dour or phlegmatic couldn't be more off-base. He's a charming, gracious, jovial man, full of bonhomie and easy with a laugh, or so I'm told by people who know him well. On summer breaks he likes to roam around the country in an RV and stay ... Read More
World

Alarmists Were Wrong about the Soleimani Strike

Two weeks ago, the United States seemed on the brink of starting another war in the Middle East after a drone strike killed Iran’s most notorious spymaster, Qasem Soleimani, as he departed an international airport in Baghdad. The shadowy general, in charge of the Iranian equivalent of the CIA, was one of the ... Read More
World

Alarmists Were Wrong about the Soleimani Strike

Two weeks ago, the United States seemed on the brink of starting another war in the Middle East after a drone strike killed Iran’s most notorious spymaster, Qasem Soleimani, as he departed an international airport in Baghdad. The shadowy general, in charge of the Iranian equivalent of the CIA, was one of the ... Read More
U.S.

Nadler’s Folly

Jerry Nadler must have missed the day in law school where they teach you about persuasion. The House Democrat made a critical error early in the trial of President Trump. He didn’t just say that Republican senators, who voted to begin the proceedings without calling witnesses, were part of a cover-up. He said ... Read More
U.S.

Nadler’s Folly

Jerry Nadler must have missed the day in law school where they teach you about persuasion. The House Democrat made a critical error early in the trial of President Trump. He didn’t just say that Republican senators, who voted to begin the proceedings without calling witnesses, were part of a cover-up. He said ... Read More