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Abortion Butchers Women, Both Pre- and Post-Roe

Posted on August 23 2010 12:00 pm
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It’s long been predicted by the pro-abortion extremists that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, women will have to go back to being butchered by seedy abortions in back alleys. There are hysterical stories consisting of coat hangers and women bleeding out because evil right-wingers wouldn’t let the kindly abortionists practice out in the open. The truth, of course, is much less hysterical. But what pro-abortion feminazi with an agenda to push would ever admit to that? Well, Amanda Marcotte, femisogynist extraordinaire, let the truth slip in a recent column written for pro-abortion website RH Reality Check.

Marcotte was applauding the television series Mad Men for featuring a character, Joan, who had gotten two abortions in the 1960s. These abortions were illegal at the time. And, says Marcotte, this is historically accurate, because the back alley abortionist myth is just not true.

In your usual overly dramatic Hollywood fare, this would have been an occasion for raising the stakes by implying that Joan was subject to a mythical back alley butcher who left her infertile for life. But instead, the doctor shrugs and suggests that the odds are that the midwife did a good job, and certainly everything that he could see was in good working order. He points out that she got pregnant after the first abortion, and so he has every reason to believe she’s fine.

Believe it or not, this was historically accurate. In the sixties, many doctors performed abortions for their regular patients and charted them as something else. If you got an abortion from someone who wasn’t your regular doctor, odds are that it was still a safe abortion. And, as I’ve written about before, the myth of the back alley butcher is mostly inaccurate. It’s tempting for pro-choicers to invoke it in an attempt to remind people of the high human cost of banning abortion, but in the end, portraying abortion providers as “butchers” mostly helps the anti-choice cause by stigmatizing the compassionate, hard-working people who have helped women in need, whether or not that help was legal.

So pro-abortion fanatics are twisting the truth to push their pro-abortion agenda? Not so fast, says Marcotte. She quickly reverts back to the typical pro-abortion hysteria, assuring us that before abortion was legal, women were indeed mutilated from botched abortions.

Which isn’t to deny that illegal abortion meant the mutilation and often death of countless women. It’s both true that when abortion was a crime most providers were professional and that hospitals had an overwhelming number of septic abortion cases. As historian Rickie Solinger points out in her book Beggars and Choosers, this is because women who didn’t know where to find a black-market abortion provider often resorted to trying to abort themselves, causing injury or even death. The coathanger is the symbol of women’s desperation when they have no access to abortion.

And Marcotte is not alone in pushing the hysteria.

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