In a rare moment of truth on the subject of abortion, the Washington Post slapped Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen with four Pinnochios for repeatedly spreading the false claim that “thousands” of women died each year from illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade.
It’s a claim Wen has made ad nauseam during her short tenure as president of the nation’s largest abortion provider – and one her fellow abortion advocates have happily peddled, despite its falsity.
“We face a real situation where Roe could be overturned and if it is overturned then one in three women over reproductive age, which is 25 million women, could be living in states including Texas where they do not have the right to safe, legal abortion and we know what will happen,” Wen said during a stop in Texas back in March. “Women will die. Thousands of women died every year pre-Roe.”
Wen then repeated the claim verbatim in an April tweet.
Before Roe v. Wade, thousands of women died every year — and because of extreme attacks on safe, legal abortion care, this could happen again right here in America. #WeWontGoBack https://t.co/9orqLaif0J— Leana Wen, M.D. (@DrLeanaWen) April 24, 2019
WaPo Fact Checker Glenn Kessler, who handed Wen the worst possible truth-o-meter score the Post has to offer, dubbed Wen’s continuous claim “false” by literally every standard. In his lengthy report that combed through decades of history and years of abortion statistics, Kessler concluded that Wen’s claim is, at best, “derived from data that is decades old,” correctly noting (as many pro-life advocates have for years) that “in 1972, the number of deaths in the United States from legal abortions was 24 and from illegal abortions 39, according to the CDC.”
“Even given the fuzzy nature of the data and estimates, there is no evidence that in the years immediately preceding the Supreme Court’s decision, thousands of women died every year in the United States from illegal abortions,” Kessler concluded, adding that the claim that “thousands” of women died per year from botched abortions prior to Roe is a myth that’s been debunked for half a century.
“Wen is a doctor, and the ACOG is made up of doctors,” Kessler said. “They should know better than to peddle statistics based on data that predates the advent of antibiotics.”