WaPo Fact-Checkers Blast Planned Parenthood’s ‘False Stat’ | NTK Network WaPo Fact-Checkers Blast Planned Parenthood’s ‘False Stat’

WaPo Fact-Checkers Blast Planned Parenthood’s ‘False Stat’

The president of Planned Parenthood repeatedly claimed that “thousands of women died every year” from abortion-related complications before Roe v. Wade became the law of the land.

By NTK Staff | 05.29.2019 @2:00pm
WaPo Fact-Checkers Blast Planned Parenthood’s ‘False Stat’

The Washington Post’s top fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, ripped apart a false claim designed to scare Americans that the president of Planned Parenthood, Leana Wen, repeatedly made over the past few months.

“We face a real situation where Roe could be overturned,” Wen said during an interview with Dallas’s WFAA in March. “And we know what will happen, which is that women will die. Thousands of women died every year pre-Roe.”

She followed that claim up by tweeting a similar message in April:

And just last week, Wen appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and said, “We’re not going to go back in time to a time before Roe when thousands of women died every year because they didn’t have access to essential health care.”

But it turns out that Wen is distorting facts and misleading millions of Americans by repeating what the Washington Post called a “false stat.”

For starters, Kessler notes it’s exceedingly difficult to accurately state the number of abortions that took place prior to Roe v. Wade because abortion was an illegal act in many states at that time.

Secondly, some of the statistics cited by a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman were from the 1930s. As Kessler points out, by the late 1940s, the advent of a number of factors, including the development of antibiotics and penicillin, significantly dropped abortion-related deaths.

Another prominent researcher, Christopher Tietze, argued in a 1948 paper that the number of deaths from abortion was rapidly declining because of three reasons: contraceptive methods had improved so fewer women were getting pregnant, abortion providers were getting better at avoiding infections, and many lives had been saved because of the introduction of sulfa drugs and penicillin.

That effectively destroys Wen’s argument that overturning Roe would result in thousands of women dying again. “[T]his could happen again right here in America,” she claimed.

Ultimately, Kessler says Wen “should know better than to peddle statistics based on data that predates the advent of antibiotics.” And while he notes that unsafe abortion practices are a serious issue, advocates hurt their cause when they use figures that do not withstand scrutiny. These numbers were debunked in 1969 — 50 years ago — by a statistician celebrated by Planned Parenthood.”

“There’s no reason to use them today,” he concludes. The Washington Post gave Planned Parenthood’s Wen four Pinocchios, its harshest rating, for these false claims.

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