Malcolm Potts on illegal abortions before Roe

Malcolm Potts, former Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), who helped promote abortion throughout the world, claimed in 1970:

“Those who want the [abortion] law to be liberalized will stress the hazards of illegal abortion and claim that hundreds, or thousands, of women die unnecessarily each year – when the actual number is far lower.”

Malcolm Potts, Peter Diggory and John Peel Abortion (Cambridge University Press 1977) 529

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Director of Planned Parenthood praises illegal abortionists

Malcolm Potts, a former director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation:

“The illegal abortionist has played an essential role in the evolution of modern industrial urban living, with its low birth rates, intensive education, and nuclear family system. He or she was classed as a criminal, but without their help, history would have taken a different course.”

Malcolm Potts, Peter Diggory and John Peel. Abortion. (Cambridge University Press, 1970)

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Most illegal abortions in the 60s were done by doctors

Abortion researcher Christopher Tietze:

“In the 1960s, a substantial proportion of illegal abortions in the United States were performed by physicians, including some highly experienced practitioners.”

Family Planning Perspectives, May/June 1975

Quoted in Kevin Sherlock The Scarlet Survey (Akron, Ohio: Brennyman Books, 1997 5

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Planned Parenthood director says illegal abortionists used “good technique”

Planned Parenthood medical director Alan Guttmacher said, in 1960:

“Illegal medical abortionists operate in several different ways. Usually they are listed in the medical bluebook under disguised designations… They demand prepayment in cash… The technique of the well–accredited criminal abortionist is usually good. They have to be good to stay in business, since otherwise they would be extremely vulnerable to police action.

Alan Guttmacher Babies by Choice or Chance, 1960

Quoted in Kevin Sherlock The Scarlet Survey (Akron, Ohio: Brennyman Books, 1997) 5

Most abortion clinics today also only accept payment in cash.

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Medical doctors were “bootleggers” of abortion

Auth0r William Brennan cites an article that showed that, prior to legalization, most abortions were being done by doctors. In 1936:

 “…Washington University obstetrics professor Dr. Frederick J. Taussig characterized anti-abortion statutes as the most universally disregarded laws in history, and medical doctors “the official “bootleggers” of abortion.” (This latter phrase was intended to evoke the days of prohibition when many people were breaking the laws against sale of alcoholic beverages.)”

William Brennan The Abortion Holocaust: Today’s Final Solution (St. Louis, Missouri, 1983) 14

The article cited was: Frederick J Taussig Abortion: Spontaneous and Induced: Medical and Social Aspects (St. Louis: CV Mosby, 1936) 394

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Doctors were doing abortions for years before they were legalized

Of a survey taken right after abortion was legalized in North Carolina:

“A large majority of 180 obstetricians surveyed regarding their attitudes toward North Carolina’s permissive abortion act of 1967 acknowledged that the new law had little effect other than “to have simply legalized something that we had been doing for many years.”

Direct quote from: William Brennan The Abortion Holocaust: Today’s Final Solution (St. Louis, Missouri, 1983) 15

Citing the study: William B Walker and J.F. Hulka “Attitudes and Practices of North Carolina Obstetricians: The Impact of the North Carolina Abortion Act of 1967” Southern Medical Journal 64 (April 1971): 441-445

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In 1933, most abortionists were doctors

A 1933 book by a well-respected surgeon claimed that most illegal abortionists were doctors:

“In 1933 Dr. Abraham J. Rongy, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, described the physician as “the chief agent of abortion” the one who “flouts the law.”

This is a direct quote from William Brennan The Abortion Holocaust: Today’s Final Solution (St. Louis, Missouri, 1983) 14

The book cited is Abraham J. Rongy Abortion: Legal or Illegal? (New York: Vanguard Press, 1933) 130

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In 1944 most illegal abortionists were doctors

Pro-Choice activists claim abortion was legalized to protect women, who they say were dying by the thousands due to back alley abortions. In reality, the vast majority of illegal abortions were done by doctors.  The following quote. made at a medical conference in 1944, attests to this:

“Although the performing of abortions has been forbidden to physicians since the time of Hippocrates, nevertheless the abortionist is drawn principally from the ranks of this profession.”

Dr. Harold C. Taylor at an abortion conference

Proceedings of a Conference of the National Committee on Maternal Health, The Abortion Problem (Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1944) viii

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Most women won’t seek illegal abortion

On the question of whether women will seek illegal abortions, two studies showed the following:

In Denmark and Sweden, surveys were taken of women who were turned down their applications for abortion – only 11 to 16% obtained illegal abortions

Robert Hall Commentary, in David T Smith, Ed., Abortion and the Law (Cleveland: Western Reserve University Press, 1967) 232 – 233

Read more about what illegal abortions were really like here. 

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Legalizing abortion had no impact on number of women dying

From an article in a leading medical journal in 1978, 5 years after abortion was legalized:

“There has been no major impact on the number of women dying from abortion in the United States since liberalized abortion was introduced… Legal abortion is now the leading cause of abortion -related maternal deaths in the United States.”

D Cavanagh, Am J Ob Gyn 130(3):375 Feb 1, 1978

Quoted in:  Ann Saltenberger Every Woman Has a Right to Know the Dangers of Legal Abortion (Glassboro, New Jersey: Air – Plus Enterprises, 1983)

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