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Coat-hanger politics

Pro-abortion activists predict the return of back-alley abortions, but a poison pill already harms women and kills the unborn

Coat-hanger politics

Hillary Namba takes part in a July 10 protest in Seattle against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

As Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh made the rounds on Capitol Hill earlier this month, a Florida congresswoman tapped a coat hanger on the table as she warned against President Donald Trump’s pick for the high court.

Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., argued a potential pro-life majority on the court could mean a return to back-alley abortions. New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon made a similar argument at a July campaign stop, waving a coat hanger overhead. 

The scare tactics evoke horrible scenarios, but they ignore a modern reality: A large percentage of women already self-induce abortions through the use of a couple of pills prescribed by local abortionists. 

Planned Parenthood—the nation’s largest abortion provider—has reported that nearly 45 percent of women coming through their doors seek abortions through the drug known as mifepristone. 

Abortion proponents tout the pills as safe and easy, though the process isn’t as painless or tidy as they lead many women to believe. In 2013, Leslie Wolbert testified in an affidavit to the Supreme Court that a chemical abortion she induced at home produced “the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life.” She called the subsequent emotional pain “almost unbearable.”

Those kinds of stories are inconvenient for abortion advocates who warn of women taking abortion procedures into their own hands, but then ignore the trauma the already-legal versions of at-home abortion can produce for women and their unborn children.

In his book Prodigal Press, WORLD Editor in Chief Marvin Olasky wrote about illegal abortions happening in New York City in the late 1800s. He noted that the horror in the press was over the harm abortions caused to women and children—not the fact that abortions were illegal.

A New York Times investigation at the time reported on a young, beautiful woman found dead inside a trunk in a railway baggage room. An autopsy showed the cause of death was an abortion. The reporter noted: “It was apparent that here was a new victim of man’s lust, and the life-destroying arts of those abortionists.”

The abortionist was sentenced to seven years in prison, and many New Yorkers remained appalled by abortion until the 1960s. The Times’ sentiment has radically changed since its early reporting, but the truth its journalist wrote about in 1871 remains relevant to abortion discussions today, whatever the method, and however safe the procedures are considered: Abortion still kills legions of unborn babies, and they still deeply harm many of the mothers they purport to help.