“Back-Alley Abortion” Myth Perpetuated on Film Nets Grand Prize at Venice Film Festival

Mon Sep 13, 2004 - 12:15 pm EST

VENICE, September 13, 2004 ( - This year’s favourite at the Venice film festival, “Vera Drake,” is a film perpetuating the myth of the so-called back-alley abortion. British film maker Mike Leigh teams up with actress Imelda Staunton who portrays a working class single mom turned back-alley abortionist. Staunton also won the award for best actress at the festival.

The film perpetuates the myth of the back-alley abortion, in other words, that large numbers of women, desperate to end their unborn children’s lives, sought out illegal abortions from non medically-trained persons, such as a single mom like Vera Drake. In Leigh’s portrayal, so-called back-alley abortions often led to complications and ultimately death. Legalized abortion by physician abortionists thus became the ultimate hero of our time, saving women from the apparent butchery that prevailed before legalization.  But are the claims of abortion advocates—that thousands of women died at the hands of back-alley “butchers”—true? One pro-abortion politician in Norway even claimed that 800,000 women died in developing countries each year because of inadequate access to legal abortions. According to Jostein Sandsmark, a reporter for Norway’s Dagen news, the 800,000 figure was 130 times higher than that estimated by American Life League.  Former prominent U.S. abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson admitted that he and his abortion co-conspirators created hugely inflated statistics about maternal deaths caused by illegal abortions to soften the public and establishment to accept abortion on demand. It worked. Since then, the use of grossly inflated numbers of illegal abortions and deaths of mothers from those abortions, has been a tactic abortion activists around the world have used to change laws.  To dispel the myth of the supposed extent of back-alley butchery that went on before abortion was legalized in the West, documents that, before abortion was legal, 90 percent of illegal abortions were committed in the U.S. by trained and licensed physicians. Also, the death rate from illegal abortions was probably closer to 1,400 per year before the introduction of antibiotics in 1941, thereafter dropping to a rate of 250 per year. It steadily declined until legalization, at which point the number of deaths from abortion actually climbed.  To further highlight the anti-life agenda being foisted on the unsuspecting masses, a second film depicting the plight of a paralysed man to be euthanized, Alejandro Amenabar’s “Mar Adentro” (“Out to Sea”), also won numerous accolades.  See for documentation of the myth of the so-called back-alley abortion.

See the related reports:  Norwegian Gov’t Caught Using Inflated Figure For Worldwide Deaths From “Unsafe” Abortions Abortion still dangerous, Finnish study shows women who abort more likely to die in next year   tv

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