THE ADMISSION BY a prominent abortion advocate that he lied about the number of babies killed by "partial-birth abortion" is surprising only in its candor. Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, said he feared the truth would damage the abortion rights cause.
Recalling a November 1995 appearance on ABC's "Nightline," Mr. Fitzsimmons said, "I lied through my teeth" when claiming the procedure was rarely used and that only women who sought such abortions were those whose lives were in danger, or whose unborn children were severely damaged. President Clinton used nearly identical language in explaining his veto of a bill that would have outlawed the procedure.
The White House says it will take another look at the matter. But the administration is lock-step with the abortion rights movement, so look for more doublespeak. President Clinton frequently says he wants to make abortions "safe, legal and rare," but has done nothing to limit the procedure even in the most extreme of circumstances.
Legal abortion was conceived in a lie. Norma McCorvey, "Jane Roe," claimed to have been raped. She later admitted lying to make her case more compelling to the Supreme Court. The justices who made abortion legal believed testimony that thousands of women were dying from illegal abortions, a "fact" asserted by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), but later acknowledged to be false by a top NARAL official.
To maintain a policy of abortion on demand, proponents have had to continue telling lies. In 1965, a Planned Parenthood pamphlet said of family planning: "Is it abortion? Definitely not. An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. It is dangerous to your life and health. It may make you sterile so that when you want a child you cannot have it. Birth control merely postpones the beginning of life."
Was Planned Parenthood lying then, or is it lying now?
On Dec. 11, 1993, NARAL's Kate Michelman was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer as saying, "We think abortion is a bad thing." Five days later, a NARAL statement claimed that Ms. Michelman "has never said -- and would never say -- abortion is a 'bad thing.'" But reporter Jodi Enda taped the interview and stood by the quote.
Sandra Cano, the "Mary Doe" in Roe's companion case, Doe vs. Bolton, stated that she never wanted an abortion and signed paperwork she thought was related to a divorce. The American Civil Liberties Union lawyer that Ms. Cano believed was helping with her divorce claimed that her client applied for an abortion but was turned down. Ms. Cano says she was lied to.
During the partial-birth abortion debate last year, in which proponents claimed it is rarely done, the Bergen County Record reported that doctors in one New Jersey clinic perform 3,000 abortions annually, half of them the partial birth variety. Abortion proponents criticized the reporter.
Also last year, pro-abortion groups claimed that anesthesia takes the life of the child before the procedure in which its brains are sucked out. Though many physicians denied the claim, the media continued to spread the falsehood as if it were true, as if that would somehow make the procedure more ethically tolerable.
Then there are the daily lies told to women that their unborn child is just tissue, and that having an abortion will solve the problems that lead them to seek one. And let's not forget the lie about no one being available to care for the child or the woman after birth.
Another bill needs to be introduced immediately that would outlaw partial-birth abortion before the public forgets that Mr. Fitzsimmons has added his name to the list of pro-abortion liars.
Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist.
Pub Date: 3/06/97