Santorum misses the days of back-alley abortions. Don’t you?

While at the American Heartland Forum in Columbia, Missouri, an efficient Rick Santorum killed two birds with one stone, pushing the myth of death panels and longing for the golden days of illegal abortions.

“fifty years ago… sixty years ago, people who did abortions were, you know, in the shadows, were people who people who were considered really bad doctors. Now, abortion is something to that is just accepted.”

Oh, what I wouldn’t do to bring back those shadows, to push abortion back into the underbelly of crime, shame, and death! Sadly I was too young to experience that pre-Roe v. Wade time but luckily, it’s captured by a report by The Guttmacher Institute, Lessons from Before Roe: Will Past be Prologue?

I didn’t get to live through the 1950s and 1960s when, it’s estimated, there were between  200,000 and 1.2 million ilegal abortions each year. I wasn’t alive in 1930, when abortion was listed as the official cause of death for almost 2,700 women, accounting for almost one fifth of maternal deaths recorded in that year. Even by 1956, illegal abortion still accounted for 17% of all deaths attributed to pregnancy and childbirth. And remember, these were only the reported deaths, because these abortions were, thankfully, being performed “in the shadows” where they belonged.

How I long for the days of 1962, when the Harlem Hospital Center in New York City admitted almost 1,600 women  for incomplete abortions, or the days of 1968, when the UCLA Medical Center admitted 701 women who had had septic abortions.

Thank you, “pro-life” Republicans, for fighting to bring back that golden age of death, incomplete abortions, sepsis and shadows!

Abortion Mortality
The number of deaths from abortion has declined dramatically since Roe v. Wade.

Source: The Alan Guttmacher Institute, Trends in Abortion in the United States, 1973-2000, January 2003.

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Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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