The truths about abortion survivors and failed abortions are buried deep in our culture, which has been so impacted by abortion. Far too many survivors and their families believe they must be alone in their experience, that no one could ever possibly relate. That can be a very painful and lonely place to be.

The Abortion Survivors Network wants to break down these walls of isolation and silence, support survivors and families and give a voice to those who have been rendered voiceless by our society.

We thought we’d break down some of the biggest myths about survivors today. We’ll be putting this out soon as informational drop cards that you can use to help educate people about survivors.

Myth:  Abortion survivors don’t exist.

Truth

Dr. Willard Cates, an expert on medical statistics who is chief of abortion surveillance for the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, estimated back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s that “400 to 500 abortion live births occur every year in the United States.” Liz Jeffries and Rick Edmonds, the Dreaded Complication of Abortion, 1981.

If we calculated minimally, one live birth a day, totaling 365 survivors a year, then in the U.S. alone, from 1973-2020, there would be 17,155 survivors!

The CDC reports in a 12-year period from 2003-2014, 143 infant deaths in the U.S. occurred as a result of induced abortions, and qualify that number by stating it may be underestimated due to vague terminology on the death certificate. 

Here at The Abortion Survivors Network, we’ve connected with 340 survivors as of October 2020.

Myth:  Abortion survivors are rare. There are no statistics indicating this happens regularly. 

Truth

Statistics are limited, because very few states or countries require the reporting of abortion survivors and their treatment. Here’s what we know through data:

The CDC reports that in a 12-year period from 2003-2014, 143 deaths definitively occurred after babies survived abortions (this was definitive—the actual number it may be is concluded to be much higher, but the death certificates had “vague” information. 

Of these babies: 

-68 of them lived for 1-4 hours

-9 of them lived for 5-9 hours

-6 of them lived a day or more

Currently, there are only eight states that report the number of abortion survivors each year. Some of these statistics include:

Minnesota: 16 between 2015-2018

Arizona: 10 in 2017

Indiana: 27 from 2008-2018

Florida:  23 from 2013-2019

Michigan: 84 from 1997-2018

Abortion survivors are also reported through some federal reports:

Canada: 

-From 2000-2009: 491

-From 2013-2018: 766, excluding Quebec.

Western Australia: 

-27 from 1997-2017

Myth: Born alive legislation isn’t needed.

Truth

Abortion survivors are known as the “dreaded complication” of abortion. Even Dr. Willard Cates, quoted above, stated that “live births are little known, because organized medicine, from fear of public clamor and legal action, treats them more as an embarrassment to be hushed up than a problem to be solved.”

The perception that survivors are a problem to be “hushed up,” and something to be dreaded reflects that survivors are not regarded highly by the professionals involved in abortion. 

Our culture should be concerned about the treatment of its most vulnerable, including abortion survivors in such an environment.

The Born Alive Infant Protection Act of 2002 was a definitions bill—stating children who survive abortions are human beings who deserve the same medical care as any other child. It didn’t include any consequence for failure to provide medical care.

“Infants born alive after surviving abortion have continued to be entirely dependent on a patchwork of state-level protections to receive appropriate medical care.” (Patrina Mosley, MA, Congressional testimony, 2019).