Today, Planned Parenthood's main page prominently features the story of Becky Bell, a young woman whom various pro-choice organizations claimed died from an illegal abortion in 1988 because she was afraid to tell her parents about her desire for an abortion. Becky Bell's story is supposed to convince people that young women will die if parental consent laws are passed.
The problem? Becky Bell didn't die from an illegal abortion. Pro-choice organizations have been pathetically spouting this lie for more than a decade. It's like the lie disappears for a couple years and then reemerges when they think people will forget about it. I can almost guarantee that in ten years or so, Planned Parenthood and NARAL will be telling us that abortions increased during President Bush's first term.
Carolyn Gargaro at Rightgrrl has the truth about Becky Bell.
National Right to Life (who helped expose this myth in 1990) makes this argument:
"There are at least two things wrong with this argument. First, there is the matter of the actual cause of Ms. Bell's death. While the coroner's report gives "septic abortion with pneumonia" as the cause of death, medical experts (documentation available from NRLC's State Legislation Department) found that the autopsy report was compatible only with a spontaneous abortion or miscarriage (neither infection of the reproductive organs nor trauma from instruments was present). "Septic abortion" as the cause of death was incompatible with the physical findings. Although his autopsy report attributed the cause of death to "septic abortion with pneumonia," the physician who performed the autopsy stated in 1990, "I cannot prove [Becky Bell] had an illegal abortion. I cannot prove she had anything but a spontaneous abortion" (Dr. Pless, quoted by reporter Joe Frolik in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/9/90).
Second, there is the offensive implication that parental notification and consent laws cause young girls to die. If the parental notification and consent laws that have been in effect for years had, in fact, had this effect, such statistics would have been big news in the pro-abortion press. There are no such statistics. Pro-abortionists dragged Becky Bell's tragic death into the debate about the CCPA because they hoped it would generate sympathy for their bizarre notion that strangers have a "constitutional right" to take your minor daughter across state lines for a secret abortion."