“Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist and co-founder of NARAL, also later admitted that their “statistics” about back alley abortions were false.
Nathanson said his organization often claimed between 5,000 and 10,000 women died every year from dangerous, back alley abortions and argued that legalizing abortions would protect women.
He wrote: “I confess that I knew that the figures were totally false and I suppose that others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted … The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible.”
Actual government statistic prior to the Roe decision show nowhere near 1.2 million women (or even 200,000) died in abortions. A 1972 Center for Disease Control report noted the maternal death rate from abortions was 39 in the United States, the year prior to Roe.”