Medical Doctor: Roe’s Overlooking of the Consensus of Societal Morality and Science Reverberates to This Day

BOOK PICK: ‘The Fake and Deceptive Science Behind Roe v. Wade’

Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers contends that the 1973 abortion decision was decided on faulty science.
Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers contends that the 1973 abortion decision was decided on faulty science. (photo: Cropped book cover / Beaufort Books)

The Fake and Deceptive Science Behind Roe v. Wade

Settled Law vs. Settled Science

By Thomas W. Hilgers, M.D.

Beaufort Books, 2020

192 pages, $23.49

To order: 

Many experts of constitutional law have argued that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case legalizing abortion throughout the entire course of pregnancy, was faulty from a legal standpoint. Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, in his new book, The Fake and Deceptive Science Behind Roe v. Wade: Settled Law vs. Settled Science, contends that it was also decided on faulty science. 

According to him, when Chief Justice Harry Blackmun handed down the 7-2 decision on Jan. 22, 1973, it had been influenced by false science, manufactured statistics and polls, and minority opinions.

As a board-certified doctor in obstetrics and gynecology, Hilgers understands the science that the highest court in the land ignored. That fateful decision, according to him, “is noteworthy for its lack of scholarship, extraordinary bias, its pre-medieval approach to pregnancy-related science and its intellectual dishonesty.” 

Hilgers’ credentials include: director of the St. Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Nebraska, and its ultrasound center with 3-D and 4-D imaging, and director of the institute’s academic programs and its National Center for Procreation Health. He also helped develop the Creighton Model of FertilityCare and the new women’s health science of NaProTechnology. He wrote parts of the medical sections of an amicus brief submitted in the case on behalf of 150 specialists in medicine, surgery and obstetrics and gynecology that was either ignored or rejected in place of out-of-date science literally from before the Middle Ages. 

“The Court’s decision was anything but fair,” Hilgers states in his book. Almost five decades after that fateful decision, a conservative estimate of lives ended in the womb in the U.S. is more than 60 million and possibly as many as 70 to 80 million.

When Hilgers initially tried to track down some of the statistics being used — such as the claim that abortions in the first trimester were 23.3 times safer than “normal” or “ordinary” childbirth — he did not imagine fake science was at play. 

“Now I know differently,” he writes. “I know from the political struggles that are currently ongoing in the United States that lying and deceit have almost become a way of life. While many at the time were up in arms because of this high rate of mortality associated with this ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ childbirth, there hasn’t been much said since that time.” The reason, Hilgers explains, is that those numbers were lies from the abortion lobby. 

Hilgers cites three men who were especially pivotal in spinning falsehoods: Lawrence Lader, a freelance writer with no legal or medical credentials who authored the book Abortion; Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who presided over the largest abortion business in New York at the time; and Cyril Means, a professor at the New York University of Law. The first two men founded the National Abortion Rights League (NARAL) and the latter became one of their attorneys. 

“Between Lader and Means, they were cited as experts no less than 15 times in Roe v. Wade, more than any other individual citations,” Hilgers writes. 

Years later, Nathanson came to oppose abortion and confessed in his book The Hand of God: A Journey From Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind that they had made up statistics and polls out of thin air. Hilgers quotes Nathanson: “There were perhaps 300 or so deaths from criminal abortions annually in the United States in the ’60s, but NARAL, in its press releases, claimed to have data that supported the figure of 5,000.”

Along with legalizing abortion came demeaning the Hippocratic Oath, one of the oldest documents in history, written in Greek between the fifth and third centuries B.C. In it, doctors promise to treat patients to the best of their ability, including: “I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner, I will not give a woman a pessary to produce abortion.”  

To dismiss the oath, Blackmun relied on an obscure 1943 book theorizing that just a small segment of Greek physicians had accepted the oath. 

“In doing this, Justice Blackmun brushed aside 2,000 years of medical history to accept a working hypothesis of one deceased historian as gospel,” Hilgers states. “Our schools and institutions have [largely] abandoned the Hippocratic Oath and the Declaration of Geneva and replaced it with a policy of lethalism.”

Blackmun favored minority theories throughout the case, according to Hilgers. For instance, although the scientific opinion claiming personhood begins at conception was the consensus at the time, Blackmun dismissed it as only “one theory of life,” Hilgers writes, adding that the Supreme Court took a minority viewpoint and accepted false science to make the case that abortion does not kill a human being. 

“No less than six times Justice Blackmun referred to this life as ‘potential human life’; and on at least two occasions, he referred to conception of a new human as ‘one theory of life,’” Hilgers writes. 

“But the science that was contained in those decisions was purposely inaccurate because of sloppy and prejudiced review presented as truth by non-scientists. Since the science is so inaccurate, how can the law be settled?”

Roe’s overlooking of the consensus of societal morality and science reverberates to this day, the author posits. “Blackmun’s reflections [for personhood] set us back to before the Middle Ages — to medieval times resisting biological realism,” Hilgers writes. “Other fallout includes the expansion into fetal experimentation, human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and most recently infanticide.”

According to Hilgers, the right to life in the womb is now the most significant issue of our time, a time where unborn babies have no identity in many contexts. “We need to move away from the intellectually dishonest spin that led to Roe v. Wade,” he writes. “We need to come to grips with reality.” 

Rather than responding to complex social problems by allowing for the most vicious and inhumane solutions that Roe put into motion, Hilgers earnestly tells readers that it is a must to recognize the human right to live and install meaningful solutions that supports that right. 

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