Mike Royko exposes huge pro-choice lie

With the coming 20th anniversary of legendary Chicago columnist Mike Royko's death on April 29, there have been an eruption of well-deserved memoirs and homages. However, none that I could find recalled his double-barrel blast at a leading abortion provider for lying "through his teeth" when he denied the use of a practice called of partial birth abortion.

At the same time, abortion advocates have been calling  Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner a liar when he said that he would veto House Bill 40 under which taxpayers would fund free abortions of any kind at any time. For decades, Illinois covered abortions in cases of rape, incest and to preserve the life and health o the mother.

The intersection of these two news items was propitious. Because it demonstrates the hypocrisy

Mike Royko in his Chicago Daily News corner office. (Tribune archives)

Mike Royko in his Chicago Daily News corner office. (Tribune archives)

of fringe pro-choice groups such as Illinois Personal PAC by showing that the biggest lie of all came from abortion providers.

Royko's two columns (April 27 and April 28 1997, reprinted in their entirety below) focused on Ron Fitzsimmons, head of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, who repeatedly and firmly  insisted that the gruesome procedure popularly called partial birth abortion was rarely used. It only was used, he said, when the mother's life was in danger of the fetus was severely damaged.

After a couple of years of this, his conscience apparently bugged him into publicly confessing that he had been lying all along. As Royko reported:

Fitzsimmons now admits that most such abortions are done on women who are healthy and fetuses that are healthy, but not because the woman is in danger or the fetus is unhealthy. The abortion is performed for the same reason as other abortions: The woman wants it.

Fitzsimmons says he and others lied because the truth might have hurt the cause of abortion rights.

Fitzsimmons confession was a personal vindication. I was among the first to report that the procedure was widely used. My columns at the Chicago Sun-Times were based on the reporting of the American Medical Association, hardly a hard-right, "anti-choice" group. A shit storm hit.  First, abortion advocates denied that such a procedure even existed. Then they had to admit that, well yes, it did exist but was hardly ever used and only in the most extreme circumstances. What followed were personal attacks: Letters to the newspaper denounced me as the liar. My firing was sought. The oh-so-compassionate and caring left called me things that I won't even print in a blog.

And so, I was disappointed that none of the Royko remembrances had anything to say about two of the most powerful columns that he ever wrote. Maybe some of his admirers didn't want to think that Royko was, like many of us who grow older becoming more conservative. For them, Royko "was slipping." He wasn't "what he used to be." And, finally, he was a racist, woman-hating jerk.

Although I worked with him at the Daily News and Sun-Times, I didn't know him well enough to suggest that he was becoming, like me, a neocon--once a liberal but of late a conservative--in the years before his death. So, I didn't share in the wisdom that he had lost it. Clearly, he hadn't lost a step in the two columns that follow:


Feb. 27, 1997

By Mike Royko


Feb. 28, 1997

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