Facts Matter: Fox News corrects Pirro -- 63 million abortions since 1973, not per year

  • Fox News host Jeanine Pirro has vastly overstated the number of abortions performed in one year in the United States. The actual figure is estimated to be less than 1 million.

    Fox News host Jeanine Pirro has vastly overstated the number of abortions performed in one year in the United States. The actual figure is estimated to be less than 1 million. Associated Press/File, Jan. 28, 2015

Updated 5/7/2022 7:29 PM

A leaked draft opinion indicating that the Supreme Court is ready to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion was the top story on many cable news broadcasts last week.

In a recent report, Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro said the annual number of abortions in the U.S. is out of hand.


"My stats that I have are that there are 63 million abortions a year in this country," Pirro said during a May 3 telecast of "The Five." "Those are the stats that I heard. That's a little too much!"

"That would be surprising," according to PolitiFact. The number of U.S. women considered to be of childbearing age is nearly 64.5 million.

The actual number of abortions each year is much less than Pirro's claim.

Based on data supplied voluntarily by health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 629,898 abortions in 2019. But that didn't include information from California, Maryland or New Hampshire.

Research organization the Guttmacher Institute reported 862,320 abortions in 2017, compiled from data collected from health organizations that perform the procedure.

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A Fox News spokesperson told PolitiFact that Pirro's statistic came from a Fox News article that reported 63 million abortions in the U.S. since the 1973 decision.

Fires not set to disrupt food supplies

Recent supply chain shortages have some people connecting the issue to fires and other incidents at food processing plants.

Some have suggested fires have been set by arsonists.

"You've got some people speculating that this might be an intentional way to disrupt the food supply," radio host Jason Rantz said during an interview on Fox News.

But the claims are unfounded, according to The Associated Press. Many of the fires have been ruled accidental.


There are an average of nearly 5,000 fires at manufacturing and processing facilities each year in the U.S.

National Fire Protection Association spokesperson Susan McKelvey told the AP the number of fires so far this year "does not signal anything out of the ordinary."

"The recent inquiries around these fires appears to be a case of people suddenly paying attention to them and being surprised about how often they do occur," she said.

Sam Gazdziak, a spokesperson for the American Association of Meat Processors, told the AP that fires won't greatly affect food distribution.

"There doesn't appear to be any evidence connecting these fires in any way, and there is absolutely no danger to the U.S. food supply because of a series of unrelated, unfortunate accidents," he said.

Biden didn't shake hands with air

President Joe Biden last month delivered a speech at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, to promote his Build Back Better agenda.

After speeches by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and university student Malcolm Hawkins, Biden talked about bringing manufacturing jobs to the U.S. while "building supply chains here at home."

In addition to the crowd seated in front of the president, there were two small groups behind and on either side of the podium. As he wrapped up the speech, Biden gestured to the audience before he walked off the stage.

But some internet claims didn't see it that way.

"After Biden finished his speech today, he turned around and tried to shake hands with thin air and then wandered around looking confused," read a Facebook post.

A New York Post story said Biden turned "with his paw outstretched in a handshake position."

Those claims are false, according to PolitiFact. Different video angles show Biden gesturing to those behind him.

As he concluded the speech, the audience cheered and music played. Biden turned to his right, saw the crowd, and gestured quickly with his right hand. He then turned to the other small group and gestured to them.

The misleading posts include a tightly cropped video of Biden extending his hand, without showing the crowd.

Sculpture doesn't honor slaves

The purpose of an underwater sculpture off the coast of Grenada is to provide a habitat for marine life on the floor of the Caribbean Sea. However, the message of the artwork isn't so clear.

"It honors Africans who were thrown/jumped overboard from slave ships during the Middle Passage of the Transatlantic slave trade," read a recent Facebook post.

But the art piece was not created to honor enslaved people, according to USA Today. Artist Jason deCaires Taylor said the 2006 sculpture represents children from diverse backgrounds and is a symbol of unity and resilience. It was built to help the area's ecology that was disrupted by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

The sculpture, titled Vicissitudes, shows children holding hands while forming a circle and looking outward. Above their clasped hands are structural connections that some users have identified as shackles.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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