Experts skeptical, saddened by Guttmacher report on state of abortion in U.S.

.- On Friday, the Alan Guttmacher Institute--the research arm of Planned Parenthood--will release a new report on the past, present and future state of abortion in the U.S. and the world. Even prior to its release however, many are critical of the document, calling it a work of propaganda aimed at building up the abortion industry.

Mercy Gutierrez, a columnist for Catholic News Agency who works with the Denver-based group, ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women) viewed an advance copy of the report, and told CNA that while she wasn’t particularly surprised, she was saddened.

In its section entitled, ‘Incidence of Abortion’ the report showed that 46 million abortions take place across the world, while only about 1.3 million of those are performed in the U.S.

Gutierrez said this fact convinced her that “’population control programs’ along with the global dominance of NGOs like Planned Parenthood capitalize on under-developed third world countries and use these programs as leverage when conducting foreign policy relations.”

She cited efforts made by the Bush administration to end these practices but questioned the specific percentages of third-world abortions.

Likewise, Gutierrez said that another of the report’s statistics suggesting that more than half of all abortions in the U.S. are performed on women in their 20s and two-thirds of them occur among women who have never been married “convinces me of our society’s ‘crisis of commitment’ and misunderstanding of sexuality.”

“I know it is not a surprise since we are living in a hedonistic ‘culture of death’”, she said, “but seeing the stats to prove it is eye-opening.”

Another of the report’s sections seeks to expose the relatively high number of abortions among Christians, and particularly Catholics.

To this, Gutierrez called it “a sad reality to see that Catholic women are more likely to have an abortion than other Christians, but again this points to a lack of catechesis or understanding about the fetus being a LIFE, about God’s greater plan for our lives.”

Agenda-driven statistics?

Likewise, Ramesh Ponnuru, a columnist for the National Review who has actually commended the Guttmacher Institute’s past research called the latest report, merely an attempt “to put social science behind Planned Parenthood's agenda.”

He adds that “It pretends that the latest studies all vindicate the view that parental-consent laws on abortion, for example, are ‘bad public policy.’” and claims “that abortion almost never has any adverse effects on women and suggests that the only way to reduce abortion rates is to increase access to contraception.”

He points to questionable statistics about the decline in numbers of abortions since the passing of Roe vs. Wade, saying that it’s doubtful that numbers actually fell from as many as 1.2 million before legalization to 899,000 after the practice was made legal.

Ponnuru also called misleading the statistics which show a drop in the number of maternal deaths following Roe v. Wade pointing out that the report’s own charts showed that those deaths were already dropping prior to the court decision.

Despite questionable statistics, Gutierrez lamented the culture which has grown up around abortion and contraception on demand.

She pointed out that everything Pope Paul VI (in Humane Vitae) and John Paul II “said has come to fruition. Contraceptive use has spurred a general lowering of morality, increased sexual promiscuity, detachment of consequences that come from sexual activity, and complete ignorance that intercourse should be committed and should be love-making.” 

Overall, she called the report as well as the culture it cites, “Very, very sad.”   


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