Pro-abortion group confirms abortions decreased under Bush administration

.- The claim that abortions have increased under the presidency of George W. Bush is untrue and based on selective research and an erroneous interpretation of statistics, says a new report by FactCheck. In fact, the report says, the claim was proven wrong by a pro-abortion research organization.

FactCheck belongs to the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. In a recent article, the organization traces how an opinion piece by Glen Harold Stassen, an ethics professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, published in Sojourners in October 2004, has led to this widespread misperception that has been promoted by abortion advocates.

The article also traces how several media outlets and Democrats picked up this incorrect information, in particular Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator John Kerry during the presidential campaign, to argue that Bush’s policies have been ineffective.

“Given the trends of the 1990s, 52,000 more abortions occurred in the United States in 2002 than would have been expected before this change of direction,” Stassen claimed.

But close reading of Stassen's article “makes clear that he didn't even pretend to have comprehensive national data on abortion rates,” said FactCheck.

Stassen had projected findings onto the entire country from 16 states; 12 of these, he said, had shown an increase.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion organization, was prompted by Stassen’s information to conduct its own research, this time in 43 states, not just Stassen’s 16.

Leila Darabi of the Guttmacher Institute explained to FactCheck that it was likely that many of the states Stassen picked have higher abortion rates historically, have a higher concentration of population subgroups that tend to have more abortions, and see abortion rates rise more quickly when they do go up.

Guttmacher found that two of the two of the states Stassen used — Colorado and Arizona — had unreliable reporting systems. In Colorado, for example, where Stassen claimed that rates “skyrocketed 111 percent,” the reporting procedure had been recently changed in order to compensate for historic underreporting.

Guttmacher announced its conclusions May 19: the 20-year decline in abortion rates continued after Bush took office. Their research showed the number of abortions dropped nationwide by 0.8 percent in 2001 and by another 0.8 percent in 2002. The abortion rate, which is the number of women having abortions relative to the total population, also decreased 1 percent in 2001 and 0.9 percent in 2002.

Had Stassen’s numbers proven accurate, the institute “would have reported and widely publicized a rise in abortion rates,” Darabi told FactCheck.

Guttmacher's statistics are widely used and respected by all sides in the abortion debate. It is the only organization to compile and publish national abortion-rate data other than the federal Center for Disease Control.

Founded in 1968, the Guttmacher Institute describes its mission as being" to protect the reproductive choice of all women and men in the United States and throughout the world.”

Since 1973, the nonprofit organization, named after a former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, has conducted periodic surveys of the nation’s nearly 2,000 abortion providers.

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