Ramesh Ponnuru of NRO takes Planned Parenthood’s AGI to task for some Data Failure on their newly published report.
The Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, has done a lot of good and careful work over the years. The report it is releasing today is not among that work. The new report attempts to put social science behind Planned Parenthood’s agenda. It pretends that the latest studies all vindicate the view that parental-consent laws on abortion, for example, are “bad public policy.” In addition, it 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.
It isn’t necessary to be an expert on all the matters the report takes up to see that skepticism about these conclusions is warranted.
Really? How so?
The report claims that there were “200,000 to 1.2 million” abortions a year in the 1950s and 1960s. The upper end of that estimate isn’t remotely plausible. The number of reported abortions in 1974, when Roe had made them all legal, was 899,000. The number in 1975 was 1 million. Are we really supposed to believe that the number of abortions fell when abortion became legal? (And then immediately started to climb for a decade and a half?) As the pro-life lawyer Clark Forsythe has pointed out, the relatively low number of legal abortions in California after its 1967 liberalization makes even the low end of the estimate look excessive.
Hmmmm. Yes, that does seem a bit fishy. What else?
The institute’s take on abortion’s effect on women’s health is also open to question. Look at the graph on page 13 of the report. The title of the graph reads “Deaths from abortion declined dramatically after legalization.” (They’re referring to maternal deaths.) But the graph itself shows that those deaths were dropping fast before any state had legalized abortion. And if the graph had started in the 1940s, it would have been even clearer that antibiotics, not liberal abortion laws, caused that decline in death rates.
Darn the obvious! Anything else?
The institute’s authors go on to defend American womanhood from the charge (made by whom?) that it uses abortion as the birth control of first resort. That would be a false charge if it were made. But it is telling that in discussing it, the institute can’t bring itself to mention that 44 percent of all abortions are repeat abortions, and 18 percent repeat repeats—facts that arerelevant to whether some women have the attitude toward abortion that the report is trying hard to deny exists.
Oh, boy. So, this is a propaganda piece. ‘Kay.
[Read the rest at the link above.]