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Got an e-mail from the fine folks at the RNC today, and, since we're members of the reality-based community, I thought I'd give it some ink here. Apparently, the claims that abortions went up under Smirky were all wet.

FactCheck.org, relying on a study by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, posted its summary here: http://www.factcheck.org/article330.html.

What it found was that the number of abortions decreased nationwide - by 0.8% in 2001 and by another 0.8% in 2002. The abortion rate , which is the number of women having abortions relative to the total population, also decreased 1% in 2001 and 0.9% in 2002. That's not as rapid a decrease as had been seen in earlier years, but it is a decrease nonetheless.

We give much weight to Guttmacher's analysis. Their figures are widely used and accepted by both anti-abortion groups and abortion-rights advocates. Their surveys of abortion providers go back to 1973, and Stassen [who did the earlier, preliminary study that showed abortions going up under Bush 43] cites them himself as the source for the number of abortions in 2000.

Guttmacher has little motive to make Bush and his anti-abortion policies look good. The institute was founded in 1968 in honor of a former president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and describes its mission as being" to protect the reproductive choice of all women and men in the United States and throughout the world." Had Stassen's numbers proven accurate, the Institute "would have reported and widely publicized a rise in abortion rates," said Darabi. But facts are facts.

While I like the idea of fewer abortions, we should nevertheless keep our eye on the ball: the prevention of unwanted pregnancies.

That requires comprehensive sex education, affordable contraception, and pharmacists who don't put their Puritanical morality ahead of their customers' needs.

I have always believed that abortion should be legal, and I will continue to fight efforts to make abortions so hard to get that even rape victims and abused teenagers can't get them.

It should be a last resort, but in the real world, legal abortions are far better than the alternative.

Nevertheless, Democrats (including, apparently Howard Dean, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton, who have used the now-debunked "abortions going up under Bush" statistic) should wean ourselves off this now unsubstantiated report.

Originally posted to amyindallas on Fri May 27, 2005 at 07:38 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tip jar (4.00)
    I can't stay around to discuss this because "Madagascar" is opening today and we're checking out the 10 a.m. show. With any luck, this diary will still be around when I get back.
  •  Well of course! (4.00)
    Of course abortions decreased under Dubyah... We're all too depressed to fuck.
    •  Its not that we (none)
      are too depressed to fuck. Its the environmental contaminants and hormones in our food destroying sperm counts and reducing fertility.

      "Where men are the most sure and arrogant, they are commonly the most mistaken, ..." -- David Hume

      by Hibernian on Fri May 27, 2005 at 09:02:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You should be vary wary (4.00)
    of this factcheck.org report.  It is little more than a hit piece on democrats, and it falsely accuses them of distorting data.  See this diary by mcjoan.  They aren't know as "factchuck" for no reason! :)
  •  mcjoan's diary on this was recommended yesterday (4.00)
  •  Had a big diary on this yesterday (4.00)

    KISS -- Keep It Simple, Stupid! :-D

    by Viktor on Fri May 27, 2005 at 07:45:39 AM PDT

  •  Hmmmmm.... (none)
    Interesting! Maybe FactCheck needs to be fact-checked? Anyhow, it looks as though the discrepancy between the two studies is a sampling artifact - Stassen looked at 16 states, the Guttmacher Institute at 44. This immediately raises the question as to which states Stassen included - I wouldn't be surprised at all if it turns out that the abortion rate has been going up primarily in red states. But, I also want to see the Guttmacher Institute's report myself, and not just through the FactCheck filter - are they giving us the whole story or just the bits and pieces they like?

    If you cannot convince them, confuse them. Harry S. Truman

    by brainwave on Fri May 27, 2005 at 07:45:47 AM PDT

    •  Oops, preempted! (none)
      Just followed the links to mcjoan's diary of yesterday, which had slipped my attention. It looks like the debunkers have been debunked already!  

      If you cannot convince them, confuse them. Harry S. Truman

      by brainwave on Fri May 27, 2005 at 07:50:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the info. (none)
    I'm also glad that the number of abortions is going down. What about the rate of unwanted pregnancies, however.

    Has that gone down as well, or is it just that a smaller and smaller percentage of unwanted pregnancies are being ended?

    What's happening to the children? How many of them are being born into poverty situations? How many of them are being raised by state-run foster-family services? More questions here than there's room for.

    It's about more than just abortion.

    vulgus vult decipi -- Phaedrus

    by fritzrth on Fri May 27, 2005 at 07:47:58 AM PDT

  •  as mcjoan pointed out yesterday (none)
    the rate of decline in the abortion rates was higher for each year in the 1990s.  While the rate of abortions is declining, it is declining at a slower rate than was the case in the clinton years.  
  •  Facts? who needs em! (none)
    (kidding)

    Good job. The "reality based community" should always be on the lookout for things like this where initial studies need correction.

    I can think of several reasons why the abortion rate might be going down, and ironically one of them might be the existence of legal abortion... Just a hunch, but maybe because abortion was legalized, the resulting reduction in unwanted pregnancies reduced the poverty rate (not the overall rate, but for affected individuals) and women who don't grow up in poverty get better educations, and use birth control more wisely.

    No matter which way the trend in the numbers of abortions, most Americans do not favor criminalizing abortion.

    I'm still waiting for Frist and Delay to criminalize invetro fertilization. After all, that procedure results in lots of "deaths", right? How many embryos died today? Oh my GOD, the horror of it!!!

    /snark

    Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by racerx on Fri May 27, 2005 at 07:51:00 AM PDT

  •  now debunked according to factcheck.org? (none)
    Read their fact checking on Social Security and then we can talk.
  •  Debunked by mcjoan (none)
    As all have said.

    The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

    by Armando on Fri May 27, 2005 at 08:03:47 AM PDT

  •  If true, it wouldn't really surprise me (4.00)
    As factcheck.org states:

    That's not as rapid a decrease as had been seen in earlier years, but it is a decrease nonetheless.

    This would seem to imply that decreases in abortion rates are slowing down. While abortion rates can't decrease forever, I'm betting they're getting ready to go up again. The implicit relationship between increasing abortion rates and Republican policy doesn't materialize overnight and will probably be more apparent when the numbers from Bush's second term become available. The current decreasing rates are likely a result of good economic times under Clinton, and as should be expected, are now slowing down.

    Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

    by rogun on Fri May 27, 2005 at 08:09:37 AM PDT

  •  Money quote from mcjoan's (4.00)
    much cited diary from yesterday:

    FactCheck's work, as it almost always is, is simply reflecting the same cherry-picking of data for which they criticize Stassen and Clinton. And what's worse, they use that data to lie about the statements Stassen and Clinton made. Keep that in mind the next time some Republican Winger cites "impartial" FactCheck. Like the GOP, FactCheck has no impunity in spewing whatever lie it takes to fit their agenda.

    Especially worth looking at is her debunking of the claim that Hillary Clinton lied about this, a claim that amyindallas unfortunately took at face value.

    Don't trust factcheck!  They're Republican stooges.

    I cried when they shot Medgar Evers -- Phil Ochs

    by litho on Fri May 27, 2005 at 08:25:22 AM PDT

  •  Rate of access to abortion down (none)
    might be the headline, too.  The headline in my morning paper today noted that abortion rates hit an all-time low in my state -- without noting that the number of clinics has dropped in the last dozen years from sixteen to five after harassment by Missionaries to the Preborn, etc.; that the handful of clinics remaining are in only three of 72 counties, all in one corner of the state, that the 24-hour waiting period and other laws add to the costs (hotel as well as travel, etc.) and also have restricted Roe v. Wade and made it a reality only on the books in Washington, D.C., rather than where women live.

    Details, details, underlying causes, underlying causes. . . .

    "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

    by Cream City on Fri May 27, 2005 at 09:47:39 AM PDT

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