The claim that abortions have increased under President Bush has been bandied about since right before the November election when a self proclaimed “consistently pro-lfe” professor named Glen Harold Stassen made the claim in Sojourners, a left-leaning Christian magazine.
Hillary Clinton repeated a variation of the claim in January of this year. A few days later, John Kerry said on Meet The Press that “abortion has gone up in these last few years with the draconian policies [of] Republicans…”
Most recently, Howard Dean (my favorite Republican) rasied the stakes even higher, again on Meet The Press. Dean told moderator Tim Russert “that abortions have gone up 25 percent since George Bush was president.”
On neither occassion did Russert challenge the claim, so the viewer is left with the assumption that they must be based in fact.
The common insinuation of these claims is that although Bush claims to be pro-life, his economic policies have led to an increase in poverty, which in turn has led to a rise in the abortion rate across the country.
With some many leading Democrats trumpeting this claim it must be correct or at least grounded in some fact, right?
Actually, no. The abortin rate continued on the slide began in the late 70’s (with only a brief up tick in the late 80’s/early 90’s). The number of abortions decreased 0.8% in both 2001 and 2002, while the abortion rate fell 1% in 2001 and 0.9% in 2002.
It seems that when Stassen was collecting his data he (intentionally or not) cherry-picked data. His numbers only included 16 states, many of which have historically higher abortion rates than the norm.
According to Stassen, one of his states, Colorado, saw an 111% jump in the abortion rate. What he failed to point out (or understand) was that Colorado had changed their reporting procedure after years of underreporting which resulted in a huge one time spike.
What about the statistics that show the continuing decline, where they cherry-picked? I doubt it. They show a study of 43 states and were the product of the Guttmacher Institute, which was founded in 1968 in honor of a former president of Planned Parenthood. According to Leila Darabi of the institute if the numbers had been the opposite, they “would have reported and widely publicized a rise in abortion rates”
Those facts get you every time.