Obama Administration Accused of Spiking CDC Abortion Data

National   Steven Ertelt   Feb 3, 2011   |   5:16PM    Washington, DC

The Obama administration is facing accusations today from a conservative web site that alleged the Centers for Disease Control is purposefully spiking annual data it normally publishes concerning the latest abortion stats and figures.

Erick Erickson of Red State says it has “uncovered evidence – confirmed by the CDC’s own press office” that the Obama administration is “deliberately” concealing the abortion numbers. Erickson noticed that the CDC did not put out the annual information it normally publishes in November, called the “Abortion Surveillance Report,” and said press officers for the agency said there were “no plans” to do so.

The report, which typically posts the abortion data from three years prior — the 2009 report featured 2006 abortion data — will not come out now because Erickson says RedState’s investigation revealed the Obama administration doesn’t want the numbers released.

Last week, RedState began investigating by calling those in DC who might have some answers. After several attempts, we finally received confirmation from Rhonda Smith at the CDC’s press office in Atlanta that the report has been buried indefinitely; the CDC “will not have stats available at any time in the near future” and there “are no plans for them to come out any time soon.” This call took place on Jan. 27th, and we asked Ms. Smith for a reason that the report wouldn’t be issued anymore. She promised to check around and find out if there was any reason given and get back to us – as of the date of this posting, we have received no further communication from her office.

This revelation is nothing short of shocking. Most of the leg work for this study is actually done by Guttmacher – all it costs the CDC is some manpower to assemble the statistics and write up the report. In the overall scope of the CDC’s budget, this report barely even registers. So what is the CDC trying to hide? The only reasonable conclusion to be drawn here is that someone higher up has made the decision to actively eliminate the only official report on abortion statistics in the country, just because they don’t want abortion being talked about.

Erickson called on Congress to investigate why the CDC is not providing the public the compilation of abortion figures.

This action is indefensible and contrary to the Obama administration’s repeated promises of transparency and the removal of politics from accurate scientific reporting. And it is more damning than any report: it reflects the reality that the Obama Administration is afraid of the truth, afraid that the American people cannot be trusted to support legal abortion if they look closely at the facts.

Suppression of this nature doesn’t have to stand. A senate aide tells RedState that if the administration or the CDC are stonewalling on this, “Congress would have a range of options to force them to disclose this information including hearings, letters and floor amendments.”

We urge Congress to investigate this apparent cover-up. Transparency and consistency are not a partisan issue. The CDC report is objective statistical data that should be produced regardless of any potential political implications.

Erickson referred to the annual Guttmacher Institute report — and the pro-abortion report on abortion statistics that is widely respected, even by pro-life advocates, because the annual numbers are more precise than those revealed by the CDC. The former research arm of Planned Parenthood unveiled its numbers earlier this month and they showed the abortion rate has risen slightly after its prior report showed historic lows.

The report is also regarded as more accurate abortion figures than the Centers for Disease Control because it receives its numbers directly from abortion businesses and accounts for all 50 states, whereas the CDC does not receive reports from California and others.

The new numbers show the actual number of abortions in the U.S. rose from 1,206,200 in 2005 to 1,212,350 in 2008 — the first increase since steady decreases during both the 1990′s and 2000′s. Abortion figures peaked in 1990 but had been dropping ever since thanks to pro-life legislative and educational efforts as well as the work of pregnancy centers offering women tangible pregnancy help and abortion alternatives.

The abortion rate — the percentage of pregnancies ending in abortion — had reached the lowest point in the 2005 Guttmacher Institute figures since the year following Roe. Now that has gone up from a rate of 19.4 percent of pregnancies ending in abortion in 2005 to 19.6 in 2008.

Michael New, a University of Alabama political science professor who is an expert on abortion law and statistics responded to a LifeNews.com request for comment on the RedState allegations:

Pro-life activists have always been disappointed that the federal government does not have stronger reporting requirements for abortion statistics. The statistics that the CDC has reported since 1969 are far from perfect — some states do not comply and others do not provide complete information. That having been said they are the only source for annual abortion data from the United States and have been used by researchers on both sides of the abortion debate. Additionally, they have offered a consistent reminder about the prevalence of abortion in our society and provided evidence of the incremental progress the pro-life movement has made.

The Obama administration’s decision to stop publishing abortion  statistics is nothing short of outrageous.  Even the rabidly pro-choice Clinton administration allowed the CDC to publish abortion statistics on an annual basis. Perhaps the Obama administration wants to squelch evidence that health care reform increased the abortion rate. Perhaps, seeing the momentum of pro-lifers, they do not want to be blamed if abortion numbers increase.  Regardless, research and human knowledge will not advance without access to good and reliable data. As such, the Obama administration is doing a tremendous disservice to researchers, scholars, journalists, and the general public.