The Centers for Disease Control has come under fire from conservatives concerned that the Obama administration is suppressing the annual abortion numbers the federal government usually reports every November.
When November came and went without the annual report on abortion facts and figures, Erick Erickson of the RedState blog did some checking and came away concerned that the administration was actively working to delay or stop the release of the information.
Today, Tom Skinner, the Senior Public Affairs Officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told LifeNews.com that he anticipates publishing the abortion totals later this month and that delays have been a result of trouble gathering information — not pressure from Obama officials.
“Due to delays in collecting some of the population data needed to complete the MMWR Abortion Surveillance Summary, the report did not come out in November as it usually does,” he told LifeNews.com. “But it is tentatively scheduled for publication on February 24 and will be posted to the CDC website around noon on that day.”
Erickson says in response that he believes it wasn’t until his blog posted its story on what he alleges is a coverup and that LifeNews.com and other media outlets picked up on the thread that the CDC finally responded.
“The Internet is an amazing thing. After weeks of checking and phone calls and emails … no report. Then one blog post at RedState later, and suddenly the CDC is falling over themselves to produce something,” Erickson said.
Erickson said CDC officials told him late yesterday: “My understanding is the population data needed to develop rate/ratio statistics was not available at the time we normally prepare the ASR. It is these data that are often desired by many to track trends and changes in a most precise way possible.”
But he doesn’t buy the argument. http://www.redstate.com/erick/2011/02/04/the-cdc-coverup-now-turns-to-bureaucratic-panic/
“One thing the government does well is routine. If you have any doubt witness the difference between how the government reacts to an emergency and how it delivers Social Security checks or collects taxes. A low intensity statistical report that has been produced at the same time for the past 40 years would strike most of us as the epitome of routine,” he said. “Possible. But is it likely? Another key fact is that the report in question covers abortions conducted in the United States in 2007. So the population data has been extant for at least two years because the Census Bureau – which has done routine real well for, oh, 200 years – had that particular data aggregated on July 1, 2008. That’s pretty “available” by our standards.”
“But let’s just pretend for a moment the data was somehow not “available” to the CDC. Why? It was available to the Census. Indeed, it was available to anyone with Internet access. But somehow the CDC was out of the loop? A more likely and obvious reason the data weren’t available is that a decision had been made to not acquire the data,” Erickson continued.
“We have very little doubt what happened it this case. An inconvenient report was quietly killed,” Erickson concluded. “The interview we had with the CDC press office confirmed that not only had the report not been written but that there were no plans to do so. This was confirmed by the CDC. The person who confirmed it was not confused. She did not misunderstand. She answered that the report hadn’t been produced, that she didn’t know why, and that she would find out. She then later called back to confirm that it was not an oversight, and that the report would not be forthcoming.”
LifeNews.com spoke with one pro-life expert on abortion figures about the delay in the report and there is some speculation the CDC may not have felt the need to release the annual report because of the latest figures coming from the Guttmacher Institute — which distributes more accurate figures because the pro-abortion former Planned Parenthood affiliate gets them directly from abortion businesses.
There is also speculation the CDC may be getting tired of dealing with recalcitrant states like California, New Hampshire, and Wyoming that don’t provide it accurate abortion totals each year the way the other 47 states do. Omitting the largest state in the nation throws off most of the totals and calculations of who has abortions, when and the reasons for the abortions. The CDC has seen pro-life groups, abortion activists and the mainstream media downplay their abortion numbers so often because of the inaccuracies that perhaps top officials are no longer interested in publishing them and are doing so only because of public pressure.
The expert LifeNews.com spoke with speculated there is no earth shattering information — such as a massive increase or drop in abortions — in the report to justify concerns that the CDC is engaged in a purposeful coverup. Instead, it appears a national bureaucracy is too burdened, too lazy, or too tired of dealing with numbers that, in some cases, are difficult to compile and are always subject to ridicule and scrutiny.