In November, abortion advocates touted a misleading new study to the mainstream media, claiming that between 100,000 and 240,000 women of reproductive age in Texas have attempted self-induced abortions since its pro-life laws took effect.
The problem is, that data was patently and completely false. As previously reported on Lifenews.com:
The researchers estimate that between 100,000 and 240,000 women of reproductive age in Texas have tried to self-abort their unborn babies since the laws went into effect, according to Reuters. Women used herbs, teas, vitamins and medications from Mexico, according to the study.
The numbers almost certainly are a gross exaggeration. According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, there were 73,000 abortions in 2011 in Texas before the laws took effect. The study’s estimates that abortions increased up to 240,000 after the pro-life laws were passed seems extremely unlikely.
The study’s researchers have a history of biased, pro-abortion reporting. The University of California at San Francisco, which was involved with the Texas study, also published a study in 2013 advocating to allow non-doctors to perform surgical abortions and downplaying the high complication rates that they discovered.
Not surprisingly, the study’s findings has since been parroted by prominent abortion advocates including Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Virginia. On the opening day of the Virginia General Assembly this month, Keene said in a news conference that more than 100,000 women in Texas “have attempted to self-induce abortion in the past year alone.”
More surprising, though, is that this false statement is being challenged from unlikely sources. Politifact, sometimes criticized for a perceived liberal bias, shows that the math of the claim is widely off base.
The fact-checker then slams Keene’s statement, not with a “Mostly False” label typical of misleading statements, but with a firm “False,” and states that she “inaccurately places the blame for all self-abortion attempts on restrictions on abortion clinics that Texas passed in 2013.” It also notes that the real number of self-abortions in the year she cites are much lower.
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According to the fact checker:
The [Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas] conducted a survey of 779 Texas women ages 18 to 49 in December 2014 and January 2015. When the participants were asked whether they “ever” tried to end a pregnancy on their own, 1.7 percent said yes.
The researchers were concerned that some of the women might not be willing to admit they’ve tried to self-abort. So they also asked each participant whether her best friend “ever” tried to end a pregnancy by herself. The response: 1.8 percent said they were “sure” their best friend had done so, and another 2.3 percent “suspected” that had happened.
The researchers concluded that the proportion of Texas women who have tried to self-abort falls somewhere between the 1.7 percent who said they did so and the 4.1 percent who said they either were sure or suspected their best friend had tried. That converts to somewhere between 100,000 and 240,000 women ages 18 to 49 in the Lone Star State.
Again, this is an estimate of the women who tried “ever” in their lives to self-abort. Keene makes a significant error in saying the research shows that more than 100,000 of the incidents occurred “in the last year alone.”
The pro-life laws Keene criticizes here are credited with saving the lives of over 10,000 babies from abortion.