Abortion Advocates Can’t Get Partial-Birth Abortion Numbers Straight
by Steven Ertelt
November 4, 2003
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates are having a hard time keeping the number of partial-birth abortions straight.
As the nation eagerly awaits President Bush’s signature on the ban on Wednesday, one pro-life advocate says pro-abortion groups need to get their facts together before claiming the law should be overturned.
An article in the Washington Times on October 27 reported that the National Coalition of Abortion Providers said that, in 1997, there were approximately 3-5,000 partial-birth abortions annually. The story indicated the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a branch of Planned Parenthood, says the number "is steadily increasing."
AGI Vice-President Beth Frederick wrote a letter to the editor of the paper on October 29 taking issue with the Times article.
Frederick claimed the reporter "misrepresents findings" of AGI surveys on partial-birth abortions. Contrary to reports the number is on the rise, Frederick said AGI reports found that 2,200 were performed in the year 2000.
"Not so fast," says Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee.
Johnson says that in 1998 AGI issued an estimate that only 650 partial-birth abortions took place during 1996. Johnson says the 650 number was taken as fact by the mainstream media for years and steadfastly defended by AGI.
In fact, AGI senior researcher Stanley Henshaw told the New York Times in 1998, "The numbers aren’t exact, but I’m pretty sure it’s in the 500 to 1,000 range."
Johnson says that if AGI was right about the 650 number, a report showing 2,200 partial-birth abortions in 2000 clearly shows the number of partial-birth abortions on the rise.
"However, one also could conclude that the original AGI figure of 650 for 1996 was absurdly low, an interpretation supported by other evidence — such as the fact that two abortionists reported elsewhere in 1996 that they performed 1,500 partial-birth abortions annually at a single abortion clinic," Johnson explains.
According to Johnson, even the figure of 2,200 partial-birth abortions annually is a lowball estimate of what is likely happening around the country.
"Responses to AGI surveys are voluntary. The 2,200 figure is just a portion of an iceberg of unknown size," Johnson said.
Some have claimed that the partial-birth abortion ban is useless because it will only ban a portion of the total number of abortions occurring each year. Johnson disagrees.
"If a new virus was killing 2,200 premature babies annually in neonatal units, it would be on the TV evening news every week," Johnson said. Partial-birth abortions kill thousands of babies "in the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy."
Related web sites:
National Right to Life – https://www.nrlc.org