Media Continues False Notion Abortion on the Rise Under President Bush

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 12, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Media Continues False Notion Abortion on the Rise Under President Bush Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 12, 2004

Philadelphia, PA ( — Shortly before the presidential election, a suspiciously timed study was released claiming abortions increased during the Bush administration. Media outlets latched on to the study as proof that President Bush’s record doesn’t match his pro-life views, despite the fact that it relied on false data and questionable assumptions.

In an article Friday for the Knight-Ridder news service, Jane Eisner, a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, perpetuates the more-abortions-under-Bush myth.

Eisner addresses the Internet rumor that a pro-life doctor, David Hager, is about to be confirmed to a key FDA committee and how abortion advocates must stop the appointment.

Hager was confirmed long ago and Eisner says the false emails distract from the issue of "how to address the increasing rate of abortions during the Bush administration."

Eisner cites a study conducted by Glen Harold Stassen, a professor of Christian ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary that claims abortion rates have increased since President Bush took office.

However, the claim just isn’t true.

Stassen studied 16 states and claimed abortions are on the rise in 11 of them. Dr. Randy O’Bannon, director of education at the National Right to Life Committee says the truth is only 8 of the states show an increase and abortions are on the decline in many others.

In Illinois, for example, Stassen mentions an increase in the abortion numbers from 2001-2002 and says abortions have increased under President Bush.

However, Stassen ignores the substantial decrease in the number of abortions from 2002 to 2003. The number of abortions dropped a whopping 10 percent that year to their lowest figure since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973.

In Wisconsin, Stassen amazingly used the wrong data. Stassen says abortions in Wisconsin increased by 0.6% from 2001 to 2002. Yet, the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services says there were 436 fewer abortions performed in Wisconsin in 2002 than in 2001.

Stassen complicates his problem in South Dakota, a state he counts as one where abortion increased during the Bush administration.

He points to a one year increase from 2001-2002 of 2.1%. However, that’s the figure for the increase in the number of babies born during that period. Figures from the state’s health department reveal a 9.7 percent decrease in the number of abortions during that time.

Eisner’s article claims abortions are on the rise in Kentucky under Bush.

However, the most recent data from the Center for Vital Statistics in Frankfort show that abortions in Kentucky dropped by 250 in 2002 — a decline of seven percent.

Data from states Stassen ignored in his study also show abortion on the decline.

From 2001-2002, abortions are down 9.3 percent in Kansas, 4.5 percent in Pennsylvania, they fell 6 percent in South Carolina.

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