by Steven Ertelt
January 24, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Senator Hillary Clinton on Monday accused President Bush of causing abortions to increase in parts of the country because he is not fully funding family planning programs that she alleges cut the number of abortions.
Clinton, a polarizing figure considered a top presidential contender in 2008, spoke at a rally with more than 1,000 abortion advocates while hundreds of thousands marched in Washington against abortion.
"[U] unfortunately in the last few years, while we are engaged in ideological debate instead of one that uses facts and evidence and common sense, the rate of abortion is on the rise in some states," she said.
"In the (first) three years since President Bush took office, eight states have seen an increase in abortion rates and four saw a decrease."
But, those numbers come from a flawed study conducted by a researcher who used faulty data to survey the rise or fall of abortions during the Bush administration.
Glen Harold Stassen a professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, released the politically-charged study just before the presidential elections.
Stassen claimed that abortions increased in 11 of 16 states he and assumed abortions must be on the rise nationwide.
However, Stassen used wrong figures in several states – sometimes using old abortion stats and, in South Dakota, using the birth rate instead of the number of abortions.
Meanwhile, Clinton also said that during her husband’s administration, "we saw the rate of abortion consistently fall."
"The abortion rate fell by one-quarter between 1990 and 1995, the steepest decline since Roe was decided in 1973," Clinton told a conference of the Family Planning Advocates of New York. "The rate fell another 11 percent between 1994 and 2000."
Those numbers also come from the flawed Stassen study.
Stassen’s article first claims that abortions were on the decline (down 17.4%) during the 1990s. The assumption he makes is that the economic policies of Bill Clinton caused the decrease.
Dr. Randy O’Bannon, director of education at the National Right to Life Committee, says most of the abortion decline in the 1990s occurred during the first few years. That’s when the first President Bush was in office and shortly thereafter — before Clinton’s economic policies would have had an effect.
Stassen wrongly averages the 17.4 percent decline to say that abortions decreased at the same 1.7 percent rate every year during the 90s. Since Clinton was in office during most of the 1990s, that would give him bragging rights to the abortion decrease.
But, Dr. O’Bannon said the rate of decline was higher in the Bush years and slowed during the Clinton years.
"In Clinton’s last year in office, the decline was not 1.7%, but just 0.1%," O’Bannon explained.
During the Bush years and the year after, abortions decreased by 113,000, or 7 percent. The number of abortions fell by only 46,500, or 3.5 percent, during Clinton’s second term in office, when his economic policies were in full effect.
The abortion number even reversed itself one year during the Clinton presidency, from 1995-1996, and went up slightly.