Howard Dean Still Uses False Study on Abortions Under Bush

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 10, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Howard Dean Still Uses False Study on Abortions Under Bush Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 10, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean is coming under fire for continuing to rely on a false study released last year that claims abortions have increased under President Bush. That’s despite new figures from a Planned Parenthood research group showing the opposite is true.

In a May 22 interview on NBC’s "Meet the Press," Dean told Tim Russert, "You know that abortions have gone up 25 percent since George Bush was President?"

His basis for the comment was a survey released just before the presidential election by researcher Harold Stassen who reviewed data from 16 states, some of which he never named in his article.

Stassen’s article claimed abortions were up under Bush, though not anywhere close to 25 percent.

However, a new comprehensive review conducted at the end of May by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, looks at figures from 43 states and finds abortions decreased nationwide under Bush – by 0.8% in 2001 and by another 0.8% in 2002.

Despite the Planned Parenthood study, Dean continues to trumpet the false data.

Last week, on June 3, Dean stated on CNN’s "Wolf Blitzer Reports" program: "The abortion rate was lower than Democrat — when Democrats were in charge, than they are when the Republicans are in charge.

However, 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.

"In Clinton’s last year in office, the decline was … 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 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.

"Under President Bush the number of abortions has gone down, but under Chairman Dean the number of fabrications and slanders has gone up," says Douglas Johnson, legislative director for NRLC.

Under President George W. Bush, the abortion numbers of some states are at their lowest levels ever.

The state of Washington recently recorded the lowest annual abortion rates in state history and the state of Wisconsin reported that abortion rates there are at their lowest levels since 1974.

New statistics in the state of Illinois show a whopping 10 percent drop in the number of abortions performed last year. The new numbers take the state to its lowest number of annual abortions in thirty years.

Following the AGI report, Stassen admitted he can’t substantiate his original claims.

He sent a memo on May 25 to, an investigative web site, saying the AGI study was "significantly better" than his own.

"I based my estimates in October on the sixteen states whose data I could find then. Now, seven months later, and with their extensive data-gathering ability, AGI (Alan Guttmacher Institute) bases their results on 44 states," Stassen wrote.

"They say their results are only estimates, projections, but I believe their results are significantly better than what I could have obtained seven months ago," he said.