Statistician Refutes UN-Planned Parenthood Study on Illegal Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 29, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Statistician Refutes UN-Planned Parenthood Study on Illegal Abortions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 29,

New York, NY ( — A joint study published by the World Health Organization and the Alan Guttmacher Institute is coming under additional scrutiny for claiming that abortions are just as frequent in nations where they are prohibited as those that legalize them. A statistician at Texas A&M University says the study is full of gaping holes.

Under the new study, WHO and the affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion business examined information from 1995 to 2003.

They claim abortion rates are the same in rich and poor countries and in nations regardless of whether abortions are allowed.

They also claim half of the abortions done worldwide are unsafe, even though supposedly safe and legal abortions frequently cause women medical, emotional or other problems.

Dr. Keith Schumann, a Ph.D. statistician, reviewed the study and says the two groups use weak or non-existent data to support their conclusion that nations should legalize abortions.

“I cannot make any conclusion on the accuracy or precision of the numbers they report," Schumann told the Catholic News Agency. "There are numerous assumptions made in their methodology that can severely sway the final outcome."

"In other words, the numbers in the report contain such potentially large margins of error and so many problems with the underlying data that were cobbled together that few, if any, conclusions can accurately be made," the statistician explained.

Schumann said he was unable to recreate the results of the report based on the data the groups included in it.

He told CNA that the data is pulled form multiple sources and, in some cases, the researchers involved make guesses as to the statistics they need to back up their claims.

Schumann said the conclusions were "troubling" based on the faulty data and said some of the stats in the study were simply made up by researchers. He also said researchers adjusted figures when they didn’t have enough data and claimed that some nations underreported risks from illegal abortions.

For countries where abortions are illegal, the total number of abortions was estimated, then inflated, and then all of these were considered unsafe, he said.

He also pointed to the study’s claim that legal abortions in China and North Korea are "100% percent safe" even though they are forced in many situations.

“We can’t even get an accurate number of abortions locally, aside from what Planned Parenthood self-reports," Schumann concluded. "I don’t understand how we can then get accurate numbers from a worldwide perspective.”