Los Angeles Times Reporter Admits Inflating Mexico’s Illegal Abortion Count

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 20, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Los Angeles Times Reporter Admits Inflating Mexico’s Illegal Abortion Count Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 20,

Los Angeles (LifeNews.com) — A Los Angles Times news reporter has admitted that he inflated the number of illegal abortions he reported in a recent news story on Mexico. Hector Tobar reported that 1 million illegal abortions had been occurring there annually before the legislative assembly in Mexico City legalized abortions in the capital city.

In an editorial LifeNews.com carried earlier this month, NewsBusters blogger Dave Pierre challenged Tobar on the assertion.

Pierre noted how only 3,400 women have received abortions at 14 of the capital’s public hospitals in the six months since lawmakers legalized abortions there.

With 40 percent of Mexicans living in the capital or within a day’s drive from it and so few abortions done legal, Pierre said there is no way so many illegal abortions would be done in the nation annually.

"The Times and Tobar have some explaining to do," Pierre said at the time. "By grossly inflating the number of illegal abortions and the deaths they caused, the Times has propagated abortion falsehoods yet again."

Tobar has now admitted the numbers are wrong, but his correction didn’t come in the way of an article in the newspaper. Instead, he posted a response on the Times’ blog.

Tobar admits "the 1-million figure appears too high" and acknowledges that there is an "obvious inconsistency" between the number of legal abortions and the illegal abortion claims.

"If you consider that the Mexico City metropolitan region is home to almost 1 in 6 Mexicans … you could guess that there were about 40,000 to 68,000 abortions, legal and illegal, taking place in the entire country each year — far less than 1 million." Tobar admits.

The reporter blames his mathematical error on abortion advocates.

"Several lawmakers and activists supporting the legalization law cited a 2005 study by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM in Spanish) that estimated there were close to 1 million abortions performed in the country each year," Tobar wrote.

Tobar says the study was frequently quoted in the debate leading up to legalization by Human Rights Watch, a notorious pro-abortion group that is advocating abortion in numerous Latin American nations with pro-life laws.

"The exact number of abortions in a country where abortions remains largely illegal can probably never be known," Tobar finally concludes. "But in light of Mexico City’s experience with legalized abortion, the 1-million figure appears too high."

Pierre issued a response to Tobar on the NewsBusters web site.

"There’s a lot (and I mean a lot) more I can add about this, but we’ll just leave it at this," he said, after quoting Tobar’s admission.

"This issue may not seem like a big deal to some," Pierre concluded. "But to pro-lifers who are all too familiar with the brute dishonesty of abortion proponents and their defenders, this episode can be viewed as significant."