Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean Gets Abortion Facts, Figures Wrong

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 12, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean Gets Abortion Facts, Figures Wrong

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by John McCormack
June 12, 2008 Note: John McCormack is the deputy online editor at the Weekly Standard, a conservative newsmagazine that regularly publishes pro-life articles.


Yesterday morning at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast meeting, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean was asked whether the Democratic platform on abortion should be amended.

That will be up to Barack Obama and his delegates, Dean said, adding that the Democratic party believes "individuals have a right to make up their own minds in personal matters … but this party also believes that we ought to significantly reduce the number of abortions in this country."

Given the latter, I asked how he could square Barack Obama’s and the Democratic party’s support for public funding for abortion–which studies show significantly increases the abortion rate.

Dean responded: "Total nonsense. It’s total nonsense that public funding" increases the abortion rate."

Well, according to the Guttmacher Institute — Planned Parenthood’s research arm — that’s not total nonsense.

A 1994-1995 AGI survey of abortion patients found that in states where Medicaid pays for abortions, women covered by Medicaid have an abortion rate 3.9 times that of women who are not covered, while in states that do not permit Medicaid funding for abortions, Medicaid recipients are only 1.6 times as likely as nonrecipients to have abortions.

A more recent study by Dr. Michael New of the University of Alabama found: "State laws restricting the use of Medicaid funds in paying for abortions reduced the abortion rate by 29.66" abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age."

After I pointed out the Guttmacher research on taxpayer funding and the abortion rate, Dean said: "If the Guttmacher Institute has said it would, I’m
not going to argue with the Guttmacher Institute, but I can tell you as the governor of one of the four states which provides public funding, I find that hard to believe because our rate is not higher than the rate of corresponding states nearby."

Read the complete article here.