Howard Dean Repeats False Claim Abortions Go Up Under Republicans, Bush

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 19, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Howard Dean Repeats False Claim Abortions Go Up Under Republicans, Bush

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 19
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean has made the claim before and been rebuked over peddling false statistics. But, he said again in a Friday interview that abortions increase under Republican presidents, even though data clearly shows abortions have gone down.

Dean conducted an interview with the Patriot-News, a central Pennsylvania newspaper.

Asked whether Democrats have been able to attract evangelical voters to support pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama, Dean talked about abortion.

"Let’s look at abortion for a second. The Republicans always talk about being against abortion, but the number of abortions go up when you have Republican presidents," Dean claimed. "John McCain has done nothing to stop abortions."

"[McCain’s] totally out of touch with modern life. If you want to reduce abortions, you ought to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, and Obama’s committed to doing that, and so are the Democrats," Dean continued.

Then, he repeated the false statistics again.

"And so let’s get real about abortion. You can say anything you want about abortion, but abortions never goes down under Republicans," he said.

Dean came under fire in June 2005 for peddling the false information even though figures from a Planned Parenthood research group showing the opposite is true.

In January, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a Planned Parenthood affiliate, reported that the number of abortions nationwide have fallen to their lowest point in 30 years and have declined 25 percent since 1990 — with half of that time period coming under pro-life Republican presidents.

The number of abortions are now at their lowest point since 1.179 million in 1976, AGI said.

Meanwhile, research from a nonpartisan political watchdog group finds the claim false when compared with national and state abortion statistics.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania says that claims that abortions have not decreased under President Bush are "not true" and even rebuked Dean for misleading the public.

"Politicians from Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to Howard Dean have recently contended that abortions have increased since George W. Bush took office in 2001," the researchers have written.

"This claim is false. It’s based on an opinion piece that used data from only 16 states. A study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute of 43 states found that abortions have actually decreased," Annenberg indicates.

"The claim is repeated by supporters of abortion rights as evidence that Bush’s anti-abortion policies have backfired, or at least been ineffective," it added. "But the claim is untrue. In fact, according to the respected Alan Guttmacher Institute, a 20-year decline in abortion rates continued after Bush took office."

Not only have abortions declined steadily under pro-life Republican presidents, but the decline appeared to slow down during the Clinton years.

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 1989-1993 term of the first President Bush, abortions decreased by 113,000, or 7 percent where as 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.

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