Pro-Life Group Defends Bias Complaint of JHU Researcher on Abortion Study
by Steven Ertelt
December 10, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Family Research Council said a study by a Johns Hopkins University research team claiming no abortion-mental health link exists should be ignored because the team has ties to pro-abortion groups. The lead author denied those links and now FRC officials are reasserting their contentions.
JHU professor Robert Blum and colleagues released a study that supposedly showed abortion does not cause women future mental health issues.
The Family Research Council accused Blum and his JHU associates of bias saying he and his department are linked to three different pro-abortion groups.
Blum denied the links in an email to LifeNews.com and now FRC officials have responded saying Blum is misleading his critics.
FRC said its "fundamental criticism" of the Blum study is that "it was selective in its use of studies, that it did not consistently use its own criteria for the studies it did cover, and that it ignored a number of peer-reviewed studies that show that abortion is associated with an increased risk of a number of mental health problems."
But Moira Gaul, the FRC director of women’s and reproductive health, tells LifeNews.com that Blum and his fellow authors are linked to the abortion industry.
She said Blum has clear ties to the pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute as a board member and previous board chair — which Blum did not dispute.
In addition, "the funding of the university’s department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, where three of the four study authors work, by Planned Parenthood of Maryland, serve[s] as evidence of the political motivation behind the publishing of the study."
Blum previously denied that the study was funded by Planned Parenthood and that he "never received even one penny of funding from Planned Parenthood."
He also asserted that the "Guttmacher [Institute] is completely independent of Planned Parenthood."
Gaul said, "FRC has not asserted that Planned Parenthood funded this particular study, but only that Planned Parenthood of Maryland is a contributor to the Johns Hopkins Population, Family, and Reproductive Health where three of the four study authors work."
Gaul also called the fact that AGI, which supports legal abortion, is no longer officially affiliated with Planned Parenthood a "distinction without a difference."
"The Guttmacher Institute bears the same relation to abortion as the Tobacco Institute did to the tobacco industry – legally independent, but functionally related," she said.
She points out that Planned Parenthood’s own reports describe AGI as a "special affiliate" of Planned Parenthood. The abortion business’s 2005 Form 990 identifies a grant of $704,631 to AGI, and describes its purpose as "to support core activities of Guttmacher Institute and public policy activities conducted on behalf of PPFA."
"One of those public policies is to downplay the significance of abortion for the physical and mental health of women, as PPFA (and Guttmacher) oppose all health regulation of abortion practice in the United States and overseas," Gaul said.
"It is the height of irresponsibility for professional researchers to ignore peer-reviewed studies that counter their conclusions and the past affiliations and prior funding sources of those researchers are fair game for discussion," Gaul concluded.
She said that is especially the case "where, as here, the researchers argue that political motivation is the main driver behind how others view the growing case for serious mental health impacts attributable to abortion."
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