Pro-Abortion Group Falsely Claims Family Planning Programs Reduce Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 23, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Group Falsely Claims Family Planning Programs Reduce Abortions

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 23
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A new report from a pro-abortion group claims that family planning programs reduce the number of abortions. However, direct evidence from places where birth control and the morning after pill have been aggressively promoted show abortions increasing even with wider use.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group formerly affiliated with Planned Parenthood and named for a former PP president, released the report Tuesday.

It claims that taxpayer-funded family planing programs, involving the distribution of contraception and birth control, prevent nearly 2 million unintended pregnancies and more than 800,000 abortions in the U.S. annually.

Rachel Benson Gold , a report co-author, called the nation’s family planning program "smart government at its best," claiming that every dollar spent on family planning saves the government $4 in birth-related costs for occasions on which mothers on Medicaid have children.

AGI examined data from fiscal year 2006 and claims the national family planning program prevented 1.94 million unintended pregnancies, including almost 400,000 teen pregnancies. That, it says, prevented 860,000 unintended births and 810,000 abortions.

However, the report doesn’t appear to square with the facts in places where the number of abortions have been compiled following extensive promotion of family planning.

Last year, officials in Sweden reported that the number of abortions increased 17 percent in Sweden from 2000 to 2007 despite sales of the morning after pill increasing during the same time period.

The morning after pill became a drug that could be sold over the counter in Sweden in 2001 and abortion advocates touted non-prescription sales in the United States as a panacea for reducing abortions.

In that time, sales of the drug tripled in the nation’s capital and doubled nationwide.

Still, new national figures show 37,205 abortions in Sweden in 2007, up approximately 17 percent from the 30,980 done in 2000. In Stockholm, 10,259 abortions were done — a 6.9 percent increase in just one year from the 2006 figures.

Meanwhile, last year the number of abortions in Scotland rose for the third straight year despite a heavy push for women to use the morning after pill.

Abortions in Scotland rose four percent according to a report from the British National Health Service and now number 13,703. That increase cameafter NHS reported 13,081 abortions in 2006, up from 12,603 the previous year — an increase of nearly 3.8 percent.

Not only is the increased promoting of the morning after pill resulting in more abortions, not less, the number of women having repeat abortions is increasing as well.

NHS reports more than a quarter of women, 26.3 percent, who had an abortion in Scotland last year had at least one prior abortion before that. That’s 3,600 women who had one or more abortions prior, according to the government’s statistics.

The new figures also show the number of girls under the age of 16 having abortions has reached its highest levels as well. In 2007, 370 such young teenagers had abortions.

Finally, a report from Planned Parenthood of Western Washington shows abortions are on the rise in Washington state even though it participated in Washington state’s Take Charge pilot program.

Take Charge is a Medicaid section 1115 Waiver program initiated in 2001 to provide free contraceptives to low-income women not already covered under Medicaid. It was originally funded for five years in 2001, then extended for three more years, and comes up for renewal in 2009.

Yet the PPWW annual report indicates abortions rose 16 percent from 7,790 in 2006 to 9,059 in 2007.

Abortion advocates have claimed higher use of the Plan B drug through over the counter sales will result in a drop in unintended pregnancies and fewer abortions.

Mary Emanuel, who runs the web site Abortion in Washington, studied the report and also found that the abortion increase occurred despite sales of over 106,000 emergency contraception kits to Planned Parenthood customers.

“Taxpayers are supposed to be saving money and there are supposed to be fewer abortions but with this program we are seeing the exact opposite," she said.

However, Dr. Joseph Stanford, associate professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, says studies he and fellow researchers have done show a lower effectiveness rate than the 89 percent Barr Laboratories claims.

"We did more a precise meta-analysis that shows it’s effective only 72 percent of the time, and even that number is optimistic," he indicated.

He said studies from Europe, China and the United States show that the morning after pill does not reduce abortions.

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