Memo: CDC Had Abortion Report in November, Coverup Alleged

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 7, 2011   |   1:28PM   |   Washington, DC

A new memo ironically uncovered by a liberal, pro-abortion blog is making the case a conservative web site has advanced that the Centers for Disease Control purposefully delayed issuing its normal annual report on abortion figures in the United States.

The conservative blog RedState alleged last week that CDC officials were dragging their feet on issuing the report the agency normally unveiled every November with the latest abortion data, three years old, showing how many abortions are done annually, who gets them, when, in what states, and why.

CDC officials told RedState two weeks ago that it “will not have stats available at any time in the near future” and there “are no plans for them to come out any time soon.” After blogger Erick Erickson posted his investigation into the CDC delay in releasing the abortion information, the agency responded quickly with its senior press officer promising the report would be published in a couple weeks.

Now, the liberal “media watchdog” Media Matters, funded and supported by pro-abortion billionaire George Soros, obtained a CDC memo that Erickson says makes his case. The memo shows the abortion report “was submitted for review and editing on November 12.”

“That would be exactly when one would expect the report to go for editing with a publication date the week after Thanksgiving,” Erickson said. “Again, the CDC first told us that it had no plans of releasing the report. Then the CDC told us it was awaiting data. Thanks to Media Matters, we now know the report was actually done and submitted on November 12, 2010, completely contrary to everything the CDC has said both to RedState and publicly in response to our story.”

“What this means is that someone at the CDC received the report to review and edit, and caused it not to be released on its usual schedule, with no publicly stated reason why and no apparent interest in releasing it until we publicized the issue. The question that now needs to be answered – perhaps ultimately to Congress – is who made that decision, who told them to make that decision, and why,” he concluded. “With Media Matters’ help, Congress will now know where to start asking those questions.”

On Friday, Tom Skinner, the Senior Public Affairs Officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told that he anticipates publishing the abortion totals later this month and that delays have been a result of trouble gathering information — not pressure from Obama officials.

“Due to delays in collecting some of the population data needed to complete the MMWR Abortion Surveillance Summary, the report did not come out in November as it usually does,” he told “But it is tentatively scheduled for publication on February 24 and will be posted to the CDC website around noon on that day.” spoke with one pro-life expert on abortion figures about the delay in the report and there is some speculation the CDC may not have felt the need to release the annual report because of the latest figures coming from the Guttmacher Institute – which distributes more accurate figures because the pro-abortion former Planned Parenthood affiliate gets them directly from abortion businesses.

There is also speculation the CDC may be getting tired of dealing with recalcitrant states like California, New Hampshire, and Wyoming that don’t provide it accurate abortion totals each year the way the other 47 states do. Omitting the largest state in the nation throws off most of the totals and calculations of who has abortions, when and the reasons for the abortions. The CDC has seen pro-life groups, abortion activists and the mainstream media downplay their abortion numbers so often because of the inaccuracies that perhaps top officials are no longer interested in publishing them and are doing so only because of public pressure.

The expert spoke with speculated there is no earth shattering information — such as a massive increase or drop in abortions — in the report to justify concerns that the CDC is engaged in a purposeful coverup. Instead, it appears a national bureaucracy is too burdened, too lazy, or too tired of dealing with numbers that, in some cases, are difficult to compile and are always subject to ridicule and scrutiny.

Meanwhile, Michael New, a University of Alabama political science professor who is an expert on abortion law and statistics responded to a request for comment on the RedState allegations:

Pro-life activists have always been disappointed that the federal government does not have stronger reporting requirements for abortion statistics. The statistics that the CDC has reported since 1969 are far from perfect — some states do not comply and others do not provide complete information. That having been said they are the only source for annual abortion data from the United States and have been used by researchers on both sides of the abortion debate. Additionally, they have offered a consistent reminder about the prevalence of abortion in our society and provided evidence of the incremental progress the pro-life movement has made.

The Obama administration’s decision to stop publishing abortion  statistics is nothing short of outrageous.  Even the rabidly pro-choice Clinton administration allowed the CDC to publish abortion statistics on an annual basis. Perhaps the Obama administration wants to squelch evidence that health care reform increased the abortion rate. Perhaps, seeing the momentum of pro-lifers, they do not want to be blamed if abortion numbers increase.  Regardless, research and human knowledge will not advance without access to good and reliable data. As such, the Obama administration is doing a tremendous disservice to researchers, scholars, journalists, and the general public.