1 in 4: An Estimate With An Agenda

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Janet Morana Executive Director, Priests For Life
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For years the lie has circulated widely that 1 in 3 women in the United States will have an abortion in her lifetime. It wasn’t true  when it first surfaced in 2011 and it is certainly not true now, when abortions have fallen to their lowest rates since 1973’s Roe v. Wade travesty.

Perhaps recognizing that they could no longer get away with this blatant exaggeration, the abortion-friendly Guttmacher Institute has come up with a new number: 1 in 4 women will have an abortion in her lifetime.

Is this new assertion true? I’m not a statistician, but I would have to say no.

In coming up with this figure, two Guttmacher researchers, Rachel K. Jones and Jenna Jerman,  explained their methodology:

We used secondary data from the Abortion Patient Survey, the American Community Survey, and the National Survey of Family Growth to estimate abortion rates. We used information from the Abortion Patient Survey to estimate the lifetime incidence of abortion.

Please take note of the word estimate. The authors estimated abortion rates, and estimated the lifetime incidence of abortion. Sometimes an estimate is a guess with a Ph.D., but in this case, the estimate is a guess with an agenda.

First off, it’s important to know who’s doing the reporting. The Guttmacher Institute was once considered the research arm of Planned Parenthood, but maintains that it has been an independent organization since 1977. Yet, in all the research Guttmacher has done in that time, you would be hard-pressed to find any reports that shed a negative light on abortion.

The organization is named for Alan F. Guttmacher, a past president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the one-time vice president of the American Eugenics Society. He was one of the first physicians to call for legalizing abortion. He was as pro-abortion as they come.

The Abortion Patient Survey is produced annually by Guttmacher. In coming up with the 1 in 4 figure, the researchers looked at all sorts of variables included in the 2014 report, including the numbers of women who have had repeat abortions . Out of 8,380 abortion patients who responded to their survey, they found that 44.8 percent had one or more prior abortions.

But by their own admission, the prevalence of repeat abortions cannot be verified and could be higher.

Our estimate of the lifetime incidence of abortion is on the basis of patientsreports of previous terminations. Underreporting of abortions is common in nationally representative surveys.

Similarly, in 2013, the federal Centers for Disease Control found that 36.2 percent of women had one or two prior abortions, and 8.6 percent had three or more.

In my work at Priests for Life and with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, I have met many women who have had multiple abortions. One woman who testifies annually at the March for Life in D.C. talks about her five abortions, and how each one impacted her life. On the road, some of our priests have met women who talk about having had more than 10 abortions. In 2009, Irene Vilar wrote “Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict,” shocking both pro-lifers and pro-choicers with her tale of having had 15 abortions.

The number of repeat abortions is very significant when calculating how many American women will subject themselves and their unborn children to this life-changing/life-ending procedure.

A higher percentage of women reporting repeat procedures means there is a smaller percentage of “new” women having abortions. Couple that with the significant decrease in the actual number of abortions, and it seems unlikely that the 1 in 4 number is anywhere near accurate. In fact, the number is off from the start, because after all their estimating, the researchers came up with the statistic that 23.7 percent of women will have an abortion in her lifetime. When dealing with roughly one million abortions, that 1.3 percent difference adds up.

Why does the abortion cartel lie about the percentage of women who have abortions? It’s all part of a multi-faceted campaign to reduce the stigma of abortion. The Washington Post was happy to report the statistic without any explanation of how the researchers came up with the 1 in 4 number. That’s not surprising, because the mainstream media and the entertainment industry are partners in the “destigmatize abortion” charade. If everyone’s doing it, that flawed logic goes, then it can’t be that bad.

But of course, abortion is that bad and the stigma isn’t caused by pro-lifers praying outside abortion businesses or politicians passing laws to protect the unborn. Abortion stigma exists because abortion is an unnatural, immoral, unethical and barbaric act with lifelong, generational and societal repercussions. Statistics don’t matter in the face of that truth.