REMINDER OF THE LIMITATION OF ABORTIONS’ DATA

Posted on July 17, 2010

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Before returning to the abortions’ situation in Connecticut, vis-a-vis apathy of its electorate and representatives and the outlook for the 2010 elections, it is important to understand the limitations of U.S. abortions’ data.  The pro-abortion not-for-profit foundation, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, published a brief in January 1997 entitled just that:  “The Limitations of U.S. Statistics on Abortion”.  The AGI itself pointed out that there are only two entities in the entire United States that collect and analyze abortion statistics, the federal CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) and the AGI, and that both sets of annual data and collection methods contain significant limitations.

In the case of the annual CDC statistics collection (mostly from the individual states Departments of Health), certain states do not submit data at all (notably, California), and many states provide underreported information, or have missing data, or do not file adequate breakdown of data.  In the case of the AGI, their surveys are conducted only every four years, and in some instances (since the surveys rely on voluntary responses and abortion-providers answers to questionnaires) the information is inaccurate – i.e. almost always low.  This researcher  – cccf – estimates that the AGI’s published total number of abortions in the United Staes may be low by nearly 100,000 a year: i.e. instead of 1,206,000 for 2006, the true number may be closer to 1,300,000.

If, however, the AGI is low in its survey estimates in regard to some states abortions (especially California, Florida and certain others), the CDC numbers are extraordinarily low for at least a third of the 47 reporting states.  To cite a few examples for the year 2005, comparing the CDC’s Annual Surveillance Report 2005 states’ totals (the first number) versus the Guttmacher Institute’s Survey Report 2005 states’ totals (the second number) and the percentage difference, here are some incredible results:  Arizona  10,700 versus 19,400   +81%:   Connecticut  12,100 versus 16,780   +39%:   District of Columbia  2,500 versus 7,230   +189%:   Illinois  43,400 versus 50,970   +17%:   Maryland  10,800 versus 37,590   +248%:   Massachusetts  23,200 versus 27,720  +20%:   Michigan  25,400 versus 40,600   +60%:   Nevada  10,600 versus 13,530   +28%:   New Jersey  31,200 versus 61,150   +96%:   New York  124,850 versus 155,960   +25%:  Texas  77,100 versus 85,760   +11%.

These examples are for the same states for the same year!  There are only two sources of data collection in the nation!  If one is a federal entity, collecting reported data from U.S. states’ Departments of Health (based presumably on data supplied to those states’ entities by licensed abortion providers), and they can be SO wrong in so many instances (compared to an independent pro-choice research group’s survey – a group that has no interest in padding or inflating abortion numbers), then how can ANY data be believed as being accurate?

It is astonishing, as written about earlier in a previous cccf blog post, that there is no pro-life or Catholic or apolitical or independent foundation/think-tank/institute in existence, in the United States or elsewhere, that researches the true facts about abortion in the United States and/or around the world.  Catholics and pro-lifers have left the so-called data gathering to others, and seem never to have questioned its authenticity.

This mishmash of data was used recently in Massachusetts by a doctor, Patrick Whelan M.D., to publish an article in a medical journal, with the imprimatur of the Harvard Medical School, to “prove” that universal-style health care (Commonwealth Care) as implemented in Massachusetts actually reduces the number of abortions, a precedent that ‘would be duplicated across the nation’ by Obama Universal Health Care.  The premise was false and the thesis flawed (see Blog further down “Massachusetts Abortions Not Reduced By Commonwealth Care”, March 21, 2010).  The CDC data the doctor relied upon (data – such as they are – supplied to the CDC by the state itself and its abortion providers) was and is itself unreliable, and differs from the Guttmacher data for the same years by as much as 3,000 abortions a year.

Now, understanding these data limitations, we’ll apply some logic to the Connecticut situation in the next article.

Posted in: POLITICS