Abortion Rate: Pick a Number
There’s an old joke about the businessman who asked his attorney how much is two plus two.
The lawyer closed the office door, pulled his chair next to the boss and whispered: “What do you want it to be?”
When it comes to abortion statistics, the answer you get definitely depends on who you ask.
Overshadowing the difference in available numbers are two questions that can’t be answered: are abortionists submitting complete information and are agencies issuing accurate reports?
Last year the media was abuzz over an Associated Press survey claiming there has been a 12 percent reduction in abortions nationwide since 2010. Georgia’s reported abortion rate supposedly declined by 14 percent during the same period.
The reduction can’t be that great, however, because the total does not include abortions performed on women from other states.
For 2013, Georgia reported 27,456 abortions, down 580 from the 28,036 in 2012. As discussed below, the reduction might have been even greater if the state collected more complete data.
The nationwide numbers are far from accurate for several reasons.
First, five states—California, Maryland, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Wyoming—do not report abortions.
Second, the methods used to collect data vary from state to state.
Finally, the three main sources of the statistics have totally different results.
For example, 2011 is the latest year we can compare Georgia abortion results from all three sources:
- 34,910: Guttmacher Institute www.guttmacher.org/datacenter/profiles/GA.jsp.
- 32,768: Centers for Disease Control (CDC) www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6410.pdf.
- 29,558: Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH): https://oasis.state.ga.us/
For Georgia, that’s a 5,352 difference between Guttmacher and the state’s DPH number.
The total for Georgia is misleading because DPH revealed to GRTL that it does not collect or report abortions performed on women coming from other states.
If it had, the drop might have been much greater because a 2012 law that bans abortions after 24 weeks went into effect in 2013.
Prior to that, Georgia’s loose abortion laws made it a magnet for women from other states seeking late term abortions.
The law’s impact was confirmed by an in-depth analysis of the law by the University of California San Francisco which found that late term abortions fell in GA after it went into effect.
“Abortionists had been running wide open in Georgia before the 24-week ban,” explained GRTL President Ricardo Davis. “It has definitely reduced the slaughter by limiting abortions after 24 weeks.”
At the same time, Davis noted that medical (non-surgical) abortions have risen dramatically. For example, the CDC reports were 3,883 medical abortions in the state in 2012, compared to 2,960 in 2010.
Another troubling aspect of chemical abortion numbers is the easy availability of such drugs on the internet at such sites as: http://medsnoprescriptiononline.com/category/abortion-pills/.
Purchasing the pills, such as RU486, does not require a prescription, and their use is not reported or overseen by a physician.
Last year a 23-year-old Albany woman gave birth to a five and one-half-month-old baby in the back seat of a car. The child died 30 minutes later.
The woman, who was only charged by police with possession of a dangerous substance, had purchased the abortion chemical from a Canadian-based website.
GRTL will work to pass legislation in the 2016 session of the Georgia Legislature to make it illegal to purchase abortion drugs over the internet in Georgia.
As another part of its 2016 legislative agenda, GRTL will also pursue passing a bill calling for a personhood amendment to the state’s constitution.
“Principled incrementalism to reduce abortion is helpful in saving some lives, but the ultimate victory will be Personhood protection for all innocent life at all stages of development,” Davis said.
Passage of the internet and personhood bills will require the active involvement of pro-life supporters, who need to understand these bills as well as be prepared to contact their legislators when needed.
Liveactionnews.org; associatedpress; wabe.org