Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Raw Statistics: Not a Substitute for Evidence [Serge]

I couldn't agree with Scott more that we need to be extremely careful when evaluating statistics. As ones who should be primarily concerned with truth, abusing stats to make our points is short-sided and in the long run ineffective. We have to be better than those who use statistical data without warrant to make a point.

Like our opponents.

Here is a press release from the Guttmacher Institute discussing the leveling out of the long-twerm drop in the number of abortions:

The steady decline in the U.S. abortion rate since 1981 appears to have stalled, new Guttmacher Institute research finds. The 2008 rate stood at 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44, significantly below the 1981 peak (29.3 abortions for every 1,000 women). However, the 2008 abortion rate was virtually unchanged from the 2005 rate (19.4 abortions). Likewise, the total number of abortions in 2008 (1.21 million) was essentially unchanged from 2005.

I have no qualm with these numbers. However, check out the next paragraph:

“In this time of heightened politicization around abortion, our stalled progress should be an urgent message to policymakers that we need to do more to increase access to contraceptive services to prevent unintended pregnancy, while ensuring access to abortion services for the many women who still need them,” says Sharon Camp, president and CEO of Guttmacher.

Sharon decides with absolutely no evidence that the reason why the drop in abortion has declined is a lack of contraceptive services. Really? How did she come to that conclusion? Does she have evidence that most unplanned pregnancies are the result of a woman attempting to get contraception but being unable to do so? This surprises me, for I live in a medium sized city and can think of, oh about 30 places where one can get contraception within a 5 minute drive. Maybe there are other reasons? In fact, just recently pro-abortion choicers were claiming that the economy was going to be responsible for increased abortions. So what is it?


  1. Serge, you have no idea how glad I am to see you back in the hunt. Great post!

  2. I, too, welcome the return of the Serge-meister!

    The reality about the paragraph you cited is this: it's not about the availability to *purchase* contraceptives, it's about the availability to *receive* contraceptives at no cost. Isn't that always the answer--condom give-aways anyone?!?! Yeah, that will solve the problem for sure!


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