Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Has the Author of the Guttmacher Study Read What They Cite? [Serge]

Science is intended to be an objective, empirical investigation of our world in an effort to discern truth. The scientific literature is intended to aid in that process by the open and truthful dissemination of data and conclusions to be considered by others. It is for this reason that I struggle almost every time I read articles or press reports from "family planning" sources. Here is a prime example.

Here is a press release from the Guttmacher Institute about some study regarding EC in some Carribean countries. I wished to read it with an open mind until I found something that was concerning. It turns out that I did not make it past the first part of the first sentence:

Despite widespread belief that emergency contraception is necessary to reduce levels of unintended pregnancy, almost half of more than 400 health care providers surveyed in Jamaica and Barbados have at some point refused to provide the method to women seeking it.
Eeks. Is it really necessary? Lets first try to forget that logically speaking, pregnancies really do not happen by accident. Pregnancy occurs as a natural consequence of certain sexual activity. Why do we need to imagine that folks are just walking down the street when, oops, a pregnancy just happens? Human beings, by virtue of being able to control our own behavior, have all of the tools necessary to prevent unintended pregnancy.

Even so, is there really a consensus the EC is necessary? This would be a great surprise to one of the biggest proponents of EC, James Trussell. Trussell published an article just last year that had this conclusion:

In all but one study, increased access to emergency contraceptive pills was associated with greater use. However, no study found an effect on pregnancy or abortion rates. CONCLUSION: Increased access to emergency contraceptive pills enhances use but has not been shown to reduce unintended pregnancy rates.
Here's where is gets really interesting. You may think that the author of the Guttmacher study was not aware of Trussell's article. This could not possible be the case, because they actually cited Trussell's article in the study, albeit in order to support a different point. Amazing.

Allow me to review. The Guttmacher Institute claims in a press release that there is a consensus that EC is necessary to reduce unintended pregnancies. However, the study itself cites an article which shows that EC had yet to have an influence on decreasing pregnancy rates regardless of how easy it is to access or how often it is taken.

And this is taken as science. And it happened in the first sentence of the article.



  1. Rich,

    I liked this post..

    I have a project you may be interested - it deals with the flaws in Guttmacher studies..

    Drop me a line by e-mail - you have my e-mail addy..


  2. If you think that is bad - you need to take their annual Pop quiz that is on the bottom of the main page.

    Pay close attention to #3 and #8! They can't even do a 10 question quiz without contradicting themselves.

    If you read their answers on those 2 questions they have proven that abstinence DOES work yet they are so blind they didn't see it.


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