In October of last year, Glen Harold Stassen and Gary Krane wrote an opinion piece printed in the Houston Chronicle "Why Abortion Rate Is Up In Bush Years." (Note, the original title to the piece as posted at Sojourner's Sojomail was "Pro-Life? Look at the fruits." This title is the Chronicle's, not Stassen and Krane's.)
FactCheck asserts that in this column, Stassen and Krane "claim that abortions are rising again," a claim picked up and repeated by numerous Democratic politicians. What did the authors actually say? Follow me to the extended to find out.
Enter George W. Bush in 2001. One would expect the abortion rate to continue its consistent course downward, if not plunge. Instead, the opposite happened.
We found four states that have posted three-year statistics: Kentucky's increased by 3.2 percent from 2000 to 2003. Michigan's increased by 11.3 percent from 2000 to 2003. Pennsylvania's increased by 1.9 percent from 1999 to 2002. Colorado's rates skyrocketed 111 percent. We found 12 additional states that reported statistics for 2001 and 2002. Eight states saw an increase in abortion rates (14.6 percent average increase), and four saw a decrease (4.3 percent average).
Under Bush, the decade-long trend of declining abortion rates appears to have reversed. Given the trends of the 1990s, 52,000 more abortions occurred in the United States in 2002 than would have been expected before this change of direction.
Note the distinction. FactCheck says that Stassen and Krane are stating that the abortion rate is increasing, period. What Stassen and Krane are really saying is that the rate of decrease in the abortion rate has slowed--had it continued along the trend lines of the previous decade, there would have been 52,000 fewer abortions in 2002.
How does FactCheck buttress this lie? By misstating what the Guttmacher Institute ACTUALLY says. Thus while FactCheck claims that Stassen is contradicted by Guttmacher, in fact they say precisely the same thing:
Fact Check clearly needs more fact checkers. Here are some more lies:
Now why this would distort the level of decrease or increase is hard to say, and much harder to say why it would hurt Bush. Of course, Fact Check does not take long to contradict itself, by criticizing Stassen for including the historically LOW reported abortion state Colorado? Stassen can't win for losing with Fact Check.
And finally, the Big Lie about Hillary:
But what did Hillary actually say?
Where in the hell did Hillary get her facts wrong? What distortion?
Let's see what FactCheck missed in their reporting of the Guttmacher Institute's report. Hmmm, there would be that very large disclaimer, right there at the bottom of the press release: "Because these abortion estimates are not based on a comprehensive census, they are subject to some limitations and should be considered provisional." There would also be that little statement by the Institute's president, Sharon Camp: "It takes time for political decisions to be reflected in the statistical data, so it is too soon to tell what the impact of Bush administration policies will be on U.S. abortion rates." The Guttmacher Institute is a highly respected organization, for good reason. That FactCheck would use their analysis to try to buttress their claims, and leave out these key provisions, is certainly more telling about FactCheck than about Stassen and Clinton.
FactCheck's work, as it almost always is, is simply reflecting the same cherry-picking of data for which they criticize Stassen and Clinton. And what's worse, they use that data to lie about the statements Stassen and Clinton made. Keep that in mind the next time some Republican Winger cites "impartial" FactCheck. Like the GOP, FactCheck has no impunity in spewing whatever lie it takes to fit their agenda.
Update [2005-5-26 17:3:45 by mcjoan]:: Here's a very cynical update, in the guise of research. Will adding "abortion" to the title bring more readers? I'm curious, as this is the hot button issue of the week.