Prosecute the torture.

April 4, 2011

Fact Checking Rick Santorum

Lil Ricky's at it again:
A third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion, because one in three pregnancies end in abortion.
And both major fact-checking sites call this one false. Both.

First factcheck.org:
Rick Santorum incorrectly stated that “one in three pregnancies end in abortion” in the United States. It’s actually fewer than one in four.

Santorum appeared on a New Hampshire radio talk show, blaming abortions for “causing Social Security and Medicare to be underfunded.” But he not only misstated the abortion statistic, he also got it wrong when he said that "our birthrate is now below replacement rate for the first time in our history." The total fertility rate, not the birthrate, is used to determine the stability of a nation’s population, and the U.S. total fertility rate was below its replacement rate from 1972 to 2006. Finally, Santorum also misrepresented France as lagging far behind its replacement rate.
If Rick's ever going to be take seriously (yea, I know - that's a giggle!) he's going to have to get the numbers right. And now I'd like to introduce Rick to something he may never have met. The facts:
In a March 2011 report, the nonpartisan Guttmacher Institute reported that there were 22.4 abortions for every 100 pregnancies in 2008, excluding miscarriages. (The chart can be found in Table 1 on page 3.) The 2008 data is the most recent available, according to Guttmacher spokeswoman Rebecca Wind. The institute’s chart goes back to 1973, and the abortion ratio never reached 33 per 100 pregnancies. Its peak was 30.4 in 1983.
So the highest rate was during Ronald Reagan's first administration?

I wonder how they're gonna blame that on Bill Clinton's penis.

But I digress.

Politifact, on the other hand, went straight to the CDC's numbers:
We chose 2003 as our representative year, since it was the most recent year for which we were able to obtain all of the relevant data.

We set out to determine the number of known pregnancies in 2003. We say "known" because some pregnancies end due to natural causes at a very early stage, often before the woman even realizes she is pregnant. CDC only offers statistics for fetal deaths beginning at a fetal age of 20 weeks, so that’s the parameter we’ll use in our calculations.

To calculate the number of known pregnancies, we added together three figures: the number of live births, the number of fetal deaths (these include natural miscarriages and stillbirths), and the number of abortions. Here’s the data for 2003:

Live births: 4,090,007
Fetal deaths: 25,653
Abortions: 1,250,000

Total known pregnancies: 5,365,660

So abortions account for 23.2 percent of all known pregnancies. That’s less than a quarter of all pregnancies, rather than the one-third Santorum said.
And Rick has another flaw in his "logic" (see what I mean about those irony quotes?). Politifact:
A 2005 Guttmacher study of more than 1,200 women who had undergone an abortion found that a little under half cited the desire not to have additional children as a reason for having their abortion. This means that a substantial minority -- and possibly as many as 53 percent -- expected to have children after the abortion. This pattern was particularly strong among younger women in the study (less than a quarter of those 19 or younger said they were done with childbearing) and among those who had no children at the time of the abortion (only 3 percent said they were done with childbearing).
From an email quoted by factcheck.org, Guttmacher spokesperson Rebecca Wind:
The group of women most likely to have an abortion are in their early 20s. They may already have one child and don’t want another at that time, or they may be childless but desire to have children in the future. Either way, the abortion postpones the birth of their child, it does not eliminate it — and there is no impact on the overall population. Some abortions actually terminate pregnancies that would have ended in miscarriage, so again you can’t assume that every abortion would have otherwise resulted in a live birth.
But let's remember that Rick's a big fan of Intelligent Design - so science and logic are probably not among his intellectual strengths.

6 comments:

Heir to the Throne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heir to the Throne said...

Maybe Rick Santorum is using Howard Dean's claim that abortion have gone up 25% under George W. Bush to get his numbers.

Joe Sestak repeated this bogus Feminist Rape Claim during his debate.
"1.5 woman out of 5 in the first year on a campus will have rape attempted against them or actually been raped."

Why no Factcheck on that?

Olga said...

What the heck!! How could you be so ridiculous as to say that anyone who believes in Intelligent Design lacks logic or scientific knowledge??? This is COMPLETELY inconsistent. You may need to do a little more research. And anyway- being the anti-life blogger that you are, why do you even care about abortion rates in the first place?

EdHeath said...

Well, HTTT, this federal study suggests one in ten female college students might well either be raped or have rape attempted against them in their four years of undergraduate education. And attitudes like yours will discourage them from reporting it or seek counseling.

I have no idea why Factcheck.org didn't look at Sestak's rape statistics. Why don't you ask them (instead of asking Dayvoe, who has nothing to do with the operation of Factcheck.org).

And I guess once again you are saying that no one can question Rick Santorum if any liberal ever exaggerated in the past. And the tens of thousands of rapes in the US that occur annually are all faked, according to conservatives such as yourself.

Mike said...

I am surprised that it is just under 25%. That even seems high.

At the end of the post is the comment "Some abortions actually terminate pregnancies that would have ended in miscarriage, so again you can’t assume that every abortion would have otherwise resulted in a live birth".

I have known women who have had to cross state lines to terminate a pregnancy when carrying a non-viable fetus. It was gut wrenching to see. These so-called pro-life people would rather put these women through the hell of having to carry these fetuses for months knowing that they will die in the end.

What are the statistics when you throw these out along with other medical reasons and pregnancies caused by rape and incest and are left only with abortions by choice?

Dayvoe said...

Olga;

No matter how you slice it, it's still not science. Once you've introduced an "Intelligent Designer" into the discussion, you've effectively ended any scientific discussion.

Who is this designer? Where is this designer? What criteria did this designer have for the design?

You've effectively also jettisoned Occam's razor and used one set of mysteries to explain another.

As interesting or as comforting as it is, science it ain't.