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(LifeSiteNews) — As abortion activists prepare for the next round of state-level battles, the propaganda war has been heating up as well. The mainstream press is publishing a rolling barrage of abortion stories oriented towards portraying pro-life laws as cruel and damaging to women. Last March, The Babylon Bee published a satirical headline: “DISGUSTING: Here Are 10 Pictures Of Cute Babies That Have Been Born Since The Texas Abortion Ban.” Earlier this month, ProPublica, a pro-abortion outlet, essentially ran that actual story.

Last month, the journal JAMA Internal Medicine got in on the game, publishing a study that claimed that since Roe v. Wade was overturned, 519,981 rapes were perpetrated in states with pro-life laws, resulting in 64,565 children being born. This story made headlines everywhere as evidence of the cruelty of pro-life states, with the obvious implication being that if abortion had been more available, these 64,565 babies could have been aborted.

But as is so often the case, the facts don’t line up with this study’s claims. Dr. Michael New, a pro-life statistician whose expertise I’ve used many times on my LSN podcast, shredded the study in a short article for National Review Online. “To call those figures an exaggeration would be an understatement,” New states. “The article is frankly one of the worst and most misleading pieces of advocacy research that I have ever encountered in my years as a social scientist. Furthermore, the fact that this article appeared in a prestigious peer-reviewed journal grants it legitimacy and credibility that it absolutely does not deserve.”

New notes that the methodology of the authors is particularly shoddy. The authors, New writes, “claim that approximately 12.5 percent of rapes result in a conception. That is an exceptionally high figure. The results of a survey of over 4,000 women that was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1996 puts that figure at closer to 5 percent. Furthermore, the 5 percent figure cited in this 1996 journal article is probably high because several survey respondents reported being raped more than once.” New continues:

Second, there are extremely wide disparities in reported rape statistics. The authors use data from the CDC’s 2016–17 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, which estimated that over 1.4 million women were the victims of a completed forcible rape during a twelve-month period. That is over four times higher than the estimates provided by the Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey and over ten times higher than FBI data on the number of rapes reported to law enforcement. Furthermore, the CDC data have been criticized for significantly overestimating the incidence of rape. Fair-minded researchers would have at least acknowledged these disparities. However, the authors of the JAMA Internal Medicine article simply assume that the much higher CDC estimates are the most accurate… if one extrapolates the authors’ calculations to the entire country, there would have been about 178,000 children conceived in rape in 2017. If half of the rape victims decided to obtain abortions, that means that approximately 10 percent of all abortions were performed on rape victims. However, multiple Guttmacher surveys find that only 1 percent of women seeking abortions cite being a rape victim as a reason for obtaining an abortion. This clearly shows how exaggerated these estimates really are.

Unsurprisingly, it turns out that the authors of these claims are, in fact, abortion activists. The lead author Samuel Dickman, New points out, is the medical director of Planned Parenthood of Montana; the other author, Kari White, is the executive and scientific director of Resound Research for Reproductive Health, another pro-abortion outfit. Unsurprisingly, the media outlets that leapt to publicize the claims of this sham study were not interested in sharing that important context with their readers or viewers. Activist journalists are using activist research to reshape the public consensus on abortion and pass state-level amendments to promote abortion – and prestigious journals are helping them do it.

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.