Last week, the Detroit News ran an article about abortion trends in the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan. It found that abortion numbers were increasing in Detroit while falling elsewhere in the state. In general, abortion trends tend to get very little coverage from the media. As such, it was heartening to see the paper cover this important topic.
That said the coverage was extremely biased. Twice the article mentioned that legal abortion is a “safe” procedure. In reality, there is a substantial body of public health research which shows that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer and a range of psychological problems, and, more important, that both late-term abortions and multiple abortions significantly increase the risk of these health problems.
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Additionally, everyone quoted in the article assumes that cuts in contraception programs have increased the abortion rate in Detroit and that contraception coverage through the Affordable Care Act will reduce the incidence of abortion. However, academic studies of free contraceptive programs in Britain, Scotland, and San Francisco found that these programs all had little impact on the incidence of abortion. Also, a study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center in 2011 found that increases in the price of oral contraceptives on college campuses resulted in less sexual activity and no significant change in the unintended pregnancy rate.
In reality, there are other factors that could be causing an increase in Detroit’s abortion rate. Some research shows that a slowing economy results in more abortions, and demographic shifts may be playing a role as well. Unfortunately, the Detroit News chose to focus on contraception instead of thoughtfully considering other factors that might be causing the unfortunate rise in abortions.
Reprinted with permission from National Review.