Did Guttmacher fudge numbers to protect Planned Parenthood?
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-life numbers-cruncher claims that the Guttmacher Institute is fudging abortion data to conceal Planned Parenthood’s complicity in a sudden surge in abortion numbers among poor, Black American women in the mid-1990s.
At the heart of the claim is a table which Guttmacher once provided showing how unintended pregnancies for all income groups fell from 1987 to 1994 then rose sharply, before tailing off in the following decade. But in recent tables tracking pregnancies by income group the 1994 data set has disappeared and with it the sharp and inexplicable increase that followed.
Willis Krumholz, who works in the financial services industry in Minneapolis, whence he regularly contributes to the Washington D.C.-based Federalist web magazine, thinks he has an explanation: the Guttmacher Institute, which is America’s principal source of data on abortions even though it was created by Planned Parenthood, the country’s leading doer of abortions, removed the data to cover up Planned Parenthood’s role in the increase in unintended pregnancies.
As Krumholz argued on The Federalist last week, “At worst, this is Guttmacher trying to cover for PPFA, whose ascendancy corresponded with worse outcomes for the women it claims to serve.” According to Krumholz’s narrative, when the Supreme Court’s Planned Parenthood vs Casey decision came down in 1992, it allowed state governments to put operating restrictions on abortion clinics, thus raising their costs and driving many out of business. Planned Parenthood, because its basic costs were covered by Medicaid and Title X grants, emerged as the leading abortion provider.
It did so, claims Krumholz, though he has no smoking gun in terms of internal PP documentation to prove it, by reducing its provision of contraception to its primary market—poor, urban, Black women—because contraceptives brought in only marginal profits at best. But reducing contraceptives meant there was an upsurge in unintended pregnancies—which was what the now-purged graph showed, leading in turn to more abortions.
Why were abortions more profitable? PP was restrained by the federal funding involved from charging high prices for contraception, but because abortions were paid for by the women out of pocket, and because it has few competitors in inner cities it was free to charge a very profitable rate.
Krumholz had already argued this complex scenario on The Federalist last June. Now he was bolstering his argument with the implied cover up by Guttmacher, which he refers to as “Planned Parenthood’s research arm,” although it has long claimed to be independent (while taking positions entirely aligned to PP’s).
According to Krumholz, Planned Parenthood has increased its market share as far as abortions go, as well as its revenues, by moving into or near concentrations of urban poverty, where it has become the primary provider of health care to poor Black women.
Now Guttmacher’s tables reflect none of this. Instead they show a steady, slightly rising incidence of unintended pregnancies among the poor from 1987 to 2008.
Guttmacher has rebutted. According to Jeorg Dreweke, the Guttmacher’s senior policy communications associate, the removal of 1994 data is all the fault of the people over at the Centers for Disease Control who produce the National Survey of Family Growth, which was the Guttmacher’s source.
“Since our last update of national unintended pregnancy data,” Dreweke told LifeSiteNews, “we became aware that the NSFG believes the 1994 data on pregnancy intendedness (based on 1995 surveys) are unreliable.” The NSFG, in its 2012 edition of Intended and Unintended Births (1982-2010), attributes its unreliable 1994-1995 data to “methodological reasons.”
“In other words,” explains Dreweke, “the 1994 unintended pregnancy data in our chart were artificially low, according to NSFG. That’s why we omitted this data point in our most recent analysis.” The NSFG report speculates that a “programming error” resulted in some women not getting “one of the survey questions” and that “it is possible” that this led to the 1994-95 results being skewed.
But the NSFG’s own explanation is “extremely vague,” according to one researcher who relies heavily on government data to measure human behavior. Speaking anonymously, he told LifeSiteNews, “My smell test tells me that this case is very fishy...If it was just a programming error, then why not fix it and arrive at the new numbers?”
The same researcher added that his experience trying to duplicate studies which drew ideological conclusions, and failing, has made him “highly skeptical of any data claim that has political ramifications”--such as the those of NSFG/Guttmacher. Invariably in such cases, the original study was shaped to reach the desired conclusions.
“The explanations provided are no explanations at all,” he said. “And to the extent they are an explanation, they do not provide an excuse for not correcting the error.”
Just how ‘independent’ IS The Guttmacher Institute from Planned Parenthood?
Guttmacher: Only those who approve of abortion should monitor it
Lies, damned lies and statistics from the Alan Guttmacher Institute