Kirsten Andersen


Is that new abortion study biased? You bet. But don’t expect the media to tell you that.

Kirsten Andersen

November 21, 2012 ( - Meet Tracy Weitz, Ph.D.  Dr. Weitz describes herself as “a lifetime advocate of women’s health and reproductive rights.” She calls her work expanding access to abortion her “first love” and describes abortion as “a moral action undertaken by moral agents.”

Recently, Weitz called ‘beautiful’ an Indian doctor’s defense of abortion, in which he said, “anything 46 million women do every year can’t be immoral.”

Said Weitz of the man with the tortured logic: “How beautiful was his deep respect for women.”

Obviously, Weitz is a real piece of work.  But why is she relevant?  Why write about her now? 

Well, Weitz is the head of ANSIRH (Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health), a research group based at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).  Their latest study was all over the news last week as mainstream outlets trumpeted their incredible “findings”: according to ANSIRH, wanting an abortion and not getting one could leave you poor and on welfare, but getting an abortion has no negative effects at all. 

How convenient.

The ANSIRH “Turnaway Study” is being promoted as a serious scientific study, the first of its kind to explore the effects of abortion restrictions on women’s well-being. The study, which began in 2008, followed just under 1000 U.S. women who sought abortions, including 182 who were turned away from abortion clinics due to being too far along in their pregnancies.  The women were interviewed every six months following their abortion or abortion attempt regarding their financial and emotional status.  They were rewarded with gift cards to Target and Walmart for their participation. 

ANSIRH compared the “turnaways” with women who were able to obtain abortions and reportedly found that those who carried their babies to term were more likely to be dependent on government aid a year later.  They also claim to have found no negative impact on the emotional state of those who aborted their babies, saying that even those who felt sad or guilty were still relieved.

While the media have credulously parroted the group’s findings, there’s just one small problem: No one has actually seen the study. It’s not publicly available.  The group presented their findings at an academic conference earlier this month, but their research hasn’t been published in any journal and hasn’t been peer-reviewed.

Even though I haven’t seen the study (because no one has been allowed to) I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that it just might be biased.  Here is an excerpt from ANSIRH director Tracy Weitz’s bio, taken directly from ANSIRH’s website: “Tracy Weitz is a lifetime advocate of women’s health and reproductive rights. Dr. Weitz’s passion is for those aspects of women’s health that are marginalized either for ideological reasons or because the populations affected lack the means or mechanisms to have their concerns raised. Dr. Weitz’s current research focuses on innovative strategies to expand abortion provision in the U.S.”

Did you get that?  Dr. Weitz’s current research (i.e. the “Turnaway Study”) focuses on innovative strategies to expand abortion provision.  She’s not interested in the truth about what happens to women who abort their babies.  She’s not interested in the truth at all.  She’s interested in expanding access to abortion – that’s her “first love,” after all. 

All of this information is easily available on her group’s own website, but the mainstream media continues to frame this study as objective science, not the pro-abortion propaganda that it obviously is.

Now, ANSIRH wants to do another “Turnaway Study,” this one global in scope.  Shockingly, the research community has been slow to shower these quality scientists with traditional grants, so ANSIRH has gone indie.  Last week’s media blitz coincided with the launch of a crowdfunding drive to finance the global study on indiegogo, a site better known for financing vanity film projects and a lifetime vacation for the lady in the Youtube “bus monitor” video than serious science. So far, they have raised $7,809 toward a $25,000 goal to get them started.

I’m going to make a bold prediction:  If Weitz and her cohorts can raise the funds needed, The Global Turnaway Study will reveal that abortion does nothing but good in the world, and that restricting the procedure ruins women’s lives.  I predict that the media will loudly proclaim those results as if they are the truth.

All of this will contradict the real scientific studies done worldwide on the issue, studies like the one in Finland that determined that the suicide rate among post-abortive women was three times higher than the average for all women.  (Meanwhile, the suicide rate associated with birth was half the rate of all women and less than one-sixth the rate of suicide among women who had abortions.)  Or the study of low-income California women that showed that women who aborted had significantly higher rates of depression compared with those who carried their unintended pregnancies to term.  That study found that within the first 90 days after an abortion, women were 2.6 times more likely to require inpatient psychiatric treatment than women who did not abort.  The increased risk of serious psychiatric problems decreased slowly over time, but even after four years, those who aborted were 50 percent more likely to experience psychiatric problems requiring hospitalization.
These are the facts about abortion.  This is what it does to women.  But Dr. Weitz and ANSIRH aren’t focused on the facts.  They’re focused on expanding access to abortion. 

Since the real facts are bad for their narrative, they’re going to have to fabricate some new ones.

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