July 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The abortion lobby has the Guttmacher Institute, Ibis Reproductive Health, and the California-based Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health. The pro-life movement has the Reproductive Research Audit, Dr. Jacqueline C. Harvey's attempt to fact-check the statistical claims the Left makes in while advocating the adoption of pro-abortion legislation.
The studies these well-funded think tanks churn out “are released to coincide with bills that are being pressed to overturn pro-life laws [or] pass pro-abortion laws,” she said, and often consist more of massaged statistics in service of an agenda than dispassionate analysis guided by rigid academic standards.
Harvey, who earned her Ph.D. in public administration from the University of North Texas in 2012 and serves as an adjunct scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, pours over the abortion lobby's data to check for errors, misuse of data, or “invalid” conclusions.
Harvey told LifeSiteNews.com that she enjoys wading into the heat of battle. “If there's a study out that's being used to pass a bill, that's what I focus on,” she said.
Harvey stated that reports on topics such as telemed abortions or permitting non-physicians to perform certain kinds of abortion procedures are marked by by “glaring” factual errors.
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For instance, a study claiming that telemed abortions reduce complications contained data showing the process actually increased the likelihood of women being injured during the procedure.
Daniel Grossman's “Changes in Service Delivery Patterns After Introduction of Telemedicine Provision of Medical Abortion in Iowa,” claimed there were 25 fewer second trimester abortions due to medical (chemical) abortion, in which a woman takes an abortion-inducing drug, often prescribed by a doctor in a remote state. The bill's proponents stated that second trimester abortions carry greater risk, so reducing their incidence would be better for women's health.
But that ignores a vital finding: “The complications are greater for medical abortion than surgical,” Harvey told LifeSiteNews. These include incomplete abortion, the aborted child not being fully expelled from the mother's womb, or even “horrible birth defects” including “missing digits [and] webbed fingers.”
“I took the complication rate of the surgical, of the medical, and of second trimester abortions,”she said. With chemical abortions becoming more widespread, women started choosing the riskier version more often, she said.
“When you ran the numbers, you found that there's an 11 percent increase in the likelihood of women suffering from complications, even taking into consideration the 25 women who did not have abortions” at a later date. “It's an increased public health risk,” Harvey said.
The bill's proponents argue that “access is worth maiming twice as many women,” she said before asking, “Or is it a money making scheme?”
In other cases, Harvey properly reframes the narrative from pro-abortion talking points to ask potentially embarrassing questions.
A recent study proclaiming the safety of 15-year-old girls taking the Plan B “emergency contraception” pill. In addition to the fact that the pill has the potential to induce an abortion, its use abroad led to increased STD rates “There's been no change in teen pregnancy rates, but there have been changes in teen STD rates,” Harvey said. This is explained in part, because “most women using [Plan B] are using it after unprotected sex. So, it's not really Plan B; it's plan A.”
Nonetheless, the pro-abortion narrative embeds itself into public discourse through help from a biased media and the financial heft the other side brings to the table.
“Guttmacher has a $14 million a year budget,” she told LifeSiteNews.com “The reason why they can do this is because pro-abortion research is a sustainable revenue center.”
“It's market research. The goal of that” research, she explained, “is to get clients.”
No one, she said, goes into the pro-life movement for the money.
“Being pro-life is not a business,” Harvey told LifeSiteNews. “We don't make anything from this, which means we don't have money to research this” the way the abortion lobby does.
One of the greatest needs is to “recruit more statisticians into the movement,” she said. Dr. Michael New of the University of Michigan at Dearborn is one intellectual so abled.
But she has recently added prominent talent to the Reproductive Research Audit's roster. She announced the addition of C-FAM.org's Rebecca G. Oas, Ph.D., and stated that Karen Malec of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer link will soon join them.
There is no alternative for combating the abortion lobby's web of statistical deceits, which it weaves “specifically to promote their legislation,” she said. She – and she hopes, soon, others like her – must double-check the underlying data so that “we can walk up to the microphone behind them” with an unvarnished grasp of the facts.
The truth, she is convinced, will win out.