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NY Times Editorial Page Editor convinces himself abortion is “rare”

by | Feb 7, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of the New York Times

I ended Part Three of the series catching us up on PPFA’s vituperative full-court press against Komen for the Cure by mentioning an important silver lining: whatever else people came away, many will have learned for the first time that Planned Parenthood is in the abortion industry.

What they won’t learn—except in places like NRL News Today—is that they are up to their armpits in the business of killing unborn babies.

But another byproduct is that many abortion advocates lay plain the depth (or lack thereof) of their understanding of any dimension of abortion and why it remains the most divisive issue of our day. Take Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor of the New York Times, and a follow up piece to his Friday column on Komen and Planned Parenthood that ran today.

In Friday’s column he wrote that “abortion is safe, legal and rare,” recycling the famous wholly-misleading formulation of pro-abortion President Bill Clinton. That generated a lot of response from “readers from both sides of the debate disagreeing with me and maintaining that abortion is actually fairly common.” Rosenthal uses today’s column to take a second whack.

Let me state my conclusion first: it is almost impossible to believe that anyone who graduated from grammar school could reason this poorly (“Is abortion rare?” at http://loyalopposition.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/is-abortion-rare). Stay with me on this. Rosenthal runs down many a rabbit trail, concluding that abortion IS rare, from a certain [warped] perspective, although in the end he actually concludes that “the numbers don’t really matter.”

Let me start with the comparison between 1.2 million abortions and this: “U.S. hospitals perform about 1.9 million blood transfusions, 1.7 million cardiac catheterizations, and 1.2 million upper gastrointestinal endoscopies each year,” Rosenthal writes. “Are upper gastrointestinal endoscopies common, or rare?”

Think about that one for a second: He is playing games, comparing standard, non-lethal, therapeutic medical procedures with the elective, unnecessary, violent destruction of 1.2 million lives a year. But I’m sure Rosenthal would pat me on the head, cluck his tongue, and condescendingly explain to me that my reaction to this comparison is because I am a “right winger” who is unable to look “dispassionately” at abortion. (He has no qualms about labeling—and libeling—those who disagree with him.)

But as a colleague said to me, “If there were a drug or medical procedure killing 1.2 million Americans a year that wasn’t abortion, you can bet the media would be hot on the trail of the pharmaceutical producer, the medical device maker, or the medical quacks promoting and performing the lethal procedure.”

There’s lots of other nonsense but let’s focus on what Rosenthal describes as “the statistic that caught my eye, and led me to call abortion ‘rare’”: “In a given year, 2 percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 have an abortion.” What’s that mean? That “98 percent of them do not.”

WHAT do you say to that? If 2% of American public committed suicide (instead of under 35,000), would Rosenthal blithefully, cavalierly, dismissively label that ‘rare’? No, he’d be writing searing editorials about a suicide “epidemic.”

But, as I mentioned above, Rosenthal concludes, “It’s relative, but the numbers don’t really matter.” Huh?

“If the right-wing manages to outlaw abortion, the abortion rate will not go down,” Rosenthal asserts.”It was about the same before the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that recognized a woman’s right to privacy, as it was in 2008. But abortions will become more dangerous. According to some estimates fifty percent of the maternal deaths in the first half of the 20th century were due to illegal abortions.”

Where to begin? Even the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute concedes that abortions go up when they are legalized; they argue the numbers eventually stabilize. And the 50% of maternal death figure, where does he get that from? From NOW, that well-known fount of objective medical data.

Those kinds of numbers were simple made up out of whole cloth, as Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a co-founder of NARAL, made clear in his classic book, “Aborting America.”

On many occasions, Nathanson (who later became a pro-life champion) wrote, “We spoke of 5,000 – 10,000 deaths a year…. I confess that I knew the figures were totally false … it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics?”

Wouldn’t it be nice if those, like Rosenthal, who write from such influential perches could at least make a passing nod toward objectivity?

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Categories: Abortion