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WaPo Factchecker gives latest pro-abortion assertion “Four Pinocchios” for telling whoppers

by | Oct 25, 2016

By Dave Andrusko

4PinocchiosYou may remember that last October we posted on a verdict by Washington Post FactChecker Michelle Ye Hee Lee to give “Two Pinocchios” to the assertion that “one in three’ women will have an abortion by age 45.” Two Pinocchios” in the Post’s rating system means the claim involves “significant omissions and/or exaggerations.”

Well, pro-abortionists are back at it again, once more proving that truth is not only always the first casualty in pro-abortion propaganda, but that they will double down by extending the misrepresentation.

This time Ye Hee Lee doles out “Four Pinocchios” to a letter from NARAL Pro-Choice America that flatly states, “One in three women in this country has had an abortion.”

Notice the difference: not will have an abortion by age 45 but “has had an abortion.” Thus the FactChecker’s’s Four Pinocchios designation–whose one-word summary is “whoppers.”

Actually the damage is far worse than a letter from a cohort of pro-abortion organizations. As the Post points out (and we wrote about extensively at the time), NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue repeated that bogus statistic during her speech at the Democratic National Convention.

The Post gives us the context.In a September 26 letter, NARAL and five other pro-abortion organizations attempted to egg moderator Lester Holt on to ask about abortion in the first presidential debate. In the letter was the Four Pinocchios assertion.

So where does the “1 in 3” statistic come from? As NRLC’s Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon has demonstrated (and the Post confirmed), it is an extension into the future from a 2008 study by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute.

To make a very long story short, the 1 in 3 is based on the 2008 abortion rate which Guttmacher simply projected into the future. However, “The Guttmacher Institute usually adds the caveat that the figure is based on the 2008 abortion rate, and we have urged advocates and politicians to do the same.”

The Post writes

“But the claim in the letter did not contain any caveat. Instead, it said one in three women (no age specification) has already had an abortion.”

(Guttmacher’s updated survey data will, we are told, come in the next year.)

But you don’t have to be pro-life to ask the obvious question: if the abortion rate has been coming down since 2008, isn’t it readily apparent that you cannot state as if it were fact that {roughly} 1 in 3 (30%) women have had an abortion?

Not to NARAL spokeswoman Kaylie Hanson Long, who told the Post. “Without new data, we have to presume rates have stayed constant. We wish this specific kind of data could be released more frequently, but until that’s the case, we will use this data.”

Not surprisingly, Long then switched gears–away from the accuracy of the 1in 3 assertion to “the broader point made in the letter”—that “abortion is a common medical procedure under attack by anti-choice politicians.”

Michelle Ye Hee Lee concludes

According to the letter penned by abortion advocates, one in three women have had an abortion. This is an inaccurate reference to research relying on data nearly a decade old.

The Guttmacher Institute’s 2011 report found that one in three women will have an abortion by age 45, if 2008 abortion rates prevailed. Until the study of the 2014 data is complete, we will not know whether this rate has remained constant.

The Guttmacher Institute usually adds the caveat that the figure is based on the 2008 abortion rate, and we have urged advocates and politicians do the same. In this case, the statistic was simplified way too much — that one in three women (with no age specification) have had (not “will have by age 45”) an abortion. This statistic is unsupported by facts and earns Four Pinocchios.

Categories: Abortion