The Corner

Obama Administration Shamelessly Hides Abortion Data

The Obama administration has reportedly decided to start blocking the release of annual abortion statistics. Every year since 1969 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released abortion data through its annual “Abortion Surveillance Report.” However, in 2010 the “Abortion Surveillance Report” was not published, and according to a spokesman from the CDC, there are “no plans” for the data to be released at this time.

Pro-life activists have always been disappointed that the federal government does not have stronger reporting requirements for abortion statistics. The data from the CDC are far from perfect. Some states, most notably California, do not provide any data. Other states fail to provide complete information. That having been said, the CDC is the only source for annual abortion data from the United States.

Furthermore, the CDC provides the most detailed source of abortion data. Unlike the Guttmacher Institute, the CDC breaks down its abortion data by the age of the women seeking abortions (including minors), the type of abortion procedure used, the age of the unborn child, and the number of abortions the mother had previous to the current one. This data has been widely used by researchers on both sides of the abortion debate. Additionally, the annual report from the CDC has offered a consistent reminder about the prevalence of abortion in our society and provided evidence of the incremental progress the pro-life movement has made.

The Obama administration’s decision to stop publishing abortion statistics is nothing short of outrageous. This is especially true considering President Obama’s campaign rhetoric about openness and transparency. Even the pro-choice Clinton administration did not interfere with the annual release of abortion statistics by the CDC. Furthermore, the Obama administration’s motive is a bit puzzling. The CDC usually releases its annual abortion statistics in the fall with little fanfare and less media coverage. In fact, abortion statistics are quietly contained in a publication entitled Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which also contains data about other public-health issues facing the United States.

Perhaps the Obama administration is seeking to squelch evidence of the impact of health-care reform on the abortion rate. Perhaps, seeing the political momentum of pro-lifers, they do not want to be blamed if abortion numbers increase. Perhaps they want to reduce the amount of discussion on abortion trends in general. Regardless, research and human knowledge will not advance without access to reliable data. By blocking the release of abortion data, the Obama administration is doing a tremendous disservice to researchers, scholars, journalists, and the general public.

— Michael New is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama and a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J.

Michael J. New is a visiting assistant professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C.

Most Popular

Elections

Trouble in the Workers’ Paradise

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is precisely the sort of campaign surrogate you want, especially if you are Bernie Sanders: She is young, energetic, charismatic, popular (with the people she needs to be popular with, anyway), and, happily, currently ineligible to run for the presidency ... Read More
Elections

Trouble in the Workers’ Paradise

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is precisely the sort of campaign surrogate you want, especially if you are Bernie Sanders: She is young, energetic, charismatic, popular (with the people she needs to be popular with, anyway), and, happily, currently ineligible to run for the presidency ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Bill Barr Derangement Syndrome

Can the republic survive Attorney General William Barr? That’s the question that has seized the media and center-left, which have worked themselves into a full-blown panic over an attorney general who is, inarguably, a serious legal figure and one of the adults in the room late in President Trump’s first ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Bill Barr Derangement Syndrome

Can the republic survive Attorney General William Barr? That’s the question that has seized the media and center-left, which have worked themselves into a full-blown panic over an attorney general who is, inarguably, a serious legal figure and one of the adults in the room late in President Trump’s first ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Roger Stone Double Standard

Whether Roger Stone, the loopy, self-aggrandizing political operative, deserves nine years in Supermax for obstructing an investigation into Russia–Donald Trump “collusion” is debatable. Whether the powerful men who helped create the investigation that ensnared Stone have been allowed to lie with impunity ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Roger Stone Double Standard

Whether Roger Stone, the loopy, self-aggrandizing political operative, deserves nine years in Supermax for obstructing an investigation into Russia–Donald Trump “collusion” is debatable. Whether the powerful men who helped create the investigation that ensnared Stone have been allowed to lie with impunity ... Read More
Elections

RIP Bloomberg 2020

I thought that Bloomberg’s confused half-defense of stop-and-frisk was going to be his low point. Well. His torturous response on his lawsuits and NDAs was truly awful -- beyond incompetent. I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the end of Bloomberg 2020. Read More
Elections

RIP Bloomberg 2020

I thought that Bloomberg’s confused half-defense of stop-and-frisk was going to be his low point. Well. His torturous response on his lawsuits and NDAs was truly awful -- beyond incompetent. I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the end of Bloomberg 2020. Read More