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

Sports

The Kaepernick Saga Drags On . . . off the Field

Colin Kaepernick’s workout for NFL teams in Atlanta this weekend did not run smoothly. The league announced an invitation to scouts from every team to watch Kaepernick work out and demonstrate that he was still ready to play. (As noted last week, the workout is oddly timed; the NFL season is just a bit past its ... Read More
Economy & Business

Who Owns FedEx?

You may have seen (or heard on a podcast) that Fred Smith so vehemently objects to the New York Times report contending that FedEx paid nothing in federal taxes that he's challenged New York Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger to a public debate and pointed out that "the New York Times paid zero federal income tax ... Read More
World

Israel’s New Way of War

Commuters on Route 4, driving toward the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod on November 12, were shocked by an explosion, a rocket impact next to a major intersection. Had it fallen on a car or one of the many trucks plying the route, there would have been deaths, and the road would have been closed. Instead, police ... Read More