Life Issues Institute Disputes Validity of Self-Induced Abortion Research

CINCINNATI, OH (Nov. 18, 2015) – On Nov. 14, the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) presented a research brief titled “Knowledge, opinion and experience related to abortion self-induction in Texas” at the North American Forum on Family Planning. The research claims to show that 100,000 to 240,000 women in Texas have tried to self-induce an abortion. Pro-abortion advocates have cited the study to bolster arguments against Texas HB 2, which was passed in 2013 and the US Supreme Court has agreed to review next year.

Life Issues Institute president Bradley Mattes responded to the presentation, taking issue with the research methods and conclusions. Life Issues Institute is an international pro-life educational organization.

“I question this research on multiple fronts,” said Mattes. “Most glaring is the researchers’ reliance on women’s speculation not only about whether their friends have self-aborted but also about whether someone else they know might have done so. Their responses led to the higher number the researchers announced: 240,000, representing 4.1 percent of Texas women. When the women were asked whether they themselves had self-induced an abortion, however, the results—1.7 percent—produced the lower number. Predictably, headlines already are reporting the speculative higher number.

“Forty-five percent of the women surveyed reported no problems accessing ‘reproductive health care.’ Clearly, legality and access played no part in their decision to self-induce an abortion.

“Additionally, the survey is based on responses from only 779 women ages 18 to 49 out of Texas’s population of nearly 6 million women of reproductive age. Further, some of the researchers represent organizations with a stated pro-abortion stance, hardly detached observers.”

Mattes also called out pro-abortion Texas representatives, who spoke about HB 2 while holding coat hangers, a symbol of abortion that relies on myth, not research. In fact, all women surveyed in another small TxPEP study used misoprostol, other medications or herbs to try to self-induce an abortion.

The text of Texas HB 2 is available here.

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