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Key Pro-Abortion Study Is Refuted

Legal abortion was built on outright lies, half-truths and sloppy assumptions.

And then there’s this: “Pro-life legislation kills women.”

A key study alleged to support this reprehensible claim has just been shown to be highly flawed, contain major errors and come to conclusions its findings do not support.

The lead author of the study in question is Marian MacDorman of the Maryland Population Research Center. The MPRC has an extreme bias in support of abortion. It opposes bans on sex-selection abortion and instead espouses “mass messaging” and other measures to deal with severe gender inequities.

The MacDorman study focused on maternal mortality rates in the state of Texas. It found dramatic increases in pregnancy-related deaths from 2010 to 2012 after relatively stable numbers in the ten years prior. Coincidentally, this sharp increase followed the closing of several abortion facilities in response to pro-life legislation, which required these facilities to meet ambulatory surgical standards and allowed their abortionists to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

The media, along with Planned Parenthood and its allies such as then-Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, used the study as conclusive proof that the Texas legislature was killing women. It has been cited more than 300 times by news sources and approximately 70 scholarly research articles.

Dr. James Studnicki

Drs. James Studnicki and John Fisher, scholars with the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, have published an editorial in the medical journal Obstetrics & Gynecology recommending the study be formally corrected due to errors in methodology and data reporting.

They found that the MacDorman study did not evenly apply a correction formula to the Center for Disease Control data it used. This masked an increase in maternal mortality rates in Texas between 2004 and 2006. MacDorman’s numbers showed a 16.5% decrease in maternal mortality rates during those years but more accurate numbers show a 73% increase. As Drs. Studnicki and Fisher state, “Both the size and the suddenness of the 2010-2012 increases are artifactual.”

The new research also refutes comparisons the MacDorman study made between Texas and California.

Accurate data shows that California, which has liberal abortion laws, had a staggering maternal death rate increase of 142% between 2007 and 2008, which is more than twice “the percentage of any single-year increase in Texas during the study period (2000-2014).” So much for the abortion industry’s claim that pro-life laws hurt women.

In fact, Drs. Studnicki and Fisher found that the late maternal mortality rate in California from 2004-2014 “was typically twice the national average.” And from 2012 to 2014, the rate in California “was 4-5 times higher than in Texas.” Such high late maternal mortality numbers caused Drs. Studnicki and Fisher to conclude that these discrepancies in data beg “for either a data-reporting or clinical explanation, or both.”

This new analysis effectively undermines the pro-abortion argument that closing abortion facilities in Texas led to higher maternal mortality rates. Drs. Studnicki and Fisher write that “no such cause and effect has ever been demonstrated,” and the MacDorman study does not provide evidence “to suggest that relationship.”

The damage caused by flawed studies such as the MacDorman article is incalculable. Fortunately, scholars such as Drs. Studnicki and Fisher and organizations like the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Life Issues Institute are working together to provide Americans with reliable science the abortion industry doesn’t want you to know.

Sarah Stevens

Please read one of my past commentaries on maternal mortality and see how the abortion industry blurs fact and fiction. Also, please watch a two-part episode of Facing Life Head-On (click here and here) that tells the story of Sarah Stevens, who found out suddenly she was expecting quadruplets. This episode demonstrates how proper pregnancy care can help lessen maternal mortality rates and allow mothers to deliver healthy babies.

Pro-life education based on rigorous scientific conclusions and backed by solid data is key in overturning Roe v. Wade and enabling life to triumph once again in America.

For mothers and their babies,

Yours for life,

Bradley Mattes
President, Life Issues Institute

Life Issues Institute is dedicated to changing hearts and minds of millions of people through education. For 25 years, organizations and individuals around the world have depended upon Life Issues Institute to provide the latest information and effective tools to protect innocent human life from womb to tomb.

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