Pro-lifers skeptical as new study claims to prove abortion on the rise — By: Catholic News Agency

null / Credit: Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Mar 1, 2024 / 16:30 pm (CNA).

A pro-abortion group has released a new study in which it claims the monthly abortion rate has remained at the same level or even increased since the Supreme Court’s 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Officials with two national pro-life groups, meanwhile, are casting doubt on the abortion group’s numbers and arguing that pro-life laws passed since Roe’s overturn have been effective at saving unborn lives.

What did the study say?

The Society of Family Planning’s report said that rather than declining after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision overturned Roe, the number of monthly abortions between July and September 2023 “remains similar if not higher” than in the same period pre-Dobbs.

Additionally, the report claimed that abortion volumes have “been consistent with expected month-to-month variation in the average monthly number of abortions” since April 2022, two months before the Dobbs decision. 

This, they said, was due to a sharp rise in chemical abortions as well as an increase in the number of women traveling out of states with pro-life laws to obtain abortions.

The report also found that nearly 1 in 6 (16%) of all U.S. abortions are committed via telehealth medication (also called chemical abortion).

Overall, the Society of Family Planning said the three most recent months of data collection from abortionists show between 81,150 and 88,620 abortions per month.

Are the abortion group’s numbers accurate? 

Kristi Hamrick, a representative for Students for Life of America, disputed the abortion group’s numbers, telling CNA that they were “unreliable” and based on “speculative data.”

Hamrick said that because there is currently no national abortion reporting law, it is very difficult to obtain accurate abortion numbers in the U.S.

Referencing a 2023 study by the Institute of Labor Economics that found 32,000 more babies were born in states with pro-life laws post-Roe, Hamrick said “we know” that “more children were born in states that had abortion-limiting laws post-Dobbs.”

“That’s a real number,” she said. “All the numbers from the abortion side are at best speculation.”

What about the rise in chemical abortions? 

Despite her skepticism toward the Society of Family Planning’s numbers, Hamrick said she is “very concerned” about the increase in chemical abortions, especially those done with little to no medical supervision.

Since the Biden administration has loosened restrictions on chemical abortion in the last few years, it is widely believed to account for as much as half of all U.S. abortions.

Hamrick said that whether the numbers are accurate or not the “real headline” should be that “the abortion industry is willing to risk women’s lives in 1 in 6 abortions.”

Without tests or doctor examinations, she said that abortion pills distributed online expose women to “injury, infertility, death, and abusers.”

Are pro-life laws effective?

Tessa Longbons, a senior research associate with the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, told CNA that “this report does not indicate that pro-life laws are ineffective and that babies have not been saved from abortion.”

She said that though “it’s difficult to get a firm grasp on abortion numbers,” abortions in the U.S. “had been increasing rapidly prior to Dobbs.”  

“We don’t know what the national total would have been without the Dobbs decision,” Longbons said. “However, available research shows that pro-life laws have been saving babies.”

She referenced the Society of Family Planning report to say that states with pro-life laws have seen abortions “drop by over 120,000 post-Roe,” with the largest decline being in Texas at 46,000 fewer abortions and then in Georgia at 25,000 fewer. 

“I believe it’s important to not forget the major gains the pro-life movement [made] following the Dobbs decision,” Longbons said. “Under Roe, the pro-life movement didn’t even have a seat at the table to advocate for the unborn. Now, we can celebrate the fact that 24 states have put pro-life protections in place.” 

She added that “while passing lifesaving laws is crucial, the pro-life movement has never been solely focused on legislation.” 

“There are over 2,700 pregnancy centers around the country that work to support women and families and save unborn babies from abortion,” she said. “These centers provided over $350 million worth of goods and services in 2022 alone, and research indicates they saved over 800,000 lives between 2016 and 2020.” 

The Society of Family Planning did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the criticisms of its study.

Read More