Susan Donaldson James of ABC News wrote in an article yesterday about remote access chemically induced abortion that:
“Although the numbers are declining, 1.2 million abortions were performed in the United States in 2005, the last year statistics are available, making it a one of the most common procedures undergone by women.”
While the abortion figure is basically accurate they falsely claim that 2005 is the last year statistics are available from.
The Alan Guttmacher Institute which surveys abortionists directly is widely thought to have the most accurate total and they report that:
“In 2008, 1.21 million abortions were performed”
Details matter and while the error does not significantly mislead readers, it does communicate to readers that more recent abortion statistics are not available — something which just isn’t true.
In the abortion debate, I can attest that even basic and well-established facts are often contested and this error by ABC News does not help. For example if I told someone an abortion rate statistic and said it was from 2008, they may respond that they read an ABC News piece saying that latest data is from 2005 and therefore my statistic is bogus. This is a practical example of the kind of confusion media outlets can cause if they are not careful. I hope ABC news promptly corrects this false statement.