Bunk study fails to prove that Texas Pro-Life laws have led to self-induced abortion crisis

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Once again, the abortion industry has resorted to fabricating information to support their anti-Life agenda.  A new “study” (we’re using that term very loosely) released by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) purports that up to a quarter-million Texas women have attempted to self-induce elective abortions at some point, and then reaches further to argue that Pro-Life laws enacted in the 82nd (2011) and 83rd (2013) Texas legislative sessions have created an atmosphere that leads more women than ever to utilize this method.  The research, says the University of Texas, purports to have found “at least 100,000 Texas women ages 18 to 49” who have attempted to self-induce an abortion on their own, and vaguely posits that research from the same organization “suggests self-induction may be more common in Texas compared to other states.”

UT fittingly calls TxPEP’s research “first-of-its-kind” – accurate because the study doesn’t adhere to established research principles at all.  The numbers were calculated by a cohort of abortion advocates from Texas, California, and Alabama.  Their conclusion is a transparent and timely attempt to lend credence to the notion that Pro-Life laws place an “undue burden” on abortion-determined pregnant women, driving them to drastic measures by making abortion unattainable.  This is the exact argument anti-Life legal groups are using to undercut provisions of House Bill 2 before the Supreme Court of the United States.  Coincidence?  We think not.  

The study’s method is riddled with holes and concludes with non sequiturs of epic proportions.  “[W]e carried out a survey of a statewide representative sample of women between the ages of 18 and 49,” says the brief.  Data collected was then applied to four questions: 1. “How many women in Texas have tried to end a pregnancy on their own?”  2. “In which populations in Texas is abortion self-induction more common?”  3. “Which methods of abortion self-induction have Texas women heard of?”  4. “What do women think about abortion self-induction?”

To decipher how many women in Texas have tried to self-induce abortions, researchers asked respondents whether they thought their best friend had ever attempted to self-induce a pregnancy without medical assistance.  Then they proceeded to ask whether the respondent herself had ever self-induced an abortion.  Both the study’s method and conclusion here are faulty.  Asking about a woman’s best friend constitutes hearsay, which is unbelievably poor form for a professional survey, and would never be admissible in a court of law. 

Based on respondents’ answers to the two questions (the hearsay question and about her own experience with self-induced abortion), the study concludes that 1.7% of respondents overall reported having self-induced an abortion.  This is not outside of the national average, which TxPEP asserts is “less than 2%.”  But to reach their golden quarter-million number, researchers decided that 1.7% would constitute the “low estimate,” with the “high estimate” determined to be a whopping 4.1% of adult women. 

The study’s small sample size constitutes another major research flaw.  Researchers only secured data from 779 respondents – hardly representative enough of the whole to extrapolate percentages gleaned from that tiny pool across Texas’ demographic of six million women of reproductive age.  In short, this “research” is a shoddy abuse of science.

Unbelievably, researchers failed to ask women when these self-induced, self-reported abortions occurred – and also where they occurred – invalidating their assertion (hastily swept up by mainstream media) that up to 240,000 women self-induced abortions in Texas, and that Pro-Life laws drove them to this drastic measure.  The study’s failure to secure (or report) the dates when these self-reported, self-induced abortions occurred suggests that there may be no data supporting the claim that Pro-Life laws enacted in the last five years had any bearing on the incidence of self-induced abortion.  Women age 18 to 49 were interviewed about self-induced abortion that occurred at any point in their life – not about self-induced abortions that they or their friends underwent since 2011.

The desperation of TxPEP researchers to support their anti-Life agenda with ill-supported evidence is crystal clear.  And attempts to blame Pro-Life legislation for a fabricated self-induced abortion crisis are despicable – not only because their data are dishonest, but also because the solution to such a crisis could never come from within the abortion industry. 

The solution to self-induced abortion is not more abortion mills.  Rather, the solution is to apprise women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies of the healthcare and support options that validate their human dignity.  To that end, Texas is currently home to over 4,000 comprehensive women’s healthcare clinics and 220 pregnancy resource centers.  Anti-Life advocacy for abortion a la faulty TxPEP research is a truly disingenuous tactic, the sole aim of which is to advance a legislative agenda meant to undercut all Pro-Life measures in the state of Texas. 

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