Since this entry was originally published, I've received two replies from one of the site administrators. The thread is below:
Thank you for your email, and sorry it took so long to get back to you - we were on vacation.
The paper you site is from Planned Parenthood, the nation's leading abortion provided -- and a biased partisan toward unrestricted abortions. What they fail to state is the obvious: abortions cannot be prevented in any state simply do to the fact that there is a "woman's health" exemption - and mental health (for any reason) is included. The laws they illustrate are merely minor "restrictions.
To which I replied:
I appreciate your reply, thank you.
However, I must say - the data in the chart compiled can be found anywhere. All one needs to do is look up the various restrictions currently on the books in each state. To quibble over the source, here, I think is little more than a red herring.
Further, I think that if your point below is to criticize a health exception, then those are the words most appropriate to use. The existing statement on your site is entirely misleading, and creates the impression that a healthy woman can walk in, healthy late-term fetus intact, and have it aborted. This is not the case. And if education is your sincere goal, then accuracy ought to be your watchword, not your argumentative foil.
Again, hyperbole is beneath you. It may appeal to the converted, but it will do little to impress the millions of moderate Americans who clearly abhor abortion but are decidedly "on the fence" about increasing restrictions.
Of course, your reply begs the question -- in the event a woman's health *is* threatened by her pregnancy, are you advocating that she should be completely denied the option to abort? Are you endorsing the view that a dead mother is preferable to a dead fetus?
I look forward to your response.
To which he replied:
We clarified the statement by adding the “mental health exception.” Per your question about the health of mother exception, scores of health experts (including Dr. Koop) have stated that there are not clear cases whereby a woman must choose between her own existence and her unborn child. This myth, however, is persistently delivered by pro-abortionists as a propaganda tool. The only clear exception to this is an ectopic pregnancy, whereby the baby has no chance for survival, and the mother has a good chance of dying if the fetus is not removed.
Thanks for taking the time to review our sections, and please stay in touch.
I give him credit where it's due for amending the page, but am disappointed that he accuses pro-choice advocates of propaganda while citing Dr. Koop (who is well known for his bias on the topic), and disregarding out of hand the highly relevant quality-of-life problems his absolutism ignores.
While I'm tempted reply and document the instances (outside of ectopic pregnancy) in which continued gestation can threaten the health of the mother, I realize I'm simply not dealing with a receptive audience. Further, to continue the debate would likely turn an otherwise civil exchange ugly, and I'm just not inclined.
Nevertheless, in the interest of full disclosure, I wanted to let you all know how this finally turned out. Make of it what you will.
In researching for past & future entries, I paid a visit to abortiontv.com. They're a heavily Google-bombed pro-life site. Their "Abortion Statistics" page lists a comprehensive set of numbers compiled by the CDC and the Allan Guttmacher Institute, both of which are the primary trackers of abortion rates and demographics in the country.
All of the stats listed were cited to their original studies, save but one. It is this one stat that I wrote to their contributors about. That email is below:
I notice that all of you carefully cite the source studies for all of your published statistics, all save for this one: "Abortion is legal in the USA at any time throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy... FOR ANY REASON."
A cursory examination of state laws shows that this is simply not the case. Researching this claim's accuracy requires on the order of roughly 30 seconds, so anyone curious can easily discover that this is a serious misrepresentation of existing law. (Here's one of several comparison charts of state laws, for your reference: http://www.thehelpline.org/unplanned_pregnancy/abortion/abortionlaws.pdf)
That you have omitted any kind of citation for this "fact" makes it suspicious on the face, but in light of your staff claims that education is your primary goal, this overt attempt at hyperbole damages your overall credibility significantly.
Before you dismiss this message or its author as just another flame email from a rabid "pro-abortionist", let me assure you this is not the case. Regardless, my personal political motivations are irrelevant to the accuracy of the data you have published on your site.
Having said that, I don't have any objection to your agenda or any argument with your otherwise straightforward methods. That you contribute to the discussion over abortion is your right and personally, I welcome the input. However, in the interest of honest debate and legitimate discussion -- the kind that yields real progress in this arena, I respectfully request that you remove this particular sentence from the Statistics page.
Now, before anyone gets hysterical, what I said is true. I welcome anyone's contribution in this debate provided that their input is honest and forthright. I may not agree with any of this site's positions, but I have no argument with their stats page, since I can just as easily find all of the numbers listed as they can -- except that one humdinger.
The point of my disclosure here? To date, I've received only two replies, from people that politely disavowed any authoring responsibility for that page. Both women added that they hoped I'd hear back from the relevant people.
To date (nearly 3 weeks later), I have not received any other responses.