1Flesh Plays Fast and Loose with Abortion Facts January 23, 2013

1Flesh Plays Fast and Loose with Abortion Facts

There is a certain comfort to the constants in life.

Sun comes up, Sun comes down.

Tide goes in, tide goes out, never a miscommunication.

Pat Robertson says something disgusting.

And the folks at 1Flesh are, once again, publishing bad information in pursuit of their religious goals.

This time they’ve neatly packaged their fail in an attractive little graphic:

Pity that they care so much about their graphic design and so little about the accuracy of their statements…

Let’s just go through them one by one.

54% of abortions were performed on women who were using contraception when they got pregnant.

A surprising number. Shocking even… maybe because it’s not accurate.

The people at 1Flesh are either purposefully misrepresenting the facts or they don’t actually read the original studies but rather take their numbers from other pro-life websites.

The number appears to come from the Guttmacher Institute, in an article discussing abortion trends over 10 years ago (so already the very use of the present tense is questionable). But still, does the article back up this figure? Here’s what it says:

More than half of women obtaining abortions in 2000 (54%) had been using a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant.

Gee, anybody notice a difference? 1Flesh states that contraception was used when the women got pregnant, whereas the actual data merely states that contraception was used in the same general time period. This is like me saying I saw a murder suspect at the scene of the crime… when in fact I saw him in the same place a week before. A judge wouldn’t accept that and you shouldn’t accept this. Oh, and incidentally, the actual statistics include withdrawal (pulling out before climax) and “periodic abstinence” (rhythm and its variants) in contraceptive methods.

Both methods are terrible. Please don’t use them. Back to 1Flesh’s comments:

Another 38% of abortions were performed on women who used contraception, just not during the month they got pregnant, because sex was unexpected, they thought they could risk it, etc.

That’s nice. I hear a lot of deadly car crashes happen with drivers that previously used seat belts, just not that day, because it was just a quick drive, no one is on the road, they thought they could risk it, etc. I guess that shows seat belts don’t work, eh?

The probability of unintended pregnancy in 1 year of contraceptive use is 12%

This information comes from a CDC report (PDF). 1Flesh loves citing the CDC, and they dearly hope you never, ever listen to what the CDC says about contraception. Like the previous figures, this figure for failure rates includes abstinence and withdrawal, and also adds spermicides, which when used alone are even worse than pulling out. The CDC cites 12% as the average failure rate for “typical use.” This refers to how the method works in the population, to contrast it with “perfect use.” “Perfect use” failure rates are much lower than those of “typical use” because they happen in the context of clinical studies, where couples are educated on their use and cautioned to use them consistently and correctly. Comprehensive sex education aims, among other things, to bring the “typical use” rates closer and closer to the “perfect use” rates, by encouraging correct and consistent use of contraceptives. 1Flesh draws a different conclusion:

those opposing abortion should not promote a culture of contraception

Because if people stop using contraception, they’ll also stop having sex and unplanned pregnancy rates will go down. Obviously.

I suppose it’s fitting that misinterpreted and misrepresented evidence be used to support a faulty premise with a delusional solution.

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