Analysis

Correction requested: Time magazine repeats debunked Texas self-abortion statistic

Wednesday, Time published an article here by Tara John with the following passage:Image1

There is only one problem: it isn’t true.

The study in question is by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, a group of pro-abortion researchers and industry insiders. The study asked Texas women via an online survey panel if ” they had ever tried to end a pregnancy on their own.” The response was 1.7% saying yes. The Texas abortion restrictions went into effect in 2013. The survey fails to establish if the self-abortions happened before or after 2013 or if the rate increased.

Abortion self-induction was described in the survey as follows:

“Women make different choices about how to end an unwanted pregnancy. Some women may go to a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office to have an abortion. Other women may do something to try to end a pregnancy without medical assistance. For example, they may get information from the internet, a friend, or family member about pills, medicine, or herbs they can take on their own, or they may do something else to try to end the pregnancy.”

Because the study didn’t ask WHEN these women attempted to self-abort, a respondent who tried to take an herb 20 years ago in Mexico would be a “yes.”

We have no way to know if self-abortions are on the rise following the Texas abortion restrictions because the study did not compare the current results to any past results.

Time should immediately correct their headline and story text that indicates that the self-abortions came after the 2013 law.

Additionally the 100,000-240,000 estimate is questionable because a 1.7% reporting rate would be 100,000 Texas women of reproductive age. The 240,000 estimate comes from the study asking if a respondent knew or even suspected their best friend attempted a self-abortion. Basing estimates on suspicions about behaviors of best friends is a highly odd way to do serious academic research but the media is happy to pass it on without critical analysis.

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