Sunday 31 August 2008

The Philippines and backstreet abortion claims published today by AFP in Manila

In a news story today, AFP (Agence France-Presse) promotes the extraordinary claim that there are between 473,000 illegal abortions and 800,000 illegal abortions annually in the Philippines, a country which has a constitutional ban on abortion (and a strong bishops’ conference constantly speaking out against abortion). That would mean that the Philippines has something approaching three times the abortion rate of the UK where virtual abortion on demand has been lawful for over 40 years. (The AFP report appears to be a blatant media effort to promote a "reproductive health" bill which, I reported recently, has totalitarian and coercive elements)

Anyone who’s travelled to the Philippines, as I have on several occasions, and has witnessed first hand the love of the family and the natural abhorrence of abortion in that country, would immediately recognize here the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels [pictured] principle at work: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”.

Similar outrageous claims about backstreet abortion have recently been made about Northern Ireland, as I’ve blogged recently.

The World Health Organization (WHO), the reported AFP source for the figure of 800,000 illegal abortions, routinely makes unsubstantiated claims about illegal abortions, as Dr Susan Yoshihara has pointed out.

It should be noted that the WHO is one of the world’s major pro-abortion bodies. For example, it encourages the provision of abortion facilities in refugee camps. A document produced by the WHO states that camps should:

“where elective abortion is legal, establish links with an appropriate health care facility (Type II health centre for first trimester, district hospital for first and second trimesters). If no such facility is available, consider training staff on-site in the provision of manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) for first-trimester abortion (however, see footnote*) …

“* … Given the particularly sensitive nature of this aspect of reproductive health, it is vital to be aware not only of the legal position within the host country, but also whether there is likely to be violent opposition from within the refugee or displaced community. Opposition to services is looked at in Section A, Chapter 3, and Section C, Chapter 9.”

The source for AFP’s reference to 473,000 induced abortions in the Philippines is the Guttmacher Institute, a body supported by the World Health Organization, the UNFPA, Planned Parenthood of America – and many other major pro-abortion institutions. [The AFP report gives the source as UNFPA]

A more accurate appraisal of the number of abortions in the Philippines can be found in a paper, by Dr. Roberto De Vera of the University of Asia and the Pacific, entitled "An Analysis of the Estimated Figure of induced abortions in the Philippines in 2000 as published in a 2006 Guttmacher Institute* report by Susheela Singh et al".

He says:

“In the 2006 Guttmacher Institute report "Unintended Pregnancies and Induced Abortions in the Philippines: Causes and Consequences", Susheela Singh et al estimated that there were 473,000 induced abortions completed in the Philippines in 2000 using a method consisting of three steps. First, based on reports gathered from 2,039 hospitals which contained the top ten leading causes of admission in the 1999-2001 period, they arrived at an estimate of the number of women in 2000 who were hospitalized due to complications from both induced and spontaneous abortions. Second, they calculated the number of women hospitalized for induced abortions by subtracting the estimated number of women hospitalized for spontaneous abortions (or miscarriages) from the estimated number of women hospitalized for induced and spontaneous abortions. Finally, they arrived at the estimated number of women who had induced abortions by multiplying the estimated number of women hospitalized for complications due to induced abortions by 6 to account for the women who had induced abortions who didn't go to the hospital.

“We find that their method overestimates the figure of induced abortions in the Philippines in 2000 because of three flaws. These flaws had the effect of 1) overestimating the figure for women hospitalized for spontaneous and induced abortions due to an assumption that is weakly supported by statistical data; 2) underestimating the number of women hospitalized for complications due to spontaneous abortions (or miscarriages) because it mistakenly covers only those women with spontaneous abortions occurring in 12th to 22nd week of pregnancy who were hospitalized for complications; and 3) using a multiplier which most likely is higher than the ratio of the number of women who have induced abortions to the number of women who are hospitalized for complications due to induced abortions.

“Using modified version of the Singh et al methodology (corrected to account for the above flaws), we arrived at an alternative estimate of 25,924 induced abortions in the Philippines in 2000 (1.3 abortions per 1,000 women in the reproductive age). Using a second method, we multiplied 0.0117, the share of induced abortions to live births by the number of live births in 2000, to arrive at second estimate of 20,831 induced abortions in the Philippines in 2000 (1.1 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age). We consider these two estimates of induced abortion in the Philippines in 2000 to be more reasonable than the 473,000 estimate (24.5 induced abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age) published in the 2006 Guttmacher Institute report.”

Former abortionist Bernard Nathanson, recently repeated the admission made in his book "Aborting America": "We claimed that between five and ten thousand women a year died of botched abortions," he said. "The actual figure was closer to 200 to 300 and we also claimed that there were a million illegal abortions a year in the United States and the actual figure was close to 200,000. So, we were guilty of massive deception."

The deceptions once practiced, but now renounced, by Bernard Nathanson are alive and well in the work of the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization and in today’s AFP report on the Philippines.