RRA Round-Up: For the Week of July 7, 2013



By Jacqueline C. Harvey, Ph.D.

New studies and data on hotly-contested areas of research and controversial legislation have made headlines this week, inspiring interviews and articles around the web from Reproductive Research Audit contributors:

  • RRA Research Associate Dr. Michael New reports for National Review Online this week that an Illinois parental notification law passed 18 years ago has finally cleared the state supreme court and may be enacted. Dr. New notes that 30 states have parental involvement laws and Illinois has some of the most lax requirements (notification can be made to a stepparent, grandparent rather than a mother, father or both). He also cites that over 17 academic studies (including Dr. New’s original research) have found that these laws reduce minor abortion rates.
  • In an article entitled, “The Pro-life Alternative to the Guttmacher InstituteLifeSiteNews.com interviewed Dr. Jacqueline C. Harvey, Director of Research. The interview explained the mission of RRA as an answer to agenda-driven pro-abortion research organizations that examines the body of research from the opposing perspective: to build a culture of life. Dr. Harvey has written previously for Ethika Politika about the need to not meet propaganda from one position with propaganda of our own, but to examine research for validity but drawn conclusions to inform pro-life efforts. The interview highlights studies in RRA’s first few months as well as the recent addition of Dr. Rebecca G. Oas to the RRA team.
  • In another piece for CatholicVote.org, Dr. Michael New writes about the decline in the number of abortions in Minnesota. His article entitled, “Media Ignores What is Likely Driving Minnesota’ Abortion Decline,” Dr. New explains that different groups are crediting different causes, with anti-abortion groups claiming education efforts caused the decline, while Planned Parenthood credits increased use of contraception. However, Dr. New suggests a third possible explanation, which is the enactment of informed consent laws and increased funding for abortion alternatives. While there is not formal research to support or refute this hypothesis, Dr. New concludes that it that, “impact of pro-life laws and the progress that the pro-life movement has made” is an equally plausible explanation but this is “progress that the mainstream media unfortunately all too often chooses to ignore.”
  • A new study  was published just this past Tuesday which links surgical abortions to pre-term births. This is not ground-breaking, as this link has been apparent in literature for years. What is noteworthy is that pro-abortion organizations that denied this evidence are now accepting the link in response to the study which shows that new techniques for surgical abortions (and the increase in medical abortions over surgical) may mitigate this risk, writing, “The study was hailed by abortion rights groups, which cited it as evidence that restricting women’s access to newer medication-based abortion procedures would not make them safer.” The media and these organizations fail to note that medical-based abortion are generally less-safe and have far more complications for women with studies that claim safety discredited routinely here on RRA. And while prematurity causes disabilities in children, children who survive medical abortions face a host of birth defects that include missing or webbed digits and fused joints. A full report from RRA Research Associate Dr. Rebecca G. Oas is anticipated on Tuesday which examines the medical and academic communities’ response to this study. Likewise, Dr. Harvey is also preparing a rebuttal to conclusions that medical abortions are a safer alternative that should be published the following week.

Be sure to like RRA on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @RRAudit for ongoing coverage of this and breaking news in reproductive health research.

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