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Getting It Wrong: How The New York Times Misinterprets Abortion Statistics and Arrives at Incorrect Conclusions

Michael J. New

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On March 6, 2006, The New York Times ran a front-page article arguing that parental involvement laws have been ineffective at reducing the incidence of abortion among teens.[1] The authors collected data from six states that recently passed parental involvement legislation. They found that, both before and after the enactment of parental involve­ment laws, the ratio of abortions to births for minors closely tracks the ratio of abortions to births for 18- to 19-year-olds, who would not be directly affected by the law. Hence, the Times reporters argue that parental involvement laws have had little impact on the childbearing decisions of teens.

The effect of parental involvement laws is a topic that has long been neglected by the mainstream media. In fact, this article marks the first time in recent years that a mainstream media organization has reported on this issue. Regrettably, however, some real shortcomings are evident in the methods that the Times reporters used to collect and analyze their data.

Furthermore, these shortcomings led them to arrive at incorrect conclusions about the effect of parental involvement laws. Contrary to their claims, properly analyzed data provide solid evidence that parental involvement laws have been effective at reducing the incidence of abortion among minors.

Read the entire article on the Heritage Foundation website (new window will open).

Posted: 25-Jul-06



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