Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mortality Trends: Can you spot Roe?

One of the data massage tricks the abortion lobby does to convince people that legal abortion saves lives is to compare abortion deaths from the five-year period prior to Roe to the five-year period after Roe. "Look!" they proclaim, "See the dramatic effect Roe vs. Wade had on abortion deaths!"

Was Roe really that significant an event in terms of reducing abortion mortality? I have come up with an exercise to see. I have abortion mortality data from 1940 through 2003. I wanted to pick 20-year periods so that we can look at what the trends were, and see if there is a sign that a particular event changed abortion mortality trends. If the claims of the abortion lobby are true, it should be easy to spot Roe vs. Wade on an unlabeled chart of abortion mortality, because of the sudden, clear drop in maternal deaths.

I went to a random number generator and had it choose for me 3 random years between 1940 and 1973, and then for each of those year I made a chart showing the abortion mortality for the 20-year period. Which of the following charts shows the impact of the first states legalizing abortion? Which charts shows the impact of Roe vs. Wade? Can you spot those two significant changes in the legal status of abortion?

Each bar shows the total number of abortion deaths for that year. I took off the numbers from the left hand side so that you'd be looking at trends to see where there was something that changed the trend, without giving you a clue from the numbers.

As you look at each chart, ask yourself these questions:

*What years does this chart illustrate?
*Which milestones of abortion law, if any, took place during these years?

Try to spot exactly where you think these milestones took place. Then answer the question and see if you were right.




Which charts show periods where there were major changes in abortion law? (There may be more than one right answer.)
Period A
Period B
Period C

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, its me Lilliput and I just saw the graph now - I asked you for some statistics earlier but I still don't understand the graphs.

What are the orange blocks and what does the great decrease mean?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, its me Lilliput and I just saw the graph now - I asked you for some statistics earlier but I still don't understand the graphs.

What are the orange blocks and what does the great decrease mean?

GrannyGrump said...

Each orange block shows the number of women who died from abortions that year. I don't include the scale off the left of the graph because I want people looking at the pattern -- more deaths or fewer deaths -- to see if they can see what impact Roe had on the trends. If I put the numbers, people can compare the numbers on different charts and guess from absolute numbers instead of looking at the trends.