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By thisistwitchy  •  March 17, 2005 05:32 AM

On the New York Times op-ed page yesterday, columnist Nicholas Kristof dredged up the debunked talking point that the number of abortions has increased since George W. Bush became President:

What has been lethal for Democrats has not been their pro-choice position as such, but the perception that they don’t even share public qualms about abortion. Mrs. Clinton has helped turn the debate around by emerging as both pro-choice and anti-abortion.

That is potentially a winning position for Democrats. Abortions fell steadily under Bill Clinton, who espoused that position, and have increased significantly during President Bush’s presidency.

As JustOneMinute points out, “the two established authorities for national abortion statistics are the Center for Disease Control and the Alan Gutmacher Institute.” Neither has updated its national statistics past the year 2000.

The notion that abortion has been rising under Bush is based on Glenn Stassen’s faulty analysis of abortion trends in sixteen states.

The National Right to Life’s conclusion is correct: “At this point, it is too early to determine a clear trend telling us whether abortions have increased or decreased during the Bush administration.”

I encourage readers to ask Kristof (nicholas@nytimes.com), editorial page editor Gail Collins (editorial@nytimes.com), and Times ombudsman Daniel Okrent (public@nytimes.com) for a correction.

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