UPDATE 3/9, 12:55p: Dr. Michael New has posted an excellent piece at National Review Online indicating “Powers’s argument was stronger than she probably realizes.”

UPDATE 3/8, 11:40a: Kirsten Powers has written a retraction of her piece:

I made a serious error in reporting this column that undermines the conclusion I drew. I compared statistics on contraceptive use from a January 2011 Guttmacher Institute fact sheet to a year 2000 study on the same issue. However, I did not realize that the 2011 fact sheet derived its statistics from the year 2000 numbers, so my argument was not supported by the data. I am deeply sorry for the error, which invalidates my piece.

Kirsten’s retraction was too sweeping. Her remaining conclusions, based on separate statistical data, remain sound. The facts remain that: 1) according to Guttmacher, 54% of aborting mothers are using contraception at the time they became pregnant; 2) according to Guttmacher, women do not list “lack of access” as a reason for not using contraceptives; 3) statistics from Spain show that abortions more than doubled after contraceptive use went up; and 4) Planned Parenthood’s stated mission in population control.

3/7, 5:09a: Three weeks ago I noticed liberal commentator Kirsten Powers make what appeared to be pro-life statements on Twitter and wondered aloud whether she was straying off the reservation. She responded:

This was welcome news. I didn’t probe the nuances of Powers’ beliefs, figuring if she was brave enough to call herself one of us in her world, I would simply support her.

One area where I gathered by other comments Kirsten made that we disagreed was on the the topic of contraception. Kirsten thinks/thought contraceptive use deters abortion. I believe contraceptive use provides a false sense of security and actually increases the rate of abortions. And, of course, hormonal contraceptives and IUDs can actually cause early abortions.

But on March 4 Kirsten wrote an important column challenging the “myth” that taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood to provide contraceptives via Title X actually lowers abortions. Kirsten’s piece is a must read. She concludes (linking to one of my posts in the process)…

To preserve its federal subsidy, Planned Parenthood continues to claim that without its contraception services the abortion rate will go up. This deception smacks of a fleecing of taxpayers in an effort to promote an ideological agenda, rather than a sincere effort to help women plan families….


So it is, in reality, a population-control organization. Funny, this was never mentioned in the gauzy $200,000 advertising campaign launched last week….

To hear PP and their supporters, they exist only to provide Pap smears or breast exams or prenatal services. In fact, President Cecile Richards has gone so far as to erroneously imply that they provide mammograms. (A spokesperson for the group confirmed to me that this is untrue.)

PP officials are allowed to believe whatever they want and to pursue whatever goals they choose. But their dishonesty in how they present their organization to the public, along with ignoring basic statistics about their area of expertise, makes you wonder what else they are hiding. It’s also hard to deny that they are at core a blindly ideological organization, not a run-of-the-mill charitable nonprofit.

Whatever you think of abortion rights, this is not the kind of organization that taxpayers should be funding.

No surprise, Kirsten is now taking heat from the Left. So my applauding Kirsten’s authenticity and bravery will likely hurt, not help. I feel bad about that but am compelled to at any rate.

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