Despite the Arizona Department of Health Services reporting that the number of abortions increased about 26 percent from 2010 to 2011, the lobbying organization Center for Arizona Policy says the same numbers from DHS actually show a decrease in the number of abortions.
CAP president Cathi Herrod says comparing the number of abortions performed in 2010 to the number in 2011 is like comparing "apples to oranges," so she apparently decided to compare oranges to apples instead.
Herrod decided to go with the abortions from August 2010 to July 2011, and compare that with the number from August 2011 to July 2012.
That shows an 8 percent decrease for the most recent year, and she claims this is only accurate because of a CAP-supported law that required abortion reporting being enacted in August 2010, thus throwing previous reports in the garbage.
That's not quite the case, since the 2010 DHS report explains that there's been a reporting requirement for years.
"Abortion has been reported in Arizona by the Arizona Health Status and Vital Statistics Report for many years," the DHS report says. "The information was collected in response to administrative rules written by the Arizona Department of Health Services as part of the Vital Records Administrative Code. Adherence to the reporting requirement was not enforced but regular reminders along with a standard reporting format were sent to clinics that provided abortion services."
Of course, it's not surprising that CAP would find a way to interpret the stats to reinforce their line of thinking, especially since the lobbying organization takes credit for nine anti-abortion bills being passed into law since 2010.
It's definitely less egregious than last year's CAP mathematics, in which Herrod claimed abortions had dropped by 30 percent in Arizona.
For that, Herrod picked a month -- September 2011 -- and compared it to the previous September.
"In September of 2010, 1,053 abortions were performed in Arizona. This September, 729 abortions - that's 324 fewer abortions - a 30% decrease," Herrod explained. "That number is also down from 1,069 abortions in August of this year. Simply incredible."
Not only is that a nonsense way to claim a 30 percent decrease, it's not even true. According to DHS stats provided to New Times yesterday, there were 1,054 abortions reported in September 2010 -- close enough -- but the DHS report shows there were 936 in September 2011.
That said, DHS Director Will Humble told New Times on Tuesday that while the 26-percent increase may be inflated, it's certainly plausible that there was an increase, given the trends over the years.