Reader calls out The Union columnist on her “facts”

Editor’s note: I’ve long written that The Union needs to fact check the columns it receives, as most newspapers do. It’s podunk not to. Here’s the latest example: A reader calling out The Union columnist Terry McLaughlin on for her “facts”:

Steve Willer:

“Approximately 1.3 million unborn babies are aborted in the United States every year.” Really? According to whom? What organization is compiling the number you cite? Please list your sources. CDC has much lower numbers for the last reporting year, 2013 had half your number. Once again, is anybody at The Union bothering at all to look over and ask basic questions with what your columnists write? What a joke!

Abortion Statistics:
The following is the number of abortions reported to the CDC (As of 2017):

2013: 644,435
2012: 699,202
2011: 730,322
2010: 765,651
2009: 784,507
2008: 825,564
2007: 827,609
2006: 846,181
2005: 820,151
2000: 857,475
1995: 1,210,883
1990: 1,429,247
1985: 1,328,570
1980: 1,297,606
The number of abortions in the United States increased gradually from 1973, then peaked in 1990 and has been on the decline since then.…/health/abortion-fast-facts/index.html

Terry McLaughlin:

“Since the1973 passage of Roe vs Wade, somewhere between 57 and 59 million abortions have occurred in the United States – this averages roughly 1.3 million a year over the past 44 years. CDC reporting of abortions is based upon statistics voluntarily submitted by State Health Departments, and the CDC admits this not 100% accurate. For example, California is often not included, as in 2012 when the CDC indicated that CA, New Hampshire, and Maryland were not included. The Guttmacher Institute, which is a research group that advocates on issues of sexual and reproductive health, has agreed that these figures are roughly accurate. There are articles on Politifact, the Washington Post, and others that address these issues. It is true that the number of abortions has slowly been declining, for which I am grateful.”

Steve Willer:

“Terry McLaughlin. What a joke! A ten year average? You are squirming because you know what you have said is bs. You didn’t say that in your article. Shame on YOU! An average since the beginning fo Roe V Wade? How about telling the truth with what current annual abortion numbers are for the past ten years? You don’t deserve to be a regular Union columnist if this is the kind of horseshat you submit.”

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

8 thoughts on “Reader calls out The Union columnist on her “facts””

  1. If Terry would have added the qualifier, “since the beginning of Roe v Wade”, I wouldn’t have had as big an issue with it, but she didn’t. She just flat said there are 1.3 million abortions a year, which is completely false. And clearly The Union is falling down on the job with even some basic review of columns submitted by regular columnists.

    And I also felt there was a bit of manipulative sleaziness, kind of a car salesman or preacher tactic, to using the deaths of people in wildfires as the lead in for an anti abortion wrap. That was pathetic. Having had eight years of a Chicago area Catholic grade school, it is easy to see right through Terry’s tactic.

  2. And Jeff, did you see the letter written into The Union from Annamarie Sauer? LOL!

    WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan wrote a satire piece and conservatives took it up as real. Peggy’s article ends with: ” I should note—this part is true—that I saw much of it while anesthetized for a minor surgical procedure. For an hour afterward, even knowing it was either a fantasy or a dream, I felt so . . . hopeful. Cheerful. Proud. I give it to you.”

    Like you say, you just can’t make this stuff up.

  3. Just par for The Tea Party Gazette. Nothing surprising. They throw it in the trough and the herd laps it up. No thinking required. In fact, no thinking allowed.

  4. The ol’ saying goes, “If it bleeds, it leads”. Or in the case of The Union, ” If it thinks, it stinks!”

  5. The Union posted George Boardman’s column tonight online. The “pull quote” (an excerpt that has been pulled from an article and used as a graphic element) reads: “Xxjj xjx jxj xjj x xjj xj xjjx jxjxjx.” Ha! That about sums up Boardman’s thinking.

  6. Oh look, now it is fixed:
    “Airbnb takes supply out of the long-term rental market, which caters to residents looking to rent permanent homes … This increases the price for residents looking for long-term housing. Home prices rise with rents.” The problem can be particularly acute in neighborhoods with a lot of absentee owners.

    — Edward Kung, assistant professor of economics at UCLA

    The internet is changing how we communicate!

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