By Sarah Neely

A recent article from the Associated Press (AP) spouted more fearmongering from abortion advocates bewailing longer wait times for abortions post-Roe. However, Operation Rescue’s recent 2023 Survey reveals wait times are not only lower, but are the lowest since 2019.

The AP article leans heavily on two surveys. 

The first is purely anecdotal evidence published by Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH). Between September 2022 and March 2023, ANSIRH collected just fifty anecdotal submissions from “health care providers” regarding cases that “deviated from the usual standard” after new abortion restrictions were in place. Submissions could be anonymous, and follow-up interviews were not required. 

With over 600,000 abortions performed in America each year, this survey covered about .008% of abortion experiences.

The second survey comes from the Myers Abortion Appointment Availability Survey – an ongoing project with funding from Middlebury College and the Society for Family Planning. Though the Myers website states surveys have only been conducted as recently as September 2022, the AP article references September 2023 data seemingly made available to AP alone. At least, no links to the new data were provided. 

According to the AP article, the Myers Survey claims to have contacted over 700 abortion clinics, finding “that 11 states had median appointment wait times of more than five business days and four states had waits of at least eight business days, not counting weekends or holidays.” 

Though these groups of states were not identified for Operation Rescue to compare data, Iowa was offered as a specific example of the longest wait time: 12 business days. However, Operation Rescue’s 2023 Survey showed an average wait time in Iowa of 8 days. 

Moreover, Operation Rescue’s data showed the total average wait for an abortion in the U.S. to be the same as Iowa – eight days. That is a 15% drop from last year (9.4 days) and the shortest wait time since 2019. Those figures also include weekends and holidays, which the Myers Survey states it does not count. If Operation Rescue used that same methodology, average wait times would actually be even less. 

At eight days, abortion wait times are still far, far below average wait times for other medical services. A 2022 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times from Merrit Hawkins found the average wait time for a physician appointment in 15 of the largest U.S. cities was 26 days, an 8% increase from 2014. Meanwhile, abortion wait times are steadily decreasing.

“Operation Rescue conducts our survey meticulously and consistently, and we’ve been collecting data for well over fifteen years,” comments Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “That is how we are able to accurately monitor trends like abortion wait times and abortion pricing. 

“Abortion zealots and the mainstream media spin numbers  to convince the American people that women are dying in the streets from lack of abortion access. Instead, states are implementing life-affirming laws, more moms are choosing life, babies are being saved, and the abortion industry is steadily shrinking.”

The AP article also seems to back itself into a corner. Though obviously determined to convince the public that these supposed longer abortion wait times mean riskier abortions later in pregnancy, the writer of the article simultaneously tries to assure readers that abortion is totally safe. This fragmented quote from a Planned Parenthood chief medical officer offers an example: 

Later, the author undermines his/her position again, stating, “[T]here’s no way to know definitively whether delays have pushed more abortions into the second trimester.” 

So, are women in danger because of supposed longer wait times, or are they not? Is abortion safe all the time, or is it not? It seems pro-abortion extremists, as usual, are using doublespeak, desperate to convince women that a decrease in abortion access is a decrease in their own safety – the biggest emergency America has ever seen.

“The only emergency here,” adds Newman, “are the injured women we see being wheeled out of abortion clinics daily, and the preborn children who are continuously stripped of their safety, and then their lives.” 

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