The subject of abortion continues to receive misleading coverage

Image Courtesy: World Health Organization

A blog post on a local radio station’s website contains claims and information that are easily verifiable, but do not appear to have been.

The blog post was brought to the attention of Namibia Fact Check on August 2, 2022. Published under the title ‘125,000 abortions recorded each year worldwide: expert‘, the blogpost appeared on Eagle FM’s website on August 1, 2022.

The “expert” referred to in the title is a person called Sasha Louw, whose expertise is never established in the article. There is no explanation provided as to her pediatric or gynecological expertise, or any other medical expertise that would designate her as an abortion expert. All that is said about Louw is that she is the “founder of Pro-life Namibia”, an anti-abortion interest group.

The title of Eagle FM.

The misleading naming of expertise aside, the article’s headline and opening sentence contradict each other: the headline states that 125,000 abortions are recorded worldwide each year, while the opening sentence has Sasha Louw stating that “every day, around 125,000 abortions take place around the world”. the world.” That makes a big difference.

But let’s say the title is wrong, which is easily obtained by doing a quick Google search, then the question is: how accurate is the number of 125,000 abortions worldwide per day, as presented by Sasha Louw?

Abortion figures

Sasha Louw’s figure seems outdated, as current estimates of daily abortions are well over 125,000 as she claims.

According to what Namibia Fact Check could establish, Sasha Louw’s claim of 125,000 abortions a day comes from a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the period 2010-2014, which estimated that there were around 45 million abortions performed in the world per year, which would give the figure of 125,000 abortions globally per day.

If you google the phrase “125,000 abortions a day”, the first item that comes up is an article from the Worldometer that stipulates :

“The abortion data displayed on the Worldometer counter is based on the latest worldwide abortion statistics published by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“According to the WHO, each year in the world there are approximately 40 to 50 million abortions. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day.

However, in September 2017, the WHO estimated that there were approximately 55 million abortions per year worldwidewhich would give an estimate of more than 150,000 abortions performed per day.

For a more up-to-date estimatein September 2020, the WHO estimated that there were 73 million abortions performed annually worldwide, giving a daily figure of 200,000 abortions.

The September 2020 WHO estimate.

It is important to note that the numbers of abortions are estimates, and estimates can vary widely from year to year – some years the estimates are up, others are down – so it is helpful estimates are verified with credible sources before publication by news outlets.

All of this could have been easily established by the journalist if she had done a quick online survey.

The Namibian news media damages its reputation and reliability by indiscriminately publishing, in single-source stories, the statements of entities and individuals with clear ideological objectives on sensitive topics such as abortion.

This was actually pointed out by a Namibian social media user on August 1, 2022, after the blog link was posted on the Eagle FM Twitter Feed.

A Twitter user questions the quality of sourcing and reporting.

Jessica C. Bell