This is an example of speculative “science” created purely for propaganda purposes:

  1. This is a statistical model and not based on real pregnancy data.
  2. It is not based on validated data about rapes in Tennessee. In fact, the article notes” no recent reliable state-level data on completed vaginal rapes.” Instead, it took national data from a 2016-2017 CDC survey, and then “apportioned” the data according to the FBI Uniform Crime reports percentages. When they do this, they get over 40 thousand rapes in Tennessee for the middle of 2022 through 2023. The key here is that the CDC data has a broader definition of rape than vaginal penetration that could result in pregnancy, and uses some indirect measures (e.g. visits to sexual assault service centers), and includes things like sex while drunk. This is in contrast to the actual TBI data, of a little over 2000 reported rapes per year, or about 2500 if one includes incest and statutory rape. Thus, they overestimate the number of rapes in terms of reported rape by about a factor of 10. They justify this by noting that most rapes are not reported, which is true, but introduces an important level of error.
  3. They also used a cockeyed way of estimating pregnancy rate:

    from the data supplement:

    Rape-related pregnancy (incidence) during abortion ban period = CVR * a * b
    CVR = Completed vaginal rape incidence during abortion ban period (calculated as above)
    a = Lifetime rape-related pregnancy rate, 14.9% (CDC 2016/17)
    b = Ratio of per-rape pregnancy rate to lifetime rape-related pregnancy rate (Holmes et al, 1996)
    Specifically, Holmes et al found a per-rape pregnancy rate of 5% and a lifetime rape-related
    pregnancy rate of 6%; hence we estimate the per-rape:lifetime ratio as 5.0/6.0 = 83%.

There is not really a justification for including the “lifetime rape-related pregnancy rate” in this, but they basically double the pregnancy rate by doing this. It would be more appropriate to just use the per-rape pregnancy rate of 5%.

Now, just as the method they use grossly overestimates the rape incidence, the TBI data underestimates it, since it is true that many rapes are not reported. Nonetheless, this is an unvalidated speculative piece that is meant to overestimate the number of pregnancies for political purposes, in my opinion.

Using the more restrictive numbers of about 4000 rapes in TN over this period, and a 5 percent pregnancy rate, one would get 200 pregnancies. If one assumes that about a third of rapes are reported, then you would get 600 pregnancies.

Thus, the “real” estimate, in my mind would be anywhere between 600 and 5000 pregnancies.

AWA: This was a comment written by hh465 that, I felt, should be promoted to the front page.

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By hh465

2 thoughts on “More lies, damn lies, and statistics”
  1. just like every anti gunner and (as far as Im concerned) ANY democrat or liberal, why tell the truth when you can pull a number out of your ass and embellish it to sound horrible so therefore “we must do SOMETHING “…. wake up America

  2. There are at least three more confounding issues in here:

    1) A nontrivial number of reported rapes are false. While there’s a mantra that “only 2% of rape reports are false,” this is clearly incorrect. The real number is likely closer to 20-30%, though nobody really knows. See,

    If one factors this in, then the range is 480- 4000, not 600 – 5000

    2) Some states bordering Tennessee have more liberal laws. North Carolina allows abortion following rape, as does Arkansas, I believe. Thus, Tennesseans living in East or West Tennessee are an hour or two away from an abortion center that can accommodate them. In Middle Tennessee, it’s a bit more problematic, with both Kentucky and Georgia having restrictive laws. It’s about a four hour trip to lower Illinois by car. However, it is possible to get abortion pills by mail. Thus, not all but a significant portion of pregnant women can get an abortion by relatively short travel by car, or by mail.

    So let’s say that half of those above could get an abortion in this way. That changes the range to 240 – 2000.

    3) There is an assumption that all of the pregnancies from rape are unwanted and would be aborted if possible. That is not true. Some percentage of women would choose to carry the pregnancy to term even if abortion were available. Again, there is no good statistic on this, though some studies suggest that about 38% of preganacies due to rape are carried to term by choice. That changes the range to 148 – 1240.

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