Bogus Experts Who Testify on Abortion Bill are Criticized
The chairman of Alaska’s Democratic party, Mike Wenstrup, on Tuesday labeled the witnesses as “extremists” who have made “outlandish, demonstrably false claims” about abortion. Wenstrup said Coleman, Thorp and Rutherford “have an agenda that is utterly inconsistent with the respect for personal freedom and privacy that Alaska’s founders wrote into our Constitution.”
Thorp was an author of a 2003 report that argued doctors, before an abortion is performed, should offer women information about preterm delivery, depression and breast cancer, according to a news release from that time. A 2011 legal filing described him “as one of the leading experts in evidence based women’s reproductive health” who encourages providing ultrasound images and information on fetal development to pregnant women.
Thorp, a professor of maternal and child health in the public health school at The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, said he didn’t remember that filing. Asked by the committee’s lone minority member, Sen. Bill Wielechowski, if he felt providing counseling before an abortion was medically necessary, he said he considered it both medically necessary and ethically obligated. Thorp said he worked with bill drafters on a list of conditions that “unequivocally” and greatly threaten the life of the woman.
Coleman said she has authored over 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles, of which 37 dealt with the psychology of abortion. Coleman authored a study linking abortion to an increased risk of mental health problems that researchers, in a report published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research last year, said reached wrong conclusions.