Abortion policy is still contentious in many parts of the world, and periodically it emerges to dominate health policy debates. This paper examines one such debate in Australia centering on research findings by a New Zealand research group, Fergusson, Horwood & Ridder, published in early 2006. The debate highlighted the difficulty for researchers when their work is released in a heightened political context. We argue that the authors made a logical error in constructing their analysis and interpreting their data, and are therefore not justified in making policy claims for their work. The paper received significant public attention, and may have influenced the public policy position of a major professional body. Deeply held views on all sides of the abortion debate are unlikely to be reconciled, but if policy is to be informed by research, findings must be based on sound science.