10 Things You Should Know about Abortion and Reproductive Rights
Every day, a woman has to make a decision about terminating an unwanted pregnancy. It is not an easy decision, and it is a decision that has many inputs: family values; economic realities; parents; church; and deciding what is best for you, and your children (whenever you decide to have them).
Many sites promote what they call “family values”, but also spread false information, and pay a lot in Google Ads as well to show up at the top of the search, and drown out all other arguments. Some of these sites say that abortions cause “Cut or torn cervix“, they say, “women who abort are approximately four times more likely to die in the following year than women who carry their pregnancies to term” and they say, “women who had abortions were 160 percent more likely than delivering women to be hospitalized for psychiatric treatment in the first 90 days following abortion or delivery.” These are all false. So, we are posting the top 10 things you should know about Abortion and Reproductive Rights, that are being drowned out in the noise.
A Constitutional Right
When the Supreme Court reviewed the case of Roe v. Wade, they applied the constitutional right to privacy in order to uphold a woman’s right to choose (specifically applying the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution). However, there are more rights than just privacy at work. The Fourteenth Amendment applies to equal protection under the law, and our founding fathers believed in Self-Determination, the process by which a person controls their own life. Time and time again, we’ve seen self-determination win out in the fight over slavery, women’s suffrage, and vital labor practices. A woman’s right to choose is part of that long legacy, and it is the responsibility of those around her to respect her decision. In short, you don’t have to like abortions, and you don’t have to get one. But you do have to allow other people the right to choose an abortion for themselves. That (by definition) is Freedom.
Abortion Lowers Crime Rates
It has been a long known scientific fact that abortion lowers crime rates. In 1972, the Rockefeller Commission on Population and the American Future cited research stating that the children of women denied an abortion “turned out to have been registered more often with psychiatric services, engaged in more antisocial and criminal behavior, and have been more dependent on public assistance.” In addition to their own studies, they cited a 1966 Swedish study by Hans Forssman and Inga Thuwe. Since then, numerous studies have piled up confirming that a Mother who chooses an abortion is more likely to create a better upbringing for children they have later in life. Other studies include the 2001 Donohue and Levitt study, and confirmations in subsequent response papers.
Most Abortions Involve Taking a Pill
Most abortions involve taking a simple pill and are not complicated operations. This can be done because many abortions take place when the fetus is still a small collection of cells, about the size of a sesame seed. About 95 percent to 98 percent of women who use the medication known as mifepristone/misoprostol, will have a complete abortion. For the remaining 2-5 percent who are either still pregnant, have an incomplete abortion, or have excessive bleeding, a suction procedure is required.
Abortions Are Statistically Safer Than Childbirth
According to Planned Parenthood, “Abortion is safe, and serious complications are rare — but the risk to your health increases the longer a pregnancy continues. Abortions performed later in pregnancy may be more complicated but are still safer than labor and childbirth. So, even though it’s important to take the time you need to make the decision that’s best for you, it is important that you understand there may be greater health risks later in pregnancy. So, you may not want to wait too long.”
There can also be a three step process for a medical abortion. The first two are taking the pills; Step Three, two weeks later, is an examination to confirm that the abortion is complete. If it is not, more time may be needed or a surgical abortion should be scheduled.
Abortions Are More Common Than You Think
According to Planned Parenthood, “In fact, about half of all women in the U.S. have an unplanned pregnancy at some point in their lives. About 4 out of 10 women with unplanned pregnancies decide to have abortions. Overall, 3 in 10 U.S. women will have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old.” Also, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, who obtained an abortion not only didn’t regret it, but they felt “relieved”.
Abortion is 100% Legal in the Majority of the World
If you look at the maps below (provided by http://worldabortionlaws.com/), you’ll see nations in green allow all abortions. This encompasses the vast majority of the civilized world. Nations in yellow allow abortions on socioeconomic grounds.
While nations in orange and red, restrict abortions to health reasons, to save the life of the mother, or outlaw it all together. We see this is very common in nations with radical religious lawmakers (such as Iran, Syria, and Egypt) or nations with increasing economic problems (Sudan, Mali, and Somalia).
Contrarily, thirty-seven states do not provide abortion funding for poor women’s abortions. And 32 of these won’t fund abortions for poor women who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or in cases of a severely deformed fetus. Many backwards lawmakers are fighting to make it difficult for poor people to get abortions.
Many States Over-Regulate Clinics
Many states over-regulate abortion clinics, for the sole purpose of putting them out of business. This disproportionately affects women with limited resources by giving them less and less protection under the law. This is part of an ongoing pattern, beginning with Ronald Reagan denigrating such women as “Welfare Queens” and accused of abusing the system. Watch this video for more details on the politics of Conservative Regulation tactics.
Luckily, the Supreme Court recently handed down a 5-3 decision in favor of a woman’s right to choose.
Illegal Abortions Make People Unsafe
Illegal Abortions make people unsafe, including the mother, and the fetus. Abortions aren’t going to stop happening if they’re illegal, or unavailable. It’ll just make abortions an underground practice, which is dangerous. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg commented, “When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety,” If people are so concerned about life, wouldn’t they want to make sure that people are as safe as possible? Don’t we have a responsibility to offer people (whatever their gender) the best medical care available? How is that going to happen when desperate women end up resorting to back-alley abortions which could end up killing them?
Forced Sonograms and Fallacious Heartbeats
One of the most disgusting tactics of Radical-Right-Wing lawmakers (also known as the Alt-Right) is to force a woman to undergo a sonogram, and then wait twenty-four hours to receive treatment. This is not medically necessary, and it is criminal to force a sonogram device deep into a woman’s vagina, and force her to view the ultrasound of the fetus, and hear a heartbeat sound, which is no more a reflection of life than if the fetus has toes. A fetus only develops a heartbeat after 5 weeks, and is only the size of a sesame seed at that time.
A fetus with a heartbeat, vs. a fetus with a functioning respiratory system, vs. a fetus with fingernails are all arbitrary distinctions between early and late term abortions. For more information, listen to this podcast from Radiolab.
A Necessary Support System
At the end of the day, if you are contemplating your pregnancy, know that you are the one who will be financially and socially responsible for this baby. We say this because some people decide to have a baby for selfish reasons, some even choose to have a baby because they feel that is the only person who will truly love them. Well, your baby doesn’t owe you love, it’s quite the opposite; you owe your baby everything, from love, to money, to diaper changes, and to staying up until 4 am breastfeeding them. Ultimately, this baby is all on you, and many of your friends who enthusiastically promised to, “help you find pickles and ice cream at 4am” when you were pregnant, will not be there to support you. Some will argue you should carry a fetus to term because your baby needs you, and that’s correct. The problem is, your baby needs you, at your best! Your baby needs you when you are emotionally, financially, and spiritually ready to raise them, and give them the best life you can, and you need to make sure you have the support system you need to take care of them.