Abortion Research the Right Doesn’t Want You to Know About
The right specializes in false science that tells women abortion causes breast cancer, leads to irreversible trauma, and shatters lives. Study after study has debunked this notion. In a world where women are made to feel ashamed and fearful of abortion, however, it’s easy for stigmatizing fake data to stick. Since the Supreme Court affirmed abortion as a Constitutional right, a few things have remained certain. Abortion saves lives. Abortion is safe. Abortion gives women more control over their lives. The right doesn’t want people to read real abortion research because that abortion research universally confirms the benefits of abortion. Here are five pieces of abortion research anti-choicers don’t want you to know.
Unsafe abortions are almost always illegal abortions. Abortion prohibitions and regulations push the procedure underground, forcing women to turn to unskilled providers, or even providers with no medical training. A 2014 study found there are at least 22 million unsafe abortions each year. These procedures claim the lives of 22,000 women, making unsafe abortion a leading cause of maternal mortality. The aftermath of unsafe abortions exacts a hefty toll, costing the health care system millions and disabling thousands of women.
Some states have enacted so-called “informed consent” laws. The ostensible purpose of these regulations is to give women accurate information with which to make abortion decisions. The reality is that these laws often require physicians to highlight frightening information and gloss over medical facts. According to a Rutgers study, 31% of the information states require abortion doctors to give patients is verifiably inaccurate. Women are more likely to receive inaccurate information in the first trimester, when abortion is both safer and more common.
According to a University of Kansas study, closing abortion clinics can also limit women’s access to preventative health care. The study found that funding cuts designed to target abortion providers almost inevitably target other services, too. This lowers access to preventative care. It also disproportionately affects poor and vulnerable women.
Putting a human face to an abortion story can change people’s minds. A husband who learns his wife had a life-saving abortion may soften his stance. A father whose daughter is facing an unplanned pregnancy at 13 might suddenly become pro-choice. And a man who knows that giving birth will destroy his sister’s ability to get out of poverty may encourage her to have an abortion. Research published in 2014 suggests that the stigma of abortion among conservative groups may mean that anti-choicers don’t hear these stories. Liberals often hear stories of abortion from loved ones, however, and these stories confirm their commitment to safe and legal abortion. Because anti-choicers don’t hear abortion stories, they may believe their loved ones have never had abortions. This enables them to continue othering and stigmatizing people who seek abortions.
Many women seeking abortions are terrified of dying or suffering a permanent disability. The anti-choice movement has been very effective at convincing women abortion is dangerous, and even lethal. Yet abortion remains safer than almost every other medical procedure. It is far safer than pregnancy or childbirth. In a study of more than 54,000 abortions, just 126 produced significant complications. Even in these cases, doctors were normally able to manage the woman’s complications. None of the women in the study died.