Anti-choice lawmakers have long claimed that their attempts to shut down abortion clinics are the result of concerns for human life. But their steadfast opposition to policies that could actually end abortion suggest otherwise. Think we don’t know how to reduce the abortion and unwanted pregnancy rate? Think again. Here are five policies that could absolutely lower abortion rates–all opposed by Republican lawmakers.
Pro-gun lawmakers have long argued that gun ownership is a right, and that any attempts to limit it are therefore unconstitutional. Roe v. Wade established abortion as a right, too, and numerous rulings since then have made it clear that abortion is every bit as enshrined in the Constitution as gun ownership. So what would happen to gun rights if we placed as many restrictions on them as we do on abortion rights? Click here to learn more.
Herbal abortion and home abortion now rank among the top web searches in the sub-category of reproductive rights. That’s not because women are eager to give themselves abortions; it’s because increasingly restrictive measures, public humiliation tactics, long waiting periods, and costly requirements have all pushed women into a desperate conundrum.
A Modern Take on ‘Back Alley’ Abortions
Before Roe vs. Wade, women desperate to end pregnancies were left with few appealing choices. Some threw themselves down flights of stairs or took dangerous poisons. Others resorted to coat hanger abortions.
Today, the Internet offers a bevy of self-styled experts, herbal “healers,” and fake doctors promising the next miracle cure. Some are well-intentioned, drawing upon centuries of tribal wisdom coupled with a little knowledge of plant chemistry. Others are only interested in making a quick buck, at the expense of the lives and health of women seeking abortions.
The result is a mounting public health epidemic. According to economist Seth Stevens-Davidowitz, who analyzes trends in Google searches, women are increasingly searching for terms such as “herbal abortion” and “home abortion.” The rise in these queries was steady between 2004-2008, with a sharp increase during the great Recession. In 2011, they surged again, coinciding with a sudden increase in anti-abortion restrictions.
By 2015, 160,000 queries sought alternatives to clinic abortions. Popular topics included home remedies for abortion, herbal abortions, and abortion-inducing drugs.
Why Abortion Restrictions Only Push Desperate Women to Dangerous Choices
Anti-choice extremists imagine that regulations designed to curtail abortion will somehow convince women to have their babies—or better yet, adopt them out to Christian families. But a barrier to abortion will not change how a woman feels about the pregnancy. Nor will preventing access to abortion suddenly offer a woman the resources she needs to carry the pregnancy to term.
Women have sought abortions for as long as there have been women, and it’s only been over the past 100 or so years that men have tried to restrict this access. Because abortion is a fundamental component of women’s health, women will not easily give up control over their bodies. And that means that abortion restrictions will lead to dangerous abortions that kill women and their babies.
The Zika virus, a mosquito-transmitted infection that attacks the brain cells of fetuses in utero, could become a major public health threat this summer. But Republicans–in spite of their insistence that they care about unborn babies–refuse to do anything about it. Why would Republicans not want to fund Zika research? Most of them are old men that do not get pregnant and their wives are not allowed to go outside the home.
Learn more about the issue by reading our story on the Daily Kos here.
Anti-choice extremists continue to lie to women about the effects of abortion, suggesting that morality has little to do with their movement. These lies are especially prevalent at so-called crisis pregnancy centers. Crisis pregnancy centers draw desperate women in with promises of free reproductive health care and pregnancy tests, then subject them to an onslaught of frightening and misleading information about abortion. “Patients” at these centers may also be told that birth control does not work, that sex outside of marriage is dangerous and wrong, or that women who have abortions are dying in droves. According to a new study of crisis pregnancy centers in Canada, misleading information and overt lies are commonplace at these facilities.
To learn more, follow ACOL’s Daily Kos story on the issue here.
Angel Dillard, a woman who openly admits to threatening at least one abortion provider, will not face any penalties for her actions. The news comes in the wake of the re-sentencing of Dr. George Tiller’s killer. Anti-choice terrorists routinely get away with their actions as defense lawyers use tactics such as jury nullification to achieve not guilty verdicts. To learn more about the Angel Dillard story, as well as its connection to Dr. Tiller’s murder and to other acts of anti-choice terrorism, read ACOL’s Daily Kos story on the issue here.
It does not matter that abortion remains affordable. Well-meaning anti-choicers often try to “support” women considering abortion by offering them baby clothes, used cribs, and other inexpensive baby items. This gesture obscures the reality that pregnancy is one of the most costly events a woman will ever face. Yet the same people who claim to want to save fetuses at any cost often refuse to support any program that could support women who opt not to abort.
New figures from the Health Care Cost Institute bring the financial perils of an unexpected pregnancy into the fore of the abortion debate.
What Does it Really Cost to Have a Baby?
It’s insulting to think that baby clothes and a few bottles will convince women in dire financial straits to keep their babies. These small items are among the least expensive a pregnant woman will have to buy. No single figure can account for all costs associated with pregnancy and childbirth, especially since health care options and personal preferences vary greatly. But consider the following:
For a woman without insurance, the average cost of prenatal care is around $2,000. This doesn’t take into account ultrasound screenings, care for common complications, and the premium costs a woman can expect to pay for a well-respected provider.
An uncomplicated vaginal birth costs around $10,000, while C-sections can cost $23,000 or more.
Women facing unexpected pregnancies, particularly if they have unsupportive partners, are at a higher risk of postpartum depression and other pregnancy complications. Mental health treatment can cost several hundred dollars a month. Research shows that hiring a doula can prevent common pregnancy complications and reduce the risk of postpartum depression. Yet few poor women can afford this helpful luxury.
The first year of a baby’s life costs around $12,000. After taxes, this figure actually exceeds what a woman working full-time at minimum wage can expect to make each year.
The Rising Costs of Health Care
These expenses, though stunning, don’t reveal the full scale of the problem. Across the nation, health care costs are rising at a rate that far out-paces wages. Worse still, a woman may pay vastly different rates for the same procedure depending upon where she lives. Though the average ultrasound costs $268—roughly the amount a woman working minimum wage can expect to earn in a week—women living in states such as Alaska pay significantly more.
Women do not typically choose where they live, and for women facing financial problems, moving is rarely an option. When medical costs are rising so quickly that something as seemingly inconsequential as where a woman lives could push her to an abortion, something is wrong.
Abortion as a Financial Necessity
In the minds of anti-choicers, women who seek abortions are monsters who hate their babies. They get abortions for the fun of it, with little to no thought of the consequences. Abortion, to them, is a mystery; women’s reasons don’t make sense. Abortion must be caused by Satan.
Back here in reality, Satan has nothing to do with it. Women overwhelmingly seek abortions for financial reasons. And abortion continues to be a good deal. The average cost of an abortion is just $470—a small increase from the $175 women could expect to pay in the 1970s.
On some level, anti-choicers know this. Rather than making motherhood and health care affordable, though, they’ve responded by trying to drive up the costs of abortion. Requiring doctors to have hospital privileges, long waiting periods, and ultrasound requirements all increase the cost of abortion. These costs pale in comparison to the toll of motherhood, so women will likely continue to seek abortions. And Republican lawmakers will continue to attempt to penalize the poorest, most vulnerable women for doing so.
Abortion Clinics Online is the world’s most reliable abortion search engine. To find a safe, legal and affordable abortion at a clinic near you, click here.
In recent weeks, it’s been nearly impossible to escape media coverage of the news that medical errors are now the third-leading cause of death in the United States. It’s enough to leave anyone terrified–especially women seeking abortions, who are often subject to a litany of false claims about abortion safety. So is abortion safe? The answer is a resounding yes. In a cultural climate where medicine is increasingly harming people, abortion remains one of the safest medical procedures a woman can undergo. And in a country where maternal mortality is rising rather than shrinking, abortion may be the best option for avoiding the clear dangers associated with a problematic childbirth culture.
To learn more about the research, read ACOL’s Daily Kos piece on the topic here.
Anti-choice extremists spend a lot of time lying to women about the effects of abortion. Post-abortion syndrome is not a real medical diagnosis, and there is no evidence linking breast cancer to abortion. Yet the lies continue.
What we do know is that women denied abortions face a cascade of medical, social, and psychological ill effects. From domestic abuse to poor reproductive health, being denied an abortion can have long-lasting effects on a woman’s well-being. If anti-choice activists really cared about women, they’d care about these issues just as much. But for them, life seems to end at birth, and the lives of women and children who are denied abortions don’t matter at all.
In the wake of Oklahoma’s abortion ban, recent research provides clues about what might happen to women denied abortions. To read the research and learn more about the ban, read ACOL’s story on Daily Kos here.
A year ago, a Donald Trump presidency seemed like little more than a bad joke from a worse dream. Now it’s looking more and more possible. Some polls even have him beating a Democrat in the General Election. So would a Donald Trump presidency be as bad as it seems? Absolutely. Trump’s long history of abuse toward women, his beliefs on abortion, and his authoritarian approach toward virtually every political issue render him a danger to anyone who cares about women, choice, or freedom.
To learn more, read ACOL’s piece on the topic here.