Category Archives: Abortion Issues
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.
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.
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.
In the dystopian world of anti-choice politics, there’s a Holocaust happening in doctor’s offices and women’s uteruses across the nation. Abortion is, to them, a more serious human rights violation than the killing of actual living children, than the suffering children in poverty face, than the painful realities of domestic violence.
Republicans have long struggled to explain why so many women want abortions. After all, it’s simply untenable to acknowledge the roles of unaffordable health care, rape, domestic violence, abusive families, poverty, and the stress of motherhood in abortion.
In one fantasy, women are murderers who should be punished for abortion. Their partners apparently had no role in these miraculous virginal conceptions. In the second fantastical explanation, people who believe in concepts like legitimate rape insist that women are hapless, ignorant victims who don’t really know what they want. We don’t know how our bodies work, you see, and certainly don’t understand that we have alternatives. Give us a few baby clothes and that’s all we’ll need to care for a child from birth through 18! Better yet, adopt that baby out to a Christian couple. The mother’s feelings don’t matter once the baby is gone.
The concept of post-abortion syndrome derives from this second approach. Women are victims. They are weaklings forced into abortion by uncaring partners, and Republicans completely ignorant of even basic reproductive biology have assigned themselves the task of educating us about the agony of post-abortion syndrome. Abortion clinics are trapped in the crosshairs with abortion clinics from rural Georgia to uber-liberal abortion clinics in San Francisco stuck telling women that, no, abortion won’t actually ruin their lives.
So is post-abortion syndrome real? Is the pro-choice movement denying an epidemic of abortion-induced mental health problems. Not a chance.
What the Research Says About Post-Abortion Syndrome
The American Psychological Association has no official position on abortion, endeavoring instead to provide people with comprehensive and reliable mental health information. Its Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion set out to assess the mental health effects of abortion. The Task Force concluded that there is no credible evidence that abortions cause women any specific mental health problems, and no research to support the existence of so-called post-abortion syndrome.
What they found instead is that the circumstances that lead women to abortion are what contribute to mental health problems after abortion. In other words, women already living in poverty, facing domestic violence, or concerned about their futures are more vulnerable to mental illness both before and after abortion. This supports the pro-choice position that sometimes women’s life circumstances are simply not conducive to good mental health or effective parenting.
So why do so many people believe in post-abortion syndrome? What about all those studies? The APA’s task force found that each of the study had serous methodological flaws. In some cases, these flaws were due to deliberate attempts to bias the results.
What About Women Who Grieve Their Abortions?
Women can and do feel bad about their abortions. Some even develop depression. Denying their suffering is not feminist, and certainly not pro-choice. Pro-choicers support women’s health and welfare, and the movement to keep abortion safe and legal does not depend on abortion causing no problems in any woman. After all, as many as a third of women suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after giving birth. That’s a significantly higher trauma rate than even anti-choicers say is associated with abortion, and no one thinks childbearing should be illegal.
Suffering painful emotions after an abortion is just not the same as a post-abortion syndrome. Women also become sad and anxious after divorces—including divorces they wanted, including divorces from abusive spouses, including divorces that may have saved their lives or their children’s well-being—but no one calls this post-divorce syndrome. It’s simply a reaction to the circumstances surrounding a stressful life event. Women deserve help after all stressful life events, but telling a woman that a single choice she made is the source of her psychological suffering is abusive.
This false concern about women’s welfare is just one of many ways anti-choicers co-opt feminist rhetoric for their own ends. Their concern for women ends as soon as a woman agrees not to get an abortion. That’s why these are generally the same folks who believe poor women should get no welfare and the government should not fund or regulate health care. Don’t be fooled. Anti-choicers don’t care about the suffering of women any more than they care about the lives of children after they are born.
Abortion Clinics Online is the largest directory of safe and legal abortion clinics. If you are considering an abortion, ACOL offers numerous resources. To learn more, click here.
Abortion extremists have taken their fight to such extremes that women may now have to report any evidence of a miscarriage. Because most miscarriages occur before a woman even knows she’s pregnant, this means that laws regulating miscarriage could actually criminalize menstruation–in other words, simply experiencing something most women experience now subjects women in states such as Indiana to draconian regulations.
Enter Periods for Pence. The movement is fighting back against extremist legislation by phoning Indiana state legislators with information about their periods. After all, if Republicans think they know better than women’s doctors, shouldn’t women be able to call those same Republicans seeking information about their bodies? The result has been a protest that is both hilarious and profound. To learn more about Periods for Pence and why anti-abortion regulations could affect women who intend never to have an abortion, read ACOL’s piece about the topic here.
Author, Katha Pollitt wrote Abortion in American History in the May 1997 issue of The Atlantic.
Ms. Pollitt’s article, Abortion in American History details the question of when human life begins, the personhood of the fetus – moral and legal status, the acceptance and non-acceptance of terminating a pregnancy and the philosophical grounds for each stance. She also covers the interests of the state, medical profession, assorted religious beliefs, and much more.
This is a must read article – Abortion in American History