Tag Archives: abortion
In December, when the election of Donald Trump still felt like a nightmare, we offered five strategies to fight anti-choice laws and rhetoric. Now that President Trump is a frightening reality, it’s more important than ever to defend choice. The battle might seem like a losing one, but Trump and his administration specialize in demoralization. By making things seem hopeless, they hope to subvert the progressive will to keep fighting.
Don’t let them win. Here are five things you can do right now to fight for reproductive freedom. Fight back against anti-choice!
As states across the nation move to constrain women’s abortion rights, U.S. maternal mortality continues to rise. The trend stands in contrast to other nations, which has seen sharp drops in deaths during and after pregnancy.
Republican’s haven’t made a peep about the upswing in maternal mortality. They have, however, moved to increase it by working to slash social safety net programs, remove maternity coverage mandated in the Affordable Care Act, limit access to birth control, and force women to carry to term even pregnancies resulting from rape. Republicans’ stark opposition to any policy that could lower abortion rates or reduce maternal mortality suggests their anti-choice politics have nothing to do with protecting life.
A study that’s gotten little press attention quietly argues that increased access to abortion could save women’s lives. In the midst of a maternity care crisis, the research argues, fewer—not more—abortion regulations could mean the difference between life and death. Republicans continue to attempt to regulate the practice, in spite of data suggesting regulations harm women.
Saving Women’s Lives With Abortion
The study—a doctoral thesis that looked at maternal mortality across the globe—emphasizes that unsafe abortion kills tens of thousands each year. In 2015, more than 300,000 women worldwide died from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
The dissertation’s recommendations include:
Increasing access to knowledge about abortion. When providers understand abortion and the reasons women seek it, they are more likely to offer quality care.
Allowing midwives, not just doctors, to perform abortions. Research suggests that increasing the number of abortion providers can improve outcomes and lower the number of unsafe abortions.
Increasing access to contraceptives.
Improving women’s access to chemical abortions, including the so-called abortion pill.
Educating medical students about abortion laws. Doing so reduces stigma and increases empathy toward women who seek abortions.
Republican Anti-Abortion Measures Can Kill Women
Pro-life sentiments seem only to extend to the fetus—not the woman who carries it, and certainly not the baby after he or she is born. Their anti-abortion maneuvers read like an exact mirror image of recommendations to save women’s lives.
State legislatures have enacted measures to:
Require doctors to provide women with medically inaccurate abortion information.
Limit which providers can perform abortions, and in which contexts.
Decrease access to the abortion pill.
Force women to carry pregnancies to term, even if those pregnancies threaten their lives.
Under a Trump administration, these laws are likely headed to the Supreme Court, where abortion rights face an uncertain future. As men fight over what women can do with their bodies, women’s lives hang in the balance.
Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, has never ruled on abortion. So what does the nominee believe about choice? He ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby in the landmark decision about access to contraceptives. His other rulings point to a staunchly conservative judge. Learn more with our Daily Kos post.
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.
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.
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.