Criminalizing Abortion Doesn’t Stop It
Truth is, I don’t really like abortion, and I wish that no woman ever felt a need to get one. At the same time I know that accidents happen, mistakes happen, that women become desperate, and that one third of American women have an abortion at some point in their lives.
I also know that criminalizing abortion doesn’t stop it.
A global study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Guttmacher Institute found that abortion rates are about the same in countries where it is legal and where it is not.
That’s because women seek out unqualified abortionists or try to do the job themselves. They are more likely to die or become injured or unable to bear children later, when they’re ready to be good parents.
Deaths among women seeking abortion decreased 90% when it was made legal in South Africa. And in Ethiopia, where the procedure is banned, abortion is the second-leading cause of death among women admitted to hospitals.
Instead of self-righteously condemning abortion, and making laws restricting access, why not do something that keeps women from feeling a need to get one?
So what prevents abortion?
Interestingly, the more openly a society discusses sexuality, the fewer abortions you get. After all, young people are more educated on their bodies and contraception – which is more available. Some parents worry that the sex talk will encourage experimentation, yet the reverse is true. Kids are less likely to become sexually active, and they are more responsible when the do.
Not surprisingly, the WHO global study found that that the best way to reduce abortion is to make contraception more widely available. When contraception increased in Eastern Europe after the fall of Communism, abortion rates fell by 50%.
Meanwhile, in the US 93% of woman having an abortion are adults between the ages of 18-48, and half were using birth control.
Unfortunately, women don’t always use contraception flawlessly. Let’s say you’re on the pill and you remember to take it six hours late? Better use a backup because you are now at serious risk of pregnancy. If you miss two days the pill is considered ineffective.
Some only use condoms, leaving 15% of users getting pregnant, best case. Condoms combined with spermicide are a lot safer.
Long-lasting birth control is best, like surgery, an IUD or an implant inserted into the arm.
Secondary or emergency contraception also bring down abortion rates. But plenty of religious folks fight it, along with regular contraception.
I don’t get why those who yell loudest about the evils of abortion work so hard to take out the tools that prevent it. They worry over the evils of sex outside procreation. But abortion is better?
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Posted on December 6, 2013, in feminism, reproductive rights, sexism, women and tagged abortion, feminism, pro choice, pro life, reproductive rights, sexism, women. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.