Abortion. Whether you agree with it or not, it is still legally allowed in many places all over the world. When you go to get the info about abortion, you’re often pulled into the cross hairs of biased information from both sides of the debate. How can you tell what’s true and what’s not?
It’s hard. Trust me, I know. And it’s even harder to not be biased about the topic. No matter what side of the debate you’re on, you should know the facts. And I don’t mean biased information, I mean the cold hard facts. Things that you should know from both sides of the debate.
Again, please keep in mind that I based all of this on the most unbiased facts I could find on the topic. Near the end of the article, you will find a couple of facts that are slightly more opinion based - I want you to know from the beginning that those are coming.
15 Roe v. Wade
You probably recognize the case of Roe v Wade. It’s a landmark decision by the US Supreme Court on the issue of Abortion. This decision deemed that abortion is a fundamental right in the United States, and makes it so that any laws attempting to restrict it to the standard of strict scrutiny.
It’s the case that gave women the right to choose for themselves what they do with their own bodies. Before then, women had to, more often than not, turn to illegal ways to have an abortion if they needed one, which could leave them badly wounded and even dead.
14 What Roe v. Wade Means
However, Roe versus Wade does not give women the unlimited right to an abortion. Key word there is unlimited. Roe v. Wade took into consideration a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body and the states interest in protecting potential life.
In the case of Roe v. Wade, abortion is legalized up until the point where the fetus can survive outside of the womb on it’s own, which is around the age of 24 weeks. After the age of viability, Roe v. Wade lets each state ban abortion except in the cases when necessary to protect the life or health of the mother.
13 How to Reduce the Need for Abortion?
It’s easier than you think, and doesn’t call for a ban. If you reduce the rate of accidental pregnancy, you reduce the need for abortions. Almost half, about 49%, of all pregnancies in the United States are accidental. That is a lot of accidental pregnancies. Nearly half of those ‘accidents’ result in an abortion.
If there was better access to birth control, including the morning after pill, and honest, age appropriate sexual education, plus better family planning services, we would see the number of unintended pregnancies, and thus abortions, decrease drastically.
12 Legal Abortions are Safe
The risk of complication from a legally performed abortion, one performed by a doctor in a medical facility, is actually very minimal. Less than 1% of women have a major complication. In fact, legal abortions are safer than an appendectomy, a tonsillectomy, or even a simple shot of penicillin.
In the past, the majority of dangers came, and still come from, getting an abortion done illegally or outside of a medical facility. This is because there would be a large danger of infection, which could lead to death. Done legally, though, advanced medicine means that it can be done safely in a sterile environment.
11 When Are Abortions Performed?
9 out of 10 abortions take place early in pregnancy. Over 88% of abortions take place during the first trimester, and less than 2% are done after 21 weeks. In fact, one-third of abortions occur at 6 weeks of pregnancy or earlier. There are many options given at this early stage. Up until 10 weeks of pregnancy, a medication is given which causes the body to expel the fetus.
After 10 weeks, the Aspiration method is used. Most women are fine after taking the abortion pill, minus some who get nauseous. At home, a second pill is taken, either placed in the cheek or placed vaginally. After a week, a follow up appointment is scheduled to ensure that expulsion has been completed.
10 What Women Opt for Abortion?
35% of women will have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old. Women from all walks of life, and varying ages, ethnicities, religious background, and income levels, can choose abortion, which is one of the most common surgical procedures. Of those who have an abortion, 57% have a college education, 88% are from metropolitan areas, and 57% are low-income.
Most of them, 88%, are unmarried, 67% were never married, and 16% are separated, divorced, or widowed. It may surprise you, but 13% of those who have an abortion are Evangelical Christians, and 27% are Catholic.
Also, keep in mind, some women who are raped also seek abortion in order to end a pregnancy that they did not ask for in any way in the first place. And unfortunately, because the stats for rapes reported are not the same as how many actually occur, there is no way to know the percentage of how many abortions are a product of a rape.
9 Women's Right to Access
Access to abortion is actually limited. In fact, over 87% of all US counties have no abortion providers. And it gets more and more limited by the year. In some states, access to abortion has been all but taken away completely, resulting in some cases having to go all the way to the courts.
Since 2011, state politicians have enacted more than 200 restrictions that make it harder for women to have safe and legal abortion care. That means that in the last three years we’ve had more restrictions placed than has been placed in the last decade.
8 Many Religions Support the Right to Choose
Yep, it’s true. Religion supports a woman’s choice. Well, a good amount do, anyhow. Religions that support the right to choose include, but are not in any way limited to, American Baptist Churches, Episcopal Churches, Presbyterian Churches, The United Church of Christ, The Unitarian Universalist Association, Conservative Judaism, and Reform Judaism.
This does not include the ‘Pagan’ religions, such as Wicca, and other religions such as Buddhism. In fact, only 23% of U.S. Catholics believe that abortion should be illegal no matter what. Abortion itself is generally not a religious issue, since you don’t have to believe in God in order to believe in universal human rights.
7 The Truth About Abortion and Breast Cancer
Anti-choice groups often incorrectly claim there to be a link between breast cancer and abortion. This is 100% false. The issue has been studied exhaustively and the vast bulk of evidence from unbiased sources shows that there is no such link.
In 2004, a study was published in the Lancet, which is a widely respected medical journal, and it analyzed data from over 50 other studies. The conclusion? Women have no increased risk of breast cancer if they have an abortion. The National Cancer Institute and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agree routinely that there is no link between breast cancer and abortion. It’s purely a scare tactic.
6 In States Without Parental-Involvement Laws...
In states without parental-involvement laws 61% of parents know of their daughter’s decision to end a pregnancy. Young people should be and are often encouraged to talk to their parents about their important medical issues, including abortion. Many young people do in fact go to their parents.
Unfortunately in those cases where for some reason teens can't get parental or custodial consent, such as cases of incest or abuse, a one-size fits all law won’t help them. It would simply put them in danger. There are way too many potential negative outcomes and way too many dysfunctional families to even attempt to make a law that covers and protects everyone.
In the states with parental protection laws, it makes it very hard for kids in abusive situations to get help.
5 Illegal Abortions
If abortion is illegal it won’t stop abortions, it will just make it more difficult for women to receive safe care. In fact, laws have never actually stopped abortions. All it will do is endanger some people who face a life and death choice. It could even push some to suicide, like in El Salvador, where suicide is the cause of death for 57 percent of pregnant females aged between 10 and 19.
All these laws that some politicians want to pass will push women to choose extreme measures to end unwanted pregnancies. According to the World Health Organization, every year 21.6 million women have an unsafe abortion, and of these, 18.5 of those are in developing countries.
Complications from these unsafe abortions kill 47,000 women every year, and these women make up nearly 13% of all maternal deaths.
4 Women are Not Coerced into Abortion at Clinics
Sometimes, a woman will in fact be pressured into abortion by her parents, partner, or friends. She will be told that her only decent option is to have an abortion. That’s why most clinics actually provide compassionate counseling to their patients to help them reach the choice they feel the most comfortable with.
In fact, these clinics often charge far less for their services than physicians in other specialties. Many of them work, fighting to give women care that they feel the women deserve, despite daily threats of violence and death. And these clinics often do not only provide abortion services, they provide birth control and regular gynecological health care to these women on a regular basis.
3 Other Family Planning Methods
Adoption is available, but that choice is up to the woman. Some women do choose adoption, but many choose to be a single parent. Adoption is a very difficult route to choose. It's emotionally devastating for some to give their newborn to someone with no knowledge of how things will end up. Yes, the child will have a chance at life, but unless there is a guaranteed adoption, there is no minimum waiting period before the child is adopted.
Some kids live out their whole lives in the child protective services system. Either way, it takes an emotional toll on the mother. It’s not easy to hand your child over, and it isn't an alternative. The alternative to abortion is giving birth. The alternative to raising a child is adoption. They are in fact different scenarios that can happen during the same pregnancy.
2 Reproductive Choice Can Be Life or Death
Many women who are faced with deadly consequences in pregnancy choose to live, and that is not selfish. Statistically, teen girls are five times more likely to have consequences that lead to death. Not only do 70,000 girls ages 15-19 die each year from pregnancy and childbirth, but their babies have a 60% higher chance of mortality as well.
There are also some circumstances that require the fetus to be brought into the world extremely early...sometimes right on the line of actual viability. Some people want to take away all choices that women have when it comes to their health.
1 Restrictions Would NOT End With Abortion
Some of the same people who think abortion is wrong, also argue that contraception, which is used to prevent unwanted pregnancies and actually plays a role in lowering abortion rates, is wrong and should be illegal. These people will gladly deny women the protection they want and need based on this belief.
There are even legislative acts that allow pharmacists to deny women their birth control by quoting their beliefs. By restricting something like abortion, you hit a slippery slope. More restrictions, ones that stop women from getting pills that do more than just prevent pregnancy, can follow.
Honestly, no one knows the reason someone chooses to go through with an abortion. It can be something as dire as an unreported rape, or something as life threatening as cancer. No woman deserves to have her choice thrown in her face by someone who has not walked a mile in her shoes. Not in a similar situation, but in her exact shoes and her exact situation.
Abortion is a choice. It’s a choice made by the woman, which is her right. Women have reasons for doing this. These are all facts.
I understand both viewpoints, but in the end, and this is personal opinion, it’s all about rights. I would not and could not abort a child, but I want my daughters to have the right to make that choice for themselves.