Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Study: Abortions more common (and dangerous) when outlawed

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Abortion: My Mind, My Body, My Choice

This is a year old, but still relevant as ever. A joint study by the Guttmacher Institute (Planned Parenthood’s research arm) and the World Health Organization reaffirms the obvious: Not only do anti-abortion regulations do nothing to reduce the number of women who terminate unwanted pregnancies anyway, but it actually results in more abortions taking place around the world when more women become pregnant due to a lack of access to birth control:

Abortion rates are highest where the procedure is illegal, according to a new study. The study also found nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, with the vast majority of unsafe abortions occurring in developing countries.

As for the overall global abortion rate, it remained virtually unchanged from 2003 to 2008, at about 28 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 4 - a total of about 43.8 million abortions - the study found. The rate had previously been dropping since 1995.

The new global abortion study - that's published in the Jan. 19 issue of The Lancet - is from the U.S.-based Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization. Researchers found a link between higher abortion rates and regions with more restrictive legislation, such as in Latin America and Africa. They also found that 95 to 97 percent of abortions in those regions were unsafe.

Experts couldn't say whether more liberal laws led to fewer procedures, but said good access to birth control in those countries resulted in fewer unwanted pregnancies.

Unsafe abortions are responsible for about 47,000 needless deaths every year, according to 2008 estimates. But of course, that’s not something the “pro-life” camp really worries about, given how its opposition to reproductive freedom is primarily (if not entirely) rooted in controlling and punishing women for possessing sexual agency.

That’s why anti-abortion arguments inevitably fall apart under a minimum of scrutiny. If they actually cared about either women or their fetishized fetuses, their first priority would be to crack down on unwanted pregnancies – which is done by providing easier access to birth control. Y’know, since that’s kinda what contraception’s all about. The fact that they instead fight tooth and nail against birth control is just fundamentally revealing about where their true priorities lie.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)