Today’s Guttmacher Institute report on abortion in the lives of America’s women punctures many of the false fronts willfully created by opponents of reproductive health.
First, the report demonstrates conclusively the promise of prevention. Access and the means for contraception make a critical difference in the number of unintended pregnancy. Once again for those on the right who can’t seem to get it—if the United States and the world is to reduce the need for recourse to abortion, prevention—not protests or restrictive laws—is paramount. This means comprehensive sexuality education; public support for contraceptive and other reproductive health services (through Title X and Medicaid in the U.S.); mandatory insurance coverage for contraceptives; Plan B and all of the other empirically demonstrated means of reducing unplanned pregnancies.
Second, and related to all of the above, Guttmacher’s research shows what our intuition knows—money makes a huge difference. Poor women are four times more likely to experience an unplanned pregnancy.
Third, the report refutes a number of false claims about the physical and psychological effects of abortion. As a variety of the fact vs. fiction entries on this site make clear, an array of claims have been made by anti-RH advocacy groups through non-peer-reviewed “science.” Virtually all of these claims have been taken up and thoroughly debunked by impeccable scientific bodies and researchers. That ink has to be spent even discussing unsubstantiated claims about abortion and breast cancer or abortion and depression is a credit to the power of obfuscation and misrepresentation.
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Today’s report reinforces the Guttmacher Institute’s reputation as a key intellectual leader in the field and champion of empirical data and the scientific method. It also reinforces what the reproductive health community has been saying over and over and over again—investing in reproductive health saves women’s lives and prevention, not restrictive abortion laws, are the means of reducing abortion.