Do You Have Any Children?

Melissa Busch

For many, it’s an easy yes or no answer. Yet , I consistently find myself hesitating to respond. Why is it so difficult to talk about my adoption experience which was amazing, positive, and the best possible choice I could have made at the time?

“Do
you have any children…?”  It’s such a typical question to
ask someone, and for many it’s an easy yes or no answer. 
For me though, I consistently find myself hesitating to respond. 
Generally when speaking to strangers, casual acquaintances, and even
new friends, I opt to answer “no.”  On occasion, I brave the
consequences and answer the truth: “Yes, I’m a birthmother.” 
This, of course, has to be followed by an explanation that I once was
pregnant and chose to place my child in an open adoption, that I have
a close relationship with my now 12-year-old daughter and her adoptive
family; essentially, I am a mother, I have a child, but I am not parenting.

My
decision to plan an adoption did not come instantly, nor did it come
out of any disapproval of abortion.  Early in my pregnancy, my
daughter’s birthfather and I were deeply in love and felt that despite
our age, limited resources and our families’ disapproval, that we
could parent.  We didn’t want to consider other options at that
time, we just wanted to parent. 
For nearly eight months, that was the plan I worked towards
– that was 8 months of doing all I could to navigate through the world
of pending parenthood, but continuously feeling that
what I could give emotionally, physically and financially
was not enough to be the kind of parent I wanted to be.  By the
time I came to open adoption, I had
explored every possible avenue and option, and I knew with absolute
certainty that adoption was the best choice for me, my
daughter, and everyone else involved.

The
process of choosing a family to parent my child, of meeting and getting
to know them, and of working together to
plan what our families would look like
as we blended them into one was both empowering and reassuring. 
Granted, the placement of my daughter was decidedly the most difficult
and heart-wrenching experience I have had,
but it came with equal amounts of joy and excitement, knowing that I
would always be a part of her life, watching her grow and thrive, and
being included in her family that I respected and admired.  Our
relationship has grown over the years
– her family is my family, our time together is always
special and yet totally natural, and
my daughter has grown up knowing exactly who I am and what my place
is in her life.  For my daughter, her brother, her parents, and
myself, adoption has created our family,
and there is nothing strange, scary, secretive or shameful about it.

So
why is it so difficult to talk about my adoption experience (which was
amazing, positive, and has continued to feel like the best possible
choice I could have made at the time) outside of the adoption community? 
For the same reason I don’t openly talk about my experience choosing
to have an abortion many years later (also a positive experience that
I have not regretted). The stigma that accompanies pregnancy
choices is not limited to abortion.  I have felt shamed by the
widespread silence around adoption in the same way that I have felt
silenced by the social stigma and shame around abortion.

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I
know I am not alone, and yet there has been such a political and public
effort to divide my experiences into two camps (i.e., when faced with
unplanned pregnancy there are pro-choice, liberal, secular women who
have abortions and then there are pro-life, conservative, religious
women who plan adoptions; both groups may parent, but this choice also
comes with its fair share of stigmas and judgments if made under socially
unacceptable circumstances, like being a young, single, or impoverished). 
The truth about me, and my experience, is that I don’t “fit” in
these boxes: I am young, educated, liberal, a whole-hearted supporter
of access to safe and legal abortion – I am a birthmother, I have
had an abortion, and some day I hope to be a parent.  The labels
that have been politically and socially imparted, and widely accepted,
do an incredible disservice to the conversation around pregnancy, parenting,
abortion and adoption, by over-simplifying and dismissing the lived
experiences of women and their loved ones.

This
is where I think the discussion of common-ground has potential to break
down the artificial divides that currently segregate pregnancy decisions
and the women who make them.  There are not separate women who
have abortions, who plan adoptions and who decide to parent; these are
experiences that can and do happen on a continuum in any woman’s life,
depending on the circumstances of that moment in time.  As a birthmother,
and someone who is fully invested in adoption being included in the
conversation around pregnancy options, I think it is
essential to reclaim adoption. Advocating for
adoption should not be about decreasing the number of abortions, it
is not just a pro-life choice – it is a legitimate pregnancy option
that is not owned by any political party, religion, or social
movement.  The question is not “why don’t more women choose
adoption instead of abortion?” but rather, “why don’t more
women feel that adoption is even an option at all?”

There
is an incredible lack of education around adoption, and perhaps more
specifically about how adoption has changed.  Historically, adoption
actually did hurt women in many of the same ways that anti-abortion
activists now allege that abortion hurts women.  Women were traumatized
– forced into situations of “giving away their babies” to complete
strangers and told to never look back.  These women often lived
with years of unresolved guilt, with no avenue to grieve their losses,
and no information about what happened with their children.  These
adoption practices created silence, secrecy, shame, fear and regret. 

While
the historical model is not how adoption is typically
practiced today, the stigma of being the “type of woman” who would
“just give her baby away” (now that other options are legally available
and socially acceptable) carries on.  Think of the movie Juno,
true it was funny and hip, but it absolutely perpetuated the stereotype
of a detached teenage girl that couldn’t wait to get rid of the baby
she decided to place for adoption.  The lack of education around
what the real experiences of birthmothers are, and how those
experiences, values and circumstances shape their choices and lives,
is profound.  Further, a public understanding of genuinely open
adoption, which has revolutionized adoption practices and the experiences
of all parties involved, is completely lacking.

Even
if we educate and open the conversation around adoption, how do we bring
about the change that is necessary?  Part of the difficulty with
creating a new understanding of adoption – including the women who
chose it, the families who adopt, and the children who are adopted –
is combating archaic adoption practices that not only reinforce negative
stereotypes, but also do an incredible disservice to what adoption can
be – that is, adoption is a legitimate pregnancy option for all
women faced with a pregnancy decision, regardless of whether they identify
as “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” religious or not, conservative
or liberal… In the face of a pregnancy decision, the women who choose
adoption feel no more part of the political discussion
around it then the women who choose abortion feel about the
political rhetoric characterizing their decision.

In
order to implement broad change and understanding of adoption, there
must be a focus on creating standardized policies and practices that
protect all parts of the adoption triad (birthparents, adoptive parents,
and children) and respect that adoption is a woman’s choice, which
she must be given power over in order to do what she feels is best for
her and her family.  These practices would include:

Pro-choice agencies
that support a woman’s right to choice and access to all options –
while it is not essential for the potential birth- or adoptive parents
to subscribe to a particular value around abortion, it is absolutely
essential that the agencies working with pregnant women and their loved
ones not be in a position of coercion based on disapproval of abortion.
 

  • Pro-choice agencies
    that support a woman’s right to choice and access to all options –
    while it is not essential for the potential birth- or adoptive parents
    to subscribe to a particular value around abortion, it is absolutely
    essential that the agencies working with pregnant women and their loved
    ones not be in a position of coercion based on disapproval of abortion.
  • Access to free options
    counseling, regardless of the pregnancy outcome – again,
    it is imperative
    that pregnant women who contact an adoption agency to discuss their
    pregnancy options not feel pressured or coerced into making a decision
    the agency may see as “right.”
  • Birth families’
    ability to see all prospective adoptive families (without preemptive
    selection or “matching” from an agency) – this speaks to the heart
    of honoring women’s ability to choose what is best for them. 
    This means including gay & lesbian couples, single people, and all
    potential adoptive families who meet the criteria of the background
    check, home study, etc.
  • Legally-binding
    open-adoption agreements – if a woman chooses to plan an adoption,
    she should be able to work in concert with her loved ones and the adoptive
    family chosen to create a legally binding adoption agreement that feels
    appropriate for both birth and adoptive families.  These types
    of documents serve as a protection for birth families, but also serve
    as a launching point for open, honest discussion between birthparents
    and adoptive parents about their expectations for the adoption, their
    level of comfort with contact, and any other issues that feel important
    to address as they make a plan for their family.  These agreements
    serve to outline a minimum level of contact between families,
    but are not a limitation.
  • Access to free,
    ongoing counseling and support, as needed, for both birth and adoptive
    families.  It is important to acknowledge that families created
    through adoption are no more immune to struggle or potential conflict
    then any other family.  Access to counseling from adoption professionals
    assures that families are able to work through difficult times they
    may encounter with guidance and support.

 

Without
education, enforceable policies, and standards of practices to which
adoption agencies can be held accountable, pregnant women, potential
birthparents and adoptive parents will feel unsafe pursing this option. 
Furthermore, many healthcare providers, educators and pregnancy options
counselors will not feel confident or comfortable discussing adoption
with their clients, or referring to adoption agencies, until they too
can be assured that adoption practices will not be manipulative or harmful
to the women and families they work with. 
For the pro-choice movement, supporting access to all options
for women is essential.  Just as we support access to safe and
legal abortion, as well as access to parenting resources and support,
should we not demand access to ethical adoption practices?

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Republican National Convention Edition

Ally Boguhn

The Trump family's RNC claims about crime and the presidential candidate's record on gender equality have kept fact-checkers busy.

Republicans came together in Cleveland this week to nominate Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention (RNC), generating days of cringe-inducing falsehoods and misleading statements on crime, the nominee’s positions on gender equality, and LGBTQ people.

Trump’s Acceptance Speech Blasted for Making False Claims on Crime

Trump accepted the Republican nomination in a Thursday night speech at the RNC that drew harsh criticism for many of its misleading and outright false talking points.

Numerous fact-checkers took Trump to task, calling out many of his claims for being “wrong,” and “inflated or misleading.”

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 Among the most hotly contested of Trump’s claims was the assertion that crime has exploded across the country.

“Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement,” Trump claimed, according to his prepared remarks, which were leaked ahead of his address. “Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60 percent in nearby Baltimore.”

Crime rates overall have been steadily declining for years.

“In 2015, there was an uptick in homicides in 36 of the 50 largest cities compared to the previous years. The rate did, indeed, increase nearly 17 percent, and it was the worst annual change since 1990. The homicide rate was up 54.3 percent in Washington, and 58.5 percent in Baltimore,” explained Washington Post fact checkers Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee. “But in the first months of 2016, homicide trends were about evenly split in the major cities. Out of 63 agencies reporting to the Major Cities Chiefs Association, 32 cities saw a decrease in homicides in first quarter 2016 and 31 saw an increase.”

Ames Grawert, a counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program, said in a statement posted to the organization’s website that 2016 statistics aren’t sufficient in declaring crime rate trends. 

“Overall, crime rates remain at historic lows. Fear-inducing soundbites are counterproductive, and distract from nuanced, data-driven, and solution-oriented conversations on how to build a smarter criminal justice system in America,” Grawert said. “It’s true that some cities saw an increase in murder rates last year, and that can’t be ignored, but it’s too early to say if that’s part of a national trend.” 

When Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, was confronted with the common Republican falsehoods on crime during a Thursday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, he claimed that the FBI’s statistics were not to be trusted given that the organization recently advised against charges in connection with Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

“According to FBI statistics, crime rates have been going down for decades,” Tapper told Manafort. “How can Republicans make the argument that it’s somehow more dangerous today when the facts don’t back that up?”

“People don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods,” said Manafort, going on to claim that “the FBI is certainly suspect these days after what they did with Hillary Clinton.”

There was at least one notable figure who wholeheartedly embraced Trump’s fearmongering: former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. “Great Trump Speech,” tweeted Duke on Thursday evening. “Couldn’t have said it better!”

Ben Carson Claims Transgender People Are Proof of “How Absurd We Have Become”

Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson criticized the existence of transgender people while speaking at the Florida delegation breakfast on Tuesday in Cleveland.  

“You know, we look at this whole transgender thing, I’ve got to tell you: For thousands of years, mankind has known what a man is and what a woman is. And now, all of a sudden we don’t know anymore,” said Carson, a retired neurosurgeon. “Now, is that the height of absurdity? Because today you feel like a woman, even though everything about you genetically says that you’re a man or vice versa?”

“Wouldn’t that be the same as if you woke up tomorrow morning after seeing a movie about Afghanistan or reading some books and said, ‘You know what? I’m Afghanistan. Look, I know I don’t look that way. My ancestors came from Sweden, or something, I don’t know. But I really am. And if you say I’m not, you’re a racist,’” Carson said. “This is how absurd we have become.”

When confronted with his comments during an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric, Carson doubled down on his claims.“There are biological markers that tell us whether we are a male or a female,” said Carson. “And just because you wake up one day and you say, ‘I think I’m the other one,’ that doesn’t change it. Just, a leopard can’t change its spots.”

“It’s not as if they woke up one day and decided, ‘I’m going to be a male or I’m going to be a female,’” Couric countered, pointing out that transgender people do not suddenly choose to change their gender identities on a whim.

Carson made several similar comments last year while on the campaign trail.

In December, Carson criticized the suggested that allowing transgender people into the military amounted to using the armed services “as a laboratory for social experimentation.”

Carson once suggested that allowing transgender people to use the restroom that aligned with their gender identity amounted to granting them “extra rights.”

Ivanka Trump Claims Her Father Supports Equal Pay, Access to Child Care

Ivanka Trump, the nominee’s daughter, made a pitch during her speech Thursday night at the RNC for why women voters should support her father.

“There have always been men of all background and ethnicities on my father’s job sites. And long before it was commonplace, you also saw women,” Ivanka Trump said. “At my father’s company, there are more female than male executives. Women are paid equally for the work that we do and when a woman becomes a mother, she is supported, not shut out.” 

“As president, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce. And he will focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all,” she continued before pivoting to address the gender wage gap. 

“Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties; they should be the norm. Politicians talk about wage equality, but my father has made it a practice at his company throughout his entire career.”

However, Trump’s stated positions on the gender wage gap, pregnancy and mothers in the workplace, and child care don’t quite add up to the picture the Trumps tried to paint at the RNC.

In 2004, Trump called pregnancy an “inconvenience” for employers. When a lawyer asked for a break during a deposition in 2011 to pump breast milk, Trump reportedly called her “disgusting.”

According to a June analysis conducted by the Boston Globe, the Trump campaign found that men who worked on Trump’s campaign “made nearly $6,100, or about 35 percent more [than women during the April payroll]. The disparity is slightly greater than the gender pay gap nationally.”

A former organizer for Trump also filed a discrimination complaint in January, alleging that she was paid less than her male counterparts.

When Trump was questioned about equal pay during a campaign stop last October, he did not outline his support for policies to address the issue. Instead, Trump suggested that, “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.” Though he had previously stated that men and women who do the same job should be paid the same during an August 2015 interview on MSNBC, he also cautioned that determining whether people were doing the same jobs was “tricky.”

Trump has been all but completely silent on child care so far on the campaign trail. In contrast, Clinton released an agenda in May to address the soaring costs of child care in the United States.

Ivanka’s claims were not the only attempt that night by Trump’s inner circle to explain why women voters should turn to the Republican ticket. During an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Manafort said that women would vote for the Republican nominee because they “can’t afford their lives anymore.”

“Many women in this country feel they can’t afford their lives, their husbands can’t afford to be paying for the family bills,” claimed Manafort. “Hillary Clinton is guilty of being part of the establishment that created that problem. They’re going to hear the message. And as they hear the message, that’s how we are going to appeal to them.”

What Else We’re Reading

Vox’s Dara Lind explained how “Trump’s RNC speech turned his white supporters’ fear into a weapon.”

Now that Mike Pence is the Republican nominee for vice president, Indiana Republicans have faced “an intense, chaotic, awkward week of brazen lobbying at the breakfast buffet, in the hallways and on the elevators” at the convention as they grapple with who will run to replace the state’s governor, according to the New York Times.

“This is a party and a power structure that feels threatened with extinction, willing to do anything for survival,” wrote Rebecca Traister on Trump and the RNC for New York Magazine. “They may not love Trump, but he is leading them precisely because he embodies their grotesque dreams of the restoration of white, patriarchal power.”

Though Trump spent much of the primary season denouncing big money in politics, while at the RNC, he courted billionaires in hopes of having them donate to supporting super PACs.

Michael Kranish reported for the Washington Post that of the 2,472 delegates at the RNC, it is estimated that only 18 were Black.

Cosmopolitan highlighted nine of the most sexist things that could be found at the convention.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) asked, “Where are these contributions that have been made” by people of color to civilization?

Analysis Politics

The 2016 Republican Platform Is Riddled With Conservative Abortion Myths

Ally Boguhn

Anti-choice activists and leaders have embraced the Republican platform, which relies on a series of falsehoods about reproductive health care.

Republicans voted to ratify their 2016 platform this week, codifying what many deem one of the most extreme platforms ever accepted by the party.

“Platforms are traditionally written by and for the party faithful and largely ignored by everyone else,” wrote the New York Times‘ editorial board Monday. “But this year, the Republicans are putting out an agenda that demands notice.”

“It is as though, rather than trying to reconcile Mr. Trump’s heretical views with conservative orthodoxy, the writers of the platform simply opted to go with the most extreme version of every position,” it continued. “Tailored to Mr. Trump’s impulsive bluster, this document lays bare just how much the G.O.P. is driven by a regressive, extremist inner core.”

Tucked away in the 66-page document accepted by Republicans as their official guide to “the Party’s principles and policies” are countless resolutions that seem to back up the Times‘ assertion that the platform is “the most extreme” ever put forth by the party, including: rolling back marriage equalitydeclaring pornography a “public health crisis”; and codifying the Hyde Amendment to permanently block federal funding for abortion.

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Anti-choice activists and leaders have embraced the platform, which the Susan B. Anthony List deemed the “Most Pro-life Platform Ever” in a press release upon the GOP’s Monday vote at the convention. “The Republican platform has always been strong when it comes to protecting unborn children, their mothers, and the conscience rights of pro-life Americans,” said the organization’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, in a statement. “The platform ratified today takes that stand from good to great.”  

Operation Rescue, an organization known for its radical tactics and links to violence, similarly declared the platform a “victory,” noting its inclusion of so-called personhood language, which could ban abortion and many forms of contraception. “We are celebrating today on the streets of Cleveland. We got everything we have asked for in the party platform,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, in a statement posted to the group’s website.

But what stands out most in the Republicans’ document is the series of falsehoods and myths relied upon to push their conservative agenda. Here are just a few of the most egregious pieces of misinformation about abortion to be found within the pages of the 2016 platform:

Myth #1: Planned Parenthood Profits From Fetal Tissue Donations

Featured in multiple sections of the Republican platform is the tired and repeatedly debunked claim that Planned Parenthood profits from fetal tissue donations. In the subsection on “protecting human life,” the platform says:

We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare. We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts. In the meantime, we call on Congress to ban the practice of misleading women on so-called fetal harvesting consent forms, a fact revealed by a 2015 investigation. We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.

Later in the document, under a section titled “Preserving Medicare and Medicaid,” the platform again asserts that abortion providers are selling “the body parts of aborted children”—presumably again referring to the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood:

We respect the states’ authority and flexibility to exclude abortion providers from federal programs such as Medicaid and other healthcare and family planning programs so long as they continue to perform or refer for elective abortions or sell the body parts of aborted children.

The platform appears to reference the widely discredited videos produced by anti-choice organization Center for Medical Progress (CMP) as part of its smear campaign against Planned Parenthood. The videos were deceptively edited, as Rewire has extensively reported. CMP’s leader David Daleiden is currently under federal indictment for tampering with government documents in connection with obtaining the footage. Republicans have nonetheless steadfastly clung to the group’s claims in an effort to block access to reproductive health care.

Since CMP began releasing its videos last year, 13 state and three congressional inquiries into allegations based on the videos have turned up no evidence of wrongdoing on behalf of Planned Parenthood.

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund—which has endorsed Hillary Clinton—called the Republicans’ inclusion of CMP’s allegation in their platform “despicable” in a statement to the Huffington Post. “This isn’t just an attack on Planned Parenthood health centers,” said Laguens. “It’s an attack on the millions of patients who rely on Planned Parenthood each year for basic health care. It’s an attack on the brave doctors and nurses who have been facing down violent rhetoric and threats just to provide people with cancer screenings, birth control, and well-woman exams.”

Myth #2: The Supreme Court Struck Down “Commonsense” Laws About “Basic Health and Safety” in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt

In the section focusing on the party’s opposition to abortion, the GOP’s platform also reaffirms their commitment to targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws. According to the platform:

We salute the many states that now protect women and girls through laws requiring informed consent, parental consent, waiting periods, and clinic regulation. We condemn the Supreme Court’s activist decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down commonsense Texas laws providing for basic health and safety standards in abortion clinics.

The idea that TRAP laws, such as those struck down by the recent Supreme Court decision in Whole Woman’s Health, are solely for protecting women and keeping them safe is just as common among conservatives as it is false. However, as Rewire explained when Paul Ryan agreed with a nearly identical claim last week about Texas’ clinic regulations, “the provisions of the law in question were not about keeping anybody safe”:

As Justice Stephen Breyer noted in the opinion declaring them unconstitutional, “When directly asked at oral argument whether Texas knew of a single instance in which the new requirement would have helped even one woman obtain better treatment, Texas admitted that there was no evidence in the record of such a case.”

All the provisions actually did, according to Breyer on behalf of the Court majority, was put “a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion,” and “constitute an undue burden on abortion access.”

Myth #3: 20-Week Abortion Bans Are Justified By “Current Medical Research” Suggesting That Is When a Fetus Can Feel Pain

The platform went on to point to Republicans’ Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a piece of anti-choice legislation already passed in several states that, if approved in Congress, would create a federal ban on abortion after 20 weeks based on junk science claiming fetuses can feel pain at that point in pregnancy:

Over a dozen states have passed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Acts prohibiting abortion after twenty weeks, the point at which current medical research shows that unborn babies can feel excruciating pain during abortions, and we call on Congress to enact the federal version.

Major medical groups and experts, however, agree that a fetus has not developed to the point where it can feel pain until the third trimester. According to a 2013 letter from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “A rigorous 2005 scientific review of evidence published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concluded that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester,” which begins around the 28th week of pregnancy. A 2010 review of the scientific evidence on the issue conducted by the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists similarly found “that the fetus cannot experience pain in any sense prior” to 24 weeks’ gestation.

Doctors who testify otherwise often have a history of anti-choice activism. For example, a letter read aloud during a debate over West Virginia’s ultimately failed 20-week abortion ban was drafted by Dr. Byron Calhoun, who was caught lying about the number of abortion-related complications he saw in Charleston.

Myth #4: Abortion “Endangers the Health and Well-being of Women”

In an apparent effort to criticize the Affordable Care Act for promoting “the notion of abortion as healthcare,” the platform baselessly claimed that abortion “endangers the health and well-being” of those who receive care:

Through Obamacare, the current Administration has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it.

Scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that abortion is safe. Research shows that a first-trimester abortion carries less than 0.05 percent risk of major complications, according to the Guttmacher Institute, and “pose[s] virtually no long-term risk of problems such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or birth defect, and little or no risk of preterm or low-birth-weight deliveries.”

There is similarly no evidence to back up the GOP’s claim that abortion endangers the well-being of women. A 2008 study from the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion, an expansive analysis on current research regarding the issue, found that while those who have an abortion may experience a variety of feelings, “no evidence sufficient to support the claim that an observed association between abortion history and mental health was caused by the abortion per se, as opposed to other factors.”

As is the case for many of the anti-abortion myths perpetuated within the platform, many of the so-called experts who claim there is a link between abortion and mental illness are discredited anti-choice activists.

Myth #5: Mifepristone, a Drug Used for Medical Abortions, Is “Dangerous”

Both anti-choice activists and conservative Republicans have been vocal opponents of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA’s) March update to the regulations for mifepristone, a drug also known as Mifeprex and RU-486 that is used in medication abortions. However, in this year’s platform, the GOP goes a step further to claim that both the drug and its general approval by the FDA are “dangerous”:

We believe the FDA’s approval of Mifeprex, a dangerous abortifacient formerly known as RU-486, threatens women’s health, as does the agency’s endorsement of over-the-counter sales of powerful contraceptives without a physician’s recommendation. We support cutting federal and state funding for entities that endanger women’s health by performing abortions in a manner inconsistent with federal or state law.

Studies, however, have overwhelmingly found mifepristone to be safe. In fact, the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals says mifepristone “is safer than acetaminophen,” aspirin, and Viagra. When the FDA conducted a 2011 post-market study of those who have used the drug since it was approved by the agency, they found that more than 1.5 million women in the U.S. had used it to end a pregnancy, only 2,200 of whom had experienced an “adverse event” after.

The platform also appears to reference the FDA’s approval of making emergency contraception such as Plan B available over the counter, claiming that it too is a threat to women’s health. However, studies show that emergency contraception is safe and effective at preventing pregnancy. According to the World Health Organization, side effects are “uncommon and generally mild.”