Banning abortions isn’t the best way to stop abortions...
Research shows that the most effective way to lower the number of unintended and unwanted pregnancies is to increase easy access to effective contraception. Some countries, like several in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the most restrictive abortion laws also have higher abortion rates, likely because people there lack access to reproductive healthcare. One US study found that abortion rates can drop by more than 70 percent when free birth control is available. In many of the states looking to outlaw abortion, birth control is also difficult to access.
But they can make care for all pregnancies worse.
As 2023 comes to a close, so too does the first full year of the post-Roe era in America. Some of the year's developments were expected, like more conservative states enacting abortion restrictions. Others were surprising, like the fact that there were more abortions nationally in the year after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health decision than the previous one.
In some states, the fight over abortion access is still taking place in courtrooms, where advocates have sued to block bans and restrictions. Other states have moved to expand access to abortion by adding legal protections.
Many states have passed restrictions, and inequalities along racial and economic lines have widened – but there is hope.
Limits on treatment for pregnant women could put physicians at risk of moral injury.
Policy and law that respects people’s need for health care can partially avert these devastating outcomes. Simply put, abortion is health care and must be legal and available in every state.
As a social work professor who researches reproductive health care, I see many parallels between what happened in Ireland between 1983 and 2018 and the present U.S. situation.
People in the U.S. are already traveling long distances, often to other states, in a manner similar to the Irish abortion trail.
Experts say new legal battles are likely to arise over abortions that occur without the direct involvement of a doctor, known as self-managed abortion care.
Laws and policies on abortion have been changing rapidly across the United States since the US Supreme Court overturned the federal constitutional right to abortion in late June in Dobbs v. Jackson. As a result, some information here may be out of date.
A D&E ban would compound other obstacles to abortion care. Research indicates that the vast majority of women obtaining an abortion during the second trimester would have preferred to have had it earlier. State abortion restrictions are one increasingly common reason women encounter delays receiving abortion care, and D&E bans must be considered in the context of such restrictions.
The study that offers a glimpse into a post-Roe v. Wade future.
The abortion bans enacted in about half the states since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June do not prohibit abortion entirely. Most make exceptions in certain circumstances, commonly to protect the health or life of the patient, or in the case of rape or incest.
Banning abortion does not stop people from trying to end their pregnancies. But it won’t result in a return to the kinds of unsafe abortion that killed hundreds of women per year before the Supreme Court’s ruling Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the U.S. Recent advances in medication abortion, which relies on prescription drugs rather than a procedure, have made safer abortions outside of clinics possible. They set the stage for organizations like Plan C to help pregnant people safely manage their own abortions with pills if they want or need to.
In places where abortion is now illegal, a range of pregnancy losses could be subject to state scrutiny.
A landmark study revealed connections between carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term and pregnancy complications, worse self-reported health, and precarity for existing children.
Like prohibitions on other goods and services, an abortion ban of the kind national conservatives propose would take a disproportionate toll on those least equipped to adapt, and would advance little but ideology.
A new film offers a fictionalized look at the Janes, activists who provided illegal abortions in Chicago before Roe v. Wade.
Researchers in Poland have developed tests that can detect if a woman has taken mifepristone. It’s a chilling development.
Abortion has been part of American health care for centuries.