Center for AZ Policy couldn’t resist getting that last dig in at poor women. Which will only increase the number of abortions.

13 May 2016 01:34 am
Posted by: Donna

monica miller
Nope, still not about “saving babies”

File this under News That Should Surprise No One. It turns out that restrictions on abortion, which are more often than not criminal ones that target women for prosecution (despite the insistence of anti-choicers that they never, ever will do that!), do not actually reduce the rate of abortion but that the availability of contraception does.

The new estimates, published Wednesday in the Lancet, provide another bit of evidence that criminalizing abortion does not curb the practice. In countries where abortion is completely illegal or permitted only to save the life of the pregnant woman, the most recent data places the average annual abortion rate at 37 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. In countries where abortion is legal in most cases, the rate is 34 per 1,000 women.

“The obvious interpretation is that criminalizing abortion does not prevent it but, rather, drives women to seek illegal services or methods,” wrote Diana Greene Foster of the University of California’s Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health in a comment linked to the report. “But this simple story overlooks the many women who, in the absence of safe legal services, carry unwanted pregnancies to term.”

Part of the reason why abortion rates in these anti-abortion countries are so high is the fact that contraception, sex education, and other family-planning services are usually similarly hard to obtain. Where there’s little contraception, there are more unintended pregnancies; where there are more unintended pregnancies, there are more abortions. Those who don’t get one of these often unsafe illegal abortions, carrying their unwanted pregnancies to term, bear a higher risk of maternal mortality and may be condemned to a cycle of poverty driven by a growing family they can’t afford…

…Every other region in the developed world saw lesser but still significant decreases in the abortion rate: Southern Europe’s rate fell from 38 per 1,000 women to 26; Northern Europe’s from 22 to 18; and North America’s from 25 to 17. Meanwhile, in developing countries, the abortion rate saw only a slight decrease between 1990 and 2014, from 39 abortions per year per 1,000 women to 37.

“In developed countries, the continued fall in abortion rates is largely due to increased use of modern contraception that has given women greater control over the timing and number of children they want,” author Gilda Sedgh said in a press statement. “In developing countries, however, family planning services do not seem to be keeping up with the increasing desire for smaller families. More than 80 percent of unintended pregnancies are experienced by women with an unmet need for modern methods of contraception, and many unwanted pregnancies end in abortion.”

Not that Cathi Herrod and her pals have any interest in such “evidence-based” frippery! Their crusade is solely to separate poor women from any ability to control their reproduction, by any means necessary, with the aim of punishing them for having sex. In this year’s Arizona legislative session they were thwarted in their quest to pass their key piece of harmful anti-choice garbage when the those meddling kids at the FDA updated its abortion drug label to reflect current best practices. Womp womp!

But they were not sad pandas over at CAP for long, as they managed to squeak out a couple of bills at the end of the session that target Planned Parenthood. HB2599 enables the state to deny Medicaid patients the choice of family planning clinics that also provide abortions, while HB2704 enacts complicated language about how Medicaid can be billed for drugs which is, you guessed it, directed at Planned Parenthood.

None of this should be understood as stemming purely from a desire to stop abortion. Anti-choicers definitely want to do that, and I’ll even throw them the bone of acknowledging that most of them genuinely consider terminating pregnancy to be murder. But that belief coexists with a very strong objection to women “getting away” with non-procreative sex. When those two positions are in conflict, as they often are, anti-choicers can almost always be counted on to side with the latter. So of course they’re going to block birth control access, with no regard for how it is proven to reduce unplanned pregnancy and abortion. Because priorities!

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