Friday, October 12, 2007

Half of All Abortions Unsafe, Research Says

Um, yeah. That was the headline on page A8 of this morning's San Francisco Chronicle, and when I went on to read the rest of the article, my mouth fell open.

But not for the reason you may think.

The Chronicle either has a pro-lifer writing headline copy, or one setting type/doing PageMaker or however that's done nowadays, or somebody just plain sabotaged 'em (or was drinking on the job). In any case, look out! The Religious Right's going to pick this one up and gleefully rub it in that HALF, yes, HALF of all abortions are unsafe! So anyone who dares to claim that abortion actually saves more lives when they're safe and legal is JUST WRONG!!!

Well, I read the fine print. It turns out (10 paragraphs in) that the article explained that half of the abortions in the entire WORLD are unsafe, which is because the majority of abortions--35 million--are performed in the developing world. Nearly 97% of the unsafe abortions are committed in poor countries, where, of course, access to a legal, safe abortion is virtually nonexistent.

Additionally, the study found that women in countries where abortion is illegal are just as likely to have an abortion in countries where it is legal.

So here's the bottom line: outlawing abortion doesn't stop abortion. Allowing abortion doesn't "encourage" women to go ahead and have one. But, if a woman chooses to have an abortion, many, many, many fewer die or damage themselves when there's access to a legal, safe procedure.

Better still, in my opinion: Make birth control free. And educate, educate, educate.

Here's a link to the article. Note that the headline has now been changed.

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