Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Conversation outlines the statistics regarding the demographic information on women who are getting abortions in the United States.
• Research shows that countries with the most restrictive abortion laws have higher rates of abortions. How does public policy in the U.S. affect how women receive access to these services?
• Read about how the Roe v. Wade supreme court decision affected women’s lives in the U.S.
The abortion debate is at the center of U.S. political dialogue. As of June 2018, 49 percent of Americans consider themselves pro-choice, while 45 percent consider themselves pro-life. Voices from both sides flood social media feeds, while newspapers, radio, and television programs frequently cover the topic.
One important group’s voice is often absent in this heated debate: the women who choose abortion. While 1 in 4 women will undergo an abortion in her lifetime, stigma keeps their stories untold. As an obstetrician/gynecologist who provides full-spectrum reproductive health care, including abortion, I hear these stories daily.
In 2011, nearly half of pregnancies in the U.S. were unintended. This reflects a 6 percent drop in unintended pregnancies since 2008, largely due to Title X family planning programs and easier access to birth control.
Women living in poverty have a rate of unintended pregnancy five times higher than those with middle or high incomes. Black women are twice as likely to have an unintended pregnancy as white women.
Barriers to birth control play a major role. Among women with unintended pregnancies, 54 percent were using no birth control. Another 41 percent were inconsistently using birth control at the time of conception.
Abortion is a routine part of reproductive health care. Approximately 25 percent of women in the U.S. will undergo an abortion before the age of 45. The Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy institute in New York City, has been tracking these data for the last 50 years.
Women of all races and ethnicities choose abortion. In 2014, 39 percent of abortion patients were white, 28 percent were black and 25 percent were Latina.
Furthermore, banning abortion is ineffective at reducing abortion. Countries with the most restrictive abortion policies have higher rates of abortion, the majority of which are unsafe, performed by untrained individuals without proper equipment or facilities.
Read the full article about abortions by Luu D. Ireland at The Conversation
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