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Reblogged:The Real Consequences of Banning Abortion

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Image by Gayatri Malhotra, via Unsplash, license.
Diana Greene Foster, author of The Turnaway Study, which compares the consequences of having an abortion vs. being denied one, offers six predictions regarding what the Supreme Court's expected overturning of Roe vs. Wade will mean for the women who will be denied abortions as a result.

This article is worth a full read for several reasons, the most important of which is that it can help those of us who support reproductive freedom tie this issue to reality.

It's one thing to say, correctly, that an embryo is only a potential human being, and has no rights, and -- again, correctly -- that the only person who should have a say in the matter of whether a woman carries a pregnancy to term should be that woman. But it is quite another to be able to project what that means in real-life terms to someone facing that difficult choice.

Just put the baby up for adoption! (as one Justice basically put it) is a popular, and very thoughtless response to the question. This piece will show just how thoughtless.

Before I list a summary of the predictions of depriving women of control over their own bodies, let me note an observation that comports with my own experience as a young man:
What we found is that decisions about abortion and pregnancy are often driven by the desire to be a good parent. Among people seeking abortion, 60 percent already had children and 40 percent said they want to have a child in the future. Far from being irresponsible, the women we interviewed knew full well what is involved in having children and wanted to wait to do so under the right circumstances. Most commonly, those seeking abortion said they were not financially prepared to take care of a child. Others said it wasn't the right time for a baby or that they wanted to focus on the children they already had. In other words, many people, like my grandmother, choose to wait to have children until they are better able to support a family. [links omitted, bold added]
For me and my girlfriend at the time, it turned out to be a false alarm, but I remember facing the terrifying possibility of having gotten someone I wasn't sure I wanted to marry pregnant at a time I was undecided about having children -- and when neither of us was at all ready to be a decent parent.

The consequences of an unwanted pregnancy are serious, especially for a woman, as we can see from the six predictions, which I list below in bold and briefly summarize in italics (or with a representative quotation). Foster elaborates further on each within the piece:
  1. Wealthier Americans will still get abortions. Lower-income Americans will have children at the wrong time. -- About a quarter of women who might have otherwise had abortions will end up giving birth.
  2. People who are pregnant and don't want to be will face serious physical health risks. -- A full-term pregnancy is riskier to a woman's health than a medically-supervised abortion.
  3. Few people will place their children for adoption. -- "We found that when someone has gone through the literally life-threatening process of staying pregnant and giving birth, the vast majority -- about 90 percent -- choose to parent the child."
  4. More unwanted births now will result in fewer wanted births later. -- This is often due to the lingering financial hardship caused by having an unplanned child.
  5. Those unable to get an abortion will experience economic hardship and curtailed life ambitions. -- Foster notes many hardships for the woman here. All will profoundly also affect any offspring.
  6. More children will be raised in poverty and strain. -- As noted previously, and Foster elaborates on psychological consequences.
Foster ends her piece with a hard-hitting contrast: Between her two grandmothers, one of whom had had an abortion before having her children when she was ready to, and one who placed her own child up for adoption, and whose life was much harder than it might have been, had she been able to have an abortion.

My biggest criticism of the piece is that it never names abortion as a right, which it most certainly is.

Until and unless proponents of reproductive rights stand up for abortion as a right -- and this emphatically excludes forcing other people to pay for it -- they will never gain traction to codify this right into law -- no matter how dire the consequences for those who will suffer directly or indirectly due to its denial.

-- CAV

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