Blog for Choice 2010: Illegal Abortion Does Not Mean Fewer Abortions

22 01 2010

It’s Blog for Choice Day!

In honor of the day, I’d like to put something out there that might be helpful to you fabulous pro-choicers in discussing the issue with your pro-life friends.  This may be obvious to you already, but it was a point that I never really thought of when I was talking with my pro-life college roommates about abortion, and I think it’s really powerful.  So try asking this question:

Are you opposed to legal abortion because you believe that fewer abortions will result?

This is a powerful question because I think a lot of people who are opposed to abortion for religious reasons simply want women to stop having abortions.  If we can make it clear that outlawing abortion, or making it financially impossible to have a safe abortion, or putting up obstacles to safe and legal abortions, does not actually decrease abortions, we may be able to encourage pro-lifers to take their fight away from the courtrooms.

We do have some points of commonality.  I think that many pro-choice and pro-life people would prefer that there were fewer abortions.  How can we achieve this goal?  Not through outlawing abortion.  Outlawing abortion means that women will use dangerous herbs, sharp objects, etc. to self-abort, or will go to “practitioners” that may not be providing abortions in safe or sterile environments.  Women won’t stop aborting because it’s illegal, but they will increase the risk to their own health and lives.  Take the US before Roe, or the many countries where abortion is not legal and accessible, as examples.  We can achieve the goal of fewer abortions, though, through other means.  Think sex education (including education about the meaning of consent for both men and women), full health insurance coverage (including Medicaid coverage) of contraceptive counseling and options, and fighting against poverty, especially for women.  When women have options and education in a general sense, they will be able to engage in responsible family planning and avoid unwanted pregnancies.  True, there are some folks who are opposed to family planning in general, but I think there may be a lot of pro-lifers who would ultimately agree that these are good goals.  Work on them.

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