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Sat Jan 6, 2024, 04:32 PM Jan 2024

Six Things You May Not Know About Abortion [View all]

Six Things You May Not Know About Abortion
1/3/2024 by Kendall Turner
Abortion is a very common procedure—one in four U.S. women will have one—yet most people still know so little about it.

An abortion-rights supporter attends the National Women’s March on Jan. 22, 2023, in Washington, D.C., marking the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. (Probal Rashid / LightRocket via Getty Images)

After reading about Kate Cox’s unsuccessful efforts to obtain an abortion in Texas, I needed an outlet for my ire. I took to social media, where I found reprehensible comments about abortion on Threads. I responded to them. I schooled my interlocutors with facts and links to research. I dazzled them with my correct grammar. I received tens of likes. You may be shocked to learn that I changed no one’s mind. I was nevertheless surprised by some people’s misconceptions about abortion—many of which appeared to be shared by pro- and anti-abortion individuals. For example, people seemed unaware that most individuals who seek abortion care were using contraception when they became pregnant. Some of the misconceptions that I read, especially those about the safety of abortion procedures, have been comprehensively addressed elsewhere, but others have not. Abortion is a very common procedure—one in four U.S. women will have an abortion by the time she reaches age 45—yet most people still know so little about it. In the spirit of clearing the cobwebs out of our collective discourse, here are a few facts about abortion that have not been widely reported.

1. Most people who obtain abortion care in America report using contraception in the month in which they became pregnant.

“Many people think abortion is used as a primary form of birth control, but that is incorrect,” said Dr. Daniel Skora, a fertility specialist in Texas. Data confirm this point.

A slim majority of abortion patients (51 percent in 2014, and 54 percent in 2000) in the United States reported that they used contraception in the month in which they became pregnant, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
The most common form of contraception was the condom (28 percent and 24 percent in 2000 and 2014, respectively).
The second most common form was the pill (14 percent and 13 percent in 2000 and 2014, respectively).

. . . . .

3. Most people who obtain an abortion in America are religious. Roughly 60 percent of Americans who have an abortion identify as religious. The largest fraction (24 percent) of these believers identify as Catholic, while 17 percent are mainline Protestant, and 13 percent are evangelical Christians. The remaining 8 percent of the believers report some other affiliation. Around 38 percent of abortion recipients do not identify as religious.
. . . .

These photos show pregnancy tissue extracted at five to nine weeks of pregnancy, rinsed of blood and menstrual lining. The images show the tissue in a petri dish next to a ruler to indicate its size. (MYA Network)

.. . .

Abortion rights demonstrators rally to mark the first anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization case in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images)

No matter what you think about abortion access, it helps to understand the realities of someone facing the decision of whether to terminate. “It is really easy to say you condemn abortion when you have never met someone who has had one.” Dr. Talib said. “I have been doing this for a long time, since 2013, and I have never met a single patient who went forward with a pregnancy termination who did not have an emotional discourse about it.” If you do oppose abortion rights, there is one more thing you should know: Banning the procedure is not the best way to achieve your desired ends. Abortion restrictions do not lower abortion rates; they only make abortion less safe. “The most important thing the country can do to lower the abortion rate is increasing access to pregnancy healthcare, contraception and education,” Dr. Skora said. Anti-choice advocates should do those things if they want to have a leg to stand on in the ongoing abortion debate.

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