Landmark Study Finds Legal Abortions Are Safe and Effective

A remarkable new study released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine finds that abortions are overwhelmingly safe and effective.

The 200-page report was based on a comprehensive analysis of abortion care in America. While it wasn’t meant as a rebuttal to anti-abortion rhetoric, it suggests that what we often hear from conservatives regarding the topic is baseless.

Specifically, the study found that 90% of abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and complications in those procedures are “rare.”

Legal abortions — whether by medication, aspiration, D&E [dilation and evacuation], or induction — are safe. Serious complications are rare and occur far less frequently than during childbirth. Safety is enhanced when the abortion is performed as early in pregnancy as possible.

It turns out that the greatest danger to women getting an abortion are the result of politicians interfering by throwing unnecessary obstacles in their path.

Like the five states that require doctors to tell women lies about how there’s a link between abortions and breast cancer. (There isn’t.) Or the 26 states that require a waiting period of 18-72 hours (even though there’s no medical reason for it). Or the 14 states requiring pre-abortion counseling (and therefore two separate visits to the facility).

By trying to prevent women from getting an abortion and putting obstacles in their way, “pro-lifers” are creating a situation where more complications could arise.

“Abortion is safer when it’s performed earlier in gestation,” [CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Hal] Lawrence says. “And so delaying and making people wait and go through hoops of unnecessary, extra procedures does not improve the safety. And actually by having them delay can actually worsen the safety.

If the anti-abortion crowd really wanted to prevent abortions, then their best bet is to fight for access to contraception and comprehensive sex education in school. The standard practice of lying to women through graphic signs, or the spread of scientifically inaccurate statements, or by withholding information from them in the doctor’s office isn’t helping.

Will any “pro-life” groups accept the results from this study? Will politicians act accordingly? I doubt it. If they cared about facts, their rhetoric would have changed a long time ago. But if honesty matters, then they should at least read through this study and correct their lies.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Scott for the link)

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