Chances are you’ve heard more abortion opinions in your life than abortion facts. I’m not here to tell you which side to take–that’s your business and it’s your body, so it’s not my place to sway you one way or the other. I’m just here to give you information so you can decide for yourself what you’d do in a particular situation.
With that said, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade is approaching on January 22. For those of you unfamiliar, Roe v. Wade was the Supreme Court case that made abortion legal nationwide in 1973. Here are some pretty interesting abortion facts that may surprise you–or at least get you thinking enough to question some of the stigmas associated with both the pro-life and pro-choice arguments.
First, abortion is probably more common than you realize, because so many women don’t talk about their experiences with it. By age 45, roughly half of the women in the U.S. will have an unplanned pregnancy–and one third of those women will have an abortion.
As for when most American women have abortions, 58 percent have them during their 20s, and the far majority–88 percent–of women who get abortions get them within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. (This makes a lot of those scary anti-abortion ads you may see with bloody fetuses a little less valid, though depending on the state, those can still happen.) What’s more, seven out of ten women who had abortions wish they would have gotten them even sooner than they did.
Who’s getting abortions? Also a little surprising. 73 percent of women who get abortions are religiously affiliated in some capacity. Less surprising? 69 percent of women who get abortions are dealing with economic hardship–and six out of ten of them already have a kid.
While a lot of women who get abortions face economic difficulties, the bulk of these women (about 57 percent) also pay for their abortions out of their own pockets, even if they have insurance. (Sometimes their health insurance doesn’t cover abortion, other times they want to make sure it’s kept confidential.)
Some abortion facts are kind of sad: a lot of women who would seek abortions can’t or don’t, because access is being restricted in a lot of areas–and women often have to travel over 50 miles to get an abortion. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, but considering most women who get or seek abortions already suffer from economic hardships, that travel and the time that goes with it can be really taxing. That results in later or cancelled abortions, potentially more complications and potentially more economic hardship. See the cycle that’s starting?
Again–not telling you what to believe. It’s your right to agree or disagree with abortion in general, and we love having an open discussion about it. But it’s also your responsibility to remain informed about decisions that affect you, your body and your health, and for the health, bodies and rights of other women as well. (Not all of us are lucky enough to be well-educated and financially stable!) For more abortion facts–illustrated in pretty awesome graphs–check out these infographics from the Guttmacher Institute.
Where do you get your abortion facts? Do these abortion facts change or reinforce your views on the topic? Tell us in the comments!