Abortion might just be one of the most controversial topics of all time, right up there with the death penalty and gun control. Regardless of its legality, it invokes a lot of passion from supporters and denouncers alike, based on everything from questions of ethics, to interpretation of law, to religious beliefs.
Personally, I’m pro-choice. I support laws that allow people to have abortions and will protest–without a second of hesitation–any and all legislation that would make abortions illegal. But with that said, I’m actually able to understand why one would be anti-abortion and consider it reprehensible. I don’t agree, but I can see how one could come to that conclusion. Unfortunately, many come to the conclusion that abortion is wrong, bad, evil, murderous, and whatever other adjectives you want to use, based on misinformation and lies. In other words, there are a lot of myths out there about abortion and way too many people fall for them. I mean, how many times have you seen that photo of a baby allegedly clasping its little fist onto the finger of an abortion doctor, who conveniently decided from that point forward to stop performing abortions? Yeah, that story is fake and the photo wasn’t even depicting an abortion. See what I mean?
Anyway, I’m here to debunk 11 myths about abortion that you might just believe, because if you’re going to have an opinion on abortion, it might as well be one based on fact as opposed to fiction.
1. The fetus can feel the pain of an abortion! A fetus has consciousness in the first trimester!
Fetal pain is a myth that has been peddled by bad science and anti-abortion propaganda. You’ve probably seen a lot of people claim that fetuses can feel pain as early as early as the first trimester (which, by the way, is when most abortions occur). That’s simply false. To feel pain, one must have a neocortex, which is a part of the cerebral cortex of the brain. A fetus doesn’t develop that until the third trimester, around the 24th week of pregnancy.
Hey, remember when I said that nearly all abortions occur within the first trimester of pregnancy, before a fetus can feel pain? Notice how pain can only be felt around the third trimester, a time when abortions are only performed in case of serious medical emergencies? Yeah, keep that in mind.
2. People use abortions as a form of birth control.
You know, people do some really silly things. I mean, we’re the species that thought having hair that looked like a packet of ramen noodles was cute once upon a time. We’re flawed, okay? But to suggest that humans are silly enough to use abortion–a procedure that often requires hundreds of dollars, causes nasty side effects, and might require long travel times for those living in areas in which abortion providers are hard to come by–as a primary form of birth control is just ridiculous. Unfortunately, actual lawmakers seem to think that that’s exactly what happens, no matter how nonsensical it is.
Here’s the deal: Birth control methods fail and accidents happen. Sexual assault happens too. Unplanned and unwanted pregnancies are an inconvenient fact of life, and the idea that one would rather go to an abortion clinic than use protection is preposterous and nonsensical.
Plus, I’m sure this myth is served to people alongside an image of a wild, immature party girl who just can’t keep her legs closed. Not only is that offensive, unfair, and shaming, it’s also just straight up factually incorrect. Half of the people who have an abortion are 25-years-old and over and over 60 percent have already given birth to a child before. So, yeah, there’s a party girl out there getting an abortion, and there’s also a mother of two out there getting an abortion. Both of them deserve respect, not judgement, for their medical decisions.
3. Abortion is a super invasive surgery.
This isn’t necessarily true at all. In fact, there are two different types of abortions. There are medical abortions and surgical abortions. Medical abortions occur when one takes an abortion pill, which breaks down the uterine lining, followed up by a pill called misoprostol, which flushes the uterus out. This process resembles a heavy menstrual flow and has a 97 percent success rate. This method is usually suggested within the first nine weeks of pregnancy. Surgical abortions occur up to 16 weeks after the first missed period and are slightly more invasive. It includes a method called vacuum aspiration, in which a vacuum like suction devise gently empties the uterus. Find out more about them here.
If you’ve imagined an abortion as a much more grisly scene, you might be thinking of a late term abortion, which is incredibly rare and illegal in most places unless the life of the mother is at stake.
4. If you’re pro-choice, you’re pro-abortion.
I mean, sure, if you want to call being in favor of women having the right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy as pro-abortion, go for it. But being in favor of women having that option at their disposal is not the same as liking abortions. Nobody likes the idea of being in a situation in which abortion is on the table, because it’s a frustrating, time consuming, physically uncomfortable, and potentially emotionally exhausting situations to be in. You don’t have to like those things to be in favor of abortion’s legality.
5. People usually regret their abortions.
No, they don’t. A recent study deduced that at 95 percent of people who have abortions don’t regret it.
Look, there are going to be people out there who regret having an abortion, and some might even have a lot of emotional distress over their decision to abort. Those voices are valid. But statistically, most women do not regret their decision, period.
6. LOOK AT THIS PHOTO OF AN ABORTED BABY THAT–
You’ve probably seen a lot of these around the internet, and you should take most if not all of them with a grain of salt. They’re designed to make you believe that each and every abortion results in a clumped up mess of a fetus in a pile of blood and guts, implying how savage the act of abortion is. Many of those photos are taken out of context (for example, a photo of a stillbirth pregnancy passed off as an abortion) and prey upon people’s overall ignorance of how an abortion is performed. Like I said earlier, not every abortion is invasive; there are medical abortions in which one takes a pill that flushes the uterus and pretty much resembles a really crappy heavy period. Unsurprisingly, you never see photos of a cluster of uterine lining and blood in a maxi pad in those anti-abortion posters. Why? Because it’s not alarming enough.
Honestly, I’ve seen photos of newborn babies used in abortion propaganda. Yes, newborns who are now probably old enough to pester you and ask, “Do you have games on your phone?” Please, at least reverse image search the photos you come across or head over to Snopes to see if something is the real deal.
7. Making abortions illegal is the best way to actually stop abortions.
No, it’s not. There are many countries in which abortion is illegal–the United States used to be one of them. And guess what? Abortions still happen, but they’re more likely to happen in unsafe environments that don’t meet medical standards and by untrained individuals. That’s the case for half of the 42 million abortions that happen every year. People will continue to do whatever they can to terminate pregnancies, even in countries where they are illegal. So why not allow people to have abortions in safe surroundings that won’t put their lives at risk?
Oh, and another thing: The best way to stop unplanned pregnancies and abortion is by making birth control easier to access. It’s no coincidence that, in the United States, abortion rates are falling as the push for comprehensive sex education and access to birth control increases.
8. Why abort it if you can give that unborn fetus a chance at life? Just give it up for adoption.
This is actually an understandable question, but it’s a little shortsighted and idealistic. This isn’t Annie or Juno, this is real life.
Let’s focus on adoption itself first and foremost. People get caught up in warm and fuzzy depictions of adoption, ones of cradled newborns being placed in the arms of eager adoptive parents. That’s usually not the case. As of 2014 there are approximately 108,000 children waiting to be adopted and 415,000 foster children in total in the United States. That’s a lot of kids. Annual abortion rates have been on steady decline for decades, and are currently hovering in the 650,000+ range. So, how would the foster care system manage with that many more children being placed into such a system? Especially one that produces thousands of children who are never adopted in the first place. Adoption is great, more people should do it because there are kids out there who deserve to live in a loving home with loving parents. But acting as if foster care is a great system is misguided.
Plus, there’s something sinister in the implication that one can easily just go through nine months of pregnancy and give up a baby. Forcing someone to be an incubator for nine months straight is quite cruel considering the financial and physical costs of pregnancy. There’s a reason why it’s not uncommon to hear people say that they become pro-choice (or moreso than they were before) after going through the trials and tribulations of pregnancy. Pregnancy isn’t a walk in the park, and treating it–or adoption–like one is unfortunate to say the least.
If people are seriously going to suggest that people should be forced to have babies and either raise them or give them up for adoption, then they should also be in favor of strong government assistance that provides as many services as possible. In other words, if the life of the unborn is so important the the government believes that one must protect it at all costs, it must also decide to protect with all of its might after birth. That means covering costs for food, diapers, clothes, doctor visits, education, etc. Unfortunately, many of the same people who oppose abortion are often against government “handouts.” Funny how that happens, huh?
Empathy, it works wonders.
9. Okay, but life begins at conception.
I mean, if we really want to get in the nitty gritty of science and cells and all that good stuff, both the sperm and eggs are living things, so life doesn’t even being at conception, it begins way before that. So if you want to be super orthodox to the idea that every potential life must be saved, you’d mourn every menstrual cycle (the destruction of an unfertilized egg) and every sperm wasted during a masturbation session.
Go big or go home.
10. Planned Parenthood sells disused baby parts!
No, they don’t. Dassit.
11. If you think murder is wrong, you can’t possibly be pro-choice.
It’s entirely possible to believe that purposefully killing another living, breathing human being is different than the destruction of a potential life in the form of a cluster of cells that isn’t conscious and can’t feel pain.
The fact that the latter is often given more care and attention by many anti-abortion activists than the later makes me wonder exactly what it means to be pro-life.
What other ridiculous abortion beliefs are out there? Tell us in the comments!