Abortion Rights, Rates-Freedom v. Shoving Women All Over the Show

Do abortion rights coincide with lower abortion rates?

     The World Health Organization and The Guttmacher Institute, which study reproductive health, have published a paper in The Lancet, indicating that they do. The Guttmacher Institute reports, too, the more self-evident truth that where contraception rates are high, abortion rates are low.

     Ironically, the study says, where abortion is illegal and/or heavily restricted, particularly in parts of Africa and Latin America, women have far more abortions, per capita, than in parts of the world where it is legal, such as Western Europe and here, in the States. And in South Africa, where abortion is permitted, the death rate for women who die as a result of unsafe abortions has declined 90% since abortion there became legal in 1996.

      World-wide abortion rates dropped from 35 per 1,000 women in 1995 to 29 per 1,000 in 2003. (A decline of six per 1,000 over eight years is significant.) From 2003 on the rate has steadied. A primary reason for the leveling, the study says, is a decline, globally, in access to birth control. Birth control has declined largely, the study indicates, because Western aid money for contraception has fallen off as aid to fight AIDS and malaria has grown.

      The increasing far-right drumbeat and legislation and court challenges to Roe and moves against birth control are not only misogynistic. They defy science, ignore what we know about human behavior, and are destructive to women and girls everywhere, and to their families. 

     As freedom turns out to lower abortion rates, it is clear that restrictive legislation’s chief purpose is the control of women by the state which, in nearly every case, means control by men and, by proxy, male controlled religious institutions, arrogating to themselves some presumed natural right to shove women all over the show.


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