Criminalization – An Unsuccessful Tactic in Reducing Abortions

Is the anti-choice tactic of criminalizing abortion actually a good tactic to reduce abortions? Even those of us who are pro-choice would generally like to see abortions reduced so this is a question we should all be invested in. Feministing discusses the tactic of criminalization and as well as much better options for reducing abortions (like free, accessible birth control – which honestly would not be more expensive than utilizing the ‘justice’ system).

Their criticisms can be backed up by research done on abortions worldwide:

A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it.

Moreover, the researchers found that abortion was safe in countries where it was legal, but dangerous in countries where it was outlawed and performed clandestinely. Globally, abortion accounts for 13 percent of women’s deaths during pregnancy and childbirth, and there are 31 abortions for every 100 live births, the study said.

In short, ‘pro-choice’ (support of multiple, accessible options that allow women to make reproductive choices) is ‘pro-life’. Where abortions are illegal people die as a result. Moves to make abortion less accessible or illegal cannot be considered ‘pro-life’ – regardless of whether we are talking the about terminated pregnancies or about the people dying from very dangerous attempts at terminating their pregnancies. No fetuses are ‘saved’ and more people are injured fatally.

So to those who would like to reduce abortions, regardless of your motivations for doing so, advocate for better access to information about sexual health and better access to contraception; don’t put up barriers to safe abortions.

With this in mind, also question the real motivations of those in the anti-choice camp looking to criminalize. Are they really interested in reducing abortions or are they more interested in controlling and dominating women and women’s bodies?

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