The Reality of Abortions in the US
Posted on April 5, 2016
Interesting fact: we actually do not know whether the abortion rate in the US is really declining. What we do know is:
1. the rate of REPORTED abortions is declining.
2. the density of legal obstacles to abortion is rapidly increasing.
(Also called TRAPs, or Targeted Regulation of Abortion providers.)
Antiabortionists claim this shows that TRAPs are working to reduce abortion. The reality is far different.
1. We do know from a variety of data sources that there has been a massive INCREASE in UNREPORTED do-it-yourself abortions by means of easily available abortifacient drugs. (Internet searches correlated by state with TRAPs; unexplained increased sales of the drugs; websites offering drugs, scattered surveys). Unfortunately, no one has yet attempted to estimate the true rates.
2. We do know from decades of international research that restriction or criminalization of abortion is not merely ineffective, but more likely counterproductive, on average.
Ineffectiveness seems rather obvious: abortion is in economic terms a necessity, not a luxury, so either the black market or self-help provides what the white market doesn’t provide.
The counterproductivity result seems less intuitive. This presumably reflects a social process: the sexually puritan forces that drive abortion restrictions, also oppose all of the really effective ways to reduce abortion, including scientific sex education, free contraceptives, universal health care, social support for pregnant and unwed mothers.