Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Guttmacher Institute: Bans Don't Reduce Abortion Rate

The Guttmacher Institute conducted a survey that found that abortion restrictions do not cut the abortion rate:

Restricting the availability of legal abortion does not appear to reduce the number of women trying to end unwanted pregnancies, a major report suggests.

The Guttmacher Institute's survey found abortion occurs at roughly equal rates in regions where it is legal and regions where it is highly restricted.

What makes the difference in the rate? Improved access to contraception (note the findings about the U.S. in relation to health insurance):

Western Europe is held up as an example of what access to contraceptive services can achieve, and the Netherlands - with just 10 abortions per 1,000 women compared to the world's 29 per 1,000 - is held up as the gold standard. Here, young people report using two forms of contraception as standard.

Even the UK, which has a relatively high rate, fares well in comparison to the US, where the number of abortions is among the highest in the developed world. The institute says this rate is in part explained by inconsistencies in insurance coverage of contraceptive supplies.

In much of eastern Europe, where abortion was treated as a form of birth control, abortion rates have dropped by 50% in the last decade as contraceptives have become more widely available.

In the developed world, restrictions on abortion prompt women to travel; in the developing world, they cause women to die:

Every year, an estimated 70,000 women die as a result of unsafe abortion - leaving nearly a quarter of a million children without a mother - and 5m develop complications.

In the developed world, legal restrictions did not stop abortion but just meant it was "exported", with Irish women for instance simply travelling to Europe, according to Guttmacher's director, Dr. Sharon Camp. In the developing world, it meant lives were put at risk.

"Too many women are maimed or killed each year because they lack legal abortion access," she said. "The gains we've seen are modest in relation to what we can achieve. Investing in family planning is essential - far too many women lack access to contraception, putting them at risk."


Hunter said...

Your double standard for the right vs. left by magnifying things the right does and minimizing the things the left does is appalling. Find a line of consistancy and you'll do your side a huge favor and you'll be able to have some real conversations and enlightenment. This is likely my last response for a long time not the last.

Jeff Tone said...

Hunter: What you really find “appalling” is not my so-called double standard, but the fact that my standard–or line of consistency–is that of the left. You clearly have no problem, after all, with consistently leaning to the right. Had I done the same, you’d be fine with it.

I agree with the resolution in your last sentence. If you are appalled by my blog, why distress yourself by reading and responding to it?