Friday, December 09, 2011

Pro-choice advocates: Back-alley abortions? Who cares?

Among the numerous foolish claims in this RH Reality Check piece questioning why self-inducing a post-24 week abortion should be illegal, Steph Herold and Susan Yanow claim:
In spite of ever-increasing restrictions, abortion is legal through the second-trimester throughout the United States, although it is inaccessible to many women.
Yet the arrested woman self-aborted her child in New York City, the abortion capital of America where tax dollars pay for the abortions of poor women and 41% of pregnancies end in abortion.

How is abortion inaccessible in New York City?

It's not as Herold and Yanow admit later noting the woman had virtually unfettered access to abortion.
Women in New York City have much better access to abortion care than Ms. McCormack did. New York State allows state Medicaid funds to cover abortion services, and there are a number of clinics in New York City that provide abortion care through 24 weeks. New York also does not have the restrictions, such as waiting periods and parental consent, that are insurmountable barriers for women in many other states. So why would a woman in New York City decide to end her pregnancy by herself?
What's interesting here is that if the woman in question had self-aborted in a state with abortion restrictions, pro-abort individuals and organizations would be screaming from the mountaintops about how draconian prolife laws forced this woman into a dangerous situation where she felt she had to self-abort. But since the incident took place in America's abortion capital, we're informed how safe self-abortion supposedly is (at 24+ weeks - are you kidding me!) and told it shouldn't be a crime.
We do not have enough information to guess whether or not this woman fell through the gaps in the social support and health net, or made a conscious choice to end her pregnancy in a way that she felt most comfortable. But why is self-treating an unwanted pregnancy a crime?

We certainly should do everything possible to provide excellent information to women about services and fight to keep abortion care widely available and accessible. But if a woman decides that the best thing for her to do is to self-induce an abortion, she should have access to the best information available on how to do this safely (ie with medicines, NOT herbs) and know where to go in case of a complication.

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