Study: Abortion Restrictions Don't Actually Make Women Safer

Photographed by Tayler Smith.
There's been a lot of talk from politicians about the health and safety of Americans recently, what with the Trump administration's continued efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But with all their talk about keeping the U.S. healthy, it has been pretty clear that politicians advocating for healthcare reform including restrictions on abortion (such as defunding Planned Parenthood) do not have the best interest of women in mind.
That's made even more obvious by an updated report from the Center for Reproductive Rights and Ibis Reproductive Health, which found that in states where abortion already has restrictions, the health of women and children suffers. The new information builds off of a 2014 report, which intended to "challenge the claims of politicians who have passed abortion restrictions under the guise of protecting women’s health and safety."
The report found that "the states with the highest number of restrictions included in the research — including Texas (11 restrictions), Louisiana (13 restrictions), and Arkansas (13 restrictions) — have dramatically fewer policies that would truly address the challenges women and their families face."
Texas, for instance, has worse maternal, infant, and teen mortality rates than the national benchmarks, and is one of the states with the most abortion restrictions.
"This report makes clear that politicians in states with the most extreme record of attacking reproductive rights are also far less likely to support the kind of programs and policies that actually advance the health and well-being of families," Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement shared with Refinery29.
Data like this, along with earlier research done in Texas that found that defunding Planned Parenthood (which is one of the most well-known resources for abortion in the U.S.) actually correlated to higher rates of teen pregnancy and abortion in the state, shows that restricting abortion access does nothing to protect women.
"What women, children and their families need their elected officials to focus on is increasing access to affordable healthcare, including Medicaid, so women can have prenatal care, cervical cancer screenings, and fewer preterm births," Northup said. "They should invest in healthy kids, who have good nutrition and physical education. This report clearly lays out that politicians pushing extreme anti-choice laws at the expense of public health have their priorities exactly backwards."
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