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10 Things I'd Say to the Anti-Choice Fanatics Trying to End Access to Abortion

Here are ten realities pro-choicers should throw in the face of opponents of choice they have the misfortune to get into arguments with.

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Anti-choicers should be asked if they really can look a woman in the face whose fetus has defects incompatible with life or whose blood pressure is rising so high that it will kill her, and tell that woman that she shouldn’t be able to save herself or her family because later term abortions gross them out.

4) Women who get abortions aren’t afraid of being mothers. Anti-choice protesters like to shout at women going into clinics about how they would really like motherhood if they tried it out. In reality, women who have abortions are fully cognizant of the joys and pains of motherhood; 61% of women having abortion are already mothers. Anti-choicers who wax poetic about motherhood should be asked to explain why women who are already mothers would therefore choose abortion.

5) Abortion is physically safe. Anti-choice propaganda dwells on calling abortion clinics “abortion mills” and even going so far to call, as Michele Bachmann did, abortion an “act of violence” committed against the woman getting it. The truth is that abortion is a simple outpatient procedure that’s on the high end of safety for a medical procedure. The vast majority of abortions have no complications at all, and abortion is considered many times safer than childbirth. There are no long term health effects of abortion; anti-choice claims that it’s correlated to breast cancer have been repeatedly shown to be false. When anti-choicers get hysterical about how abortion is “violence”, they should be made to answer for the statistics that show it’s much safer than childbirth.

6) Abortion is mentally safe. In order to dissuade women from abortion, anti-choicers claim it will invoke depression and possibly even post-traumatic stress disorder. But repeated studies show not only that abortion doesn’t cause depression, but that giving birth can. In fact, mental illness can be a medical indicator for abortion; for women for whom giving birth can aggravate mental health problems, an abortion is often necessary to prevent further degradation of their mental health. Andrea Yates is good evidence against the contention that childbirth is a panacea, but anti-choicers should explain why they think they know better than the American Psychological Association when it comes to the mental health effects of abortion.

7) Women who get abortions take responsibility for their decision. Much anti-choice propaganda and legislation portrays women getting abortions as too stupid or cowed to understand the gravity of their decision. Supporters of mandatory ultrasounds argue that once women realize there’s an embryo in there, they’ll dash out of the clinic, an argument that assumes women must think they’re growing puppies or lemons in there and have to be set straight. The truth is that women who get abortions know that they’re terminating a pregnancy and are determined to do it long before they set foot in the doctor’s office. When dealing with supports of ultrasound laws, I recommend referencing this study of women who looked at ultrasound images before an abortion. The research showed that none of the women who did so changed their minds, and a substantial majority found that the images didn’t have much of an effect on their feelings at all.

8) Abortion providers are responsible medical professionals who work to make sure their patients are healthy and avoid future unintended pregnancies. Anti-choicers refuse to acknowledge that abortion providers are medical professionals who put their patients first, instead using terms such as “abortion industry” and claiming that abortion providers are trying to increase the abortion rate to make more money. First of all, abortion prices are relatively low compared to other medical procedures. Your average abortion costs around $500. The average cost of childbirth is 17 times as much. Ask an anti-choicer why a doctor who is just in it for the money wouldn’t go for the more lucrative profession of delivering babies.