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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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When the words “abortion industry” come up, it’s fun to ask anti-choicers if they know what the term “non-profit” means, as the nation’s single largest provider of abortions, Planned Parenthood, is a non-profit. Additionally, Planned Parenthood works tirelessly to reduce the abortion rate by promoting sex education and contraception, the very tools necessary to prevent unintended pregnancy and therefore abortion. Contraception counseling to prevent future abortions is a regular feature in abortion care.

9) Women get abortions because they’re being responsible. Abortion is often characterized, even by some pro-choicers, as the result of women’s irresponsibility. Women are assumed to get pregnant because they were being irresponsible, and all too often, abortion is characterized as the “easy way out”. The truth is more complex. More than half of women getting abortions were trying to prevent pregnancy by using a contraception method the month they got pregnant. Moreover, it’s not like abortion is all cake and roses, but in fact it’s an unpleasant medical procedure that resembles all those other ones you get when you’re being responsible for your health. Most women getting abortions cite their personal responsibilities as a reason to get an abortion: responsibilities to actual children, financial responsibilities, work and school responsibilities. An honest society would view waiting to have children until you’re prepared for them as a sign that someone is responsible, instead of evidence that she’s irresponsible.

10) Conservative policies cause the abortion rate to be higher than it needs to be. No one wants an abortion. Women aren’t getting pregnant on purpose so they can enjoy an expensive suctioning of their uterine lining. So why are there 1.2 million abortions a year in America? Part of it is just bad luck; sometimes contraception fails and unwanted pregnancies happen. That will always be with us.

However, 46% of women who get abortions weren’t using a contraceptive method the month they got pregnant, indicating that conservative policies that discourage regular contraception use---everything from abstinence-only education to objecting to any measures that make contraception cheaper and easier to obtain---have been effective in keeping women from using contraception as regularly as they should. In addition, abortion rates are much higher for women living in poverty, and three quarters of women getting abortions say they can’t afford a child. If anti-choicers start moaning about the high rate of abortions, ask them what they intend to do about it. Do they want to make birth control free for all women? What about expansive social welfare that makes it easier for pregnant women living in poverty to say yes to having this baby? Most anti-choicers are generally conservative, and most will get really angry really quick if you start to mention concrete solutions to lower the abortion rate.