Note: This blog post first ran in March 2013. We are re-posting it because the information is relevant to our current Pledge-a-Picketer campaign.
We see it all the time, right outside the gates of our Augusta health center.
Anti-choice protesters spend enormous amounts of time and energy spreading lies about abortion care services. At Maine Family Planning, we prefer to focus on the truth — backed up by decades of research in the field.
Here’s the truth about five of the most common lies about abortion.
Lie #1 — Abortion causes breast cancer.
Day after day, the 40 Days protesters show up with their signs linking abortion to breast cancer. Their claims are linked to “research” that has been shown to be faulty and unscientific.
Truth — Decades of research show no link between abortion and breast cancer.
In 2003, the National Cancer Institute convened a workshop with over 100 of the world’s leading experts on pregnancy and breast cancer. These experts reviewed all the existing research and concluded that studies show no link between abortion and increased breast cancer risk. And that conclusion has stood the test of time. Among all of the breast cancer studies published in the last ten years, none support early termination of pregnancy as a cause of breast cancer.
Lie #2 — Abortion causes emotional damage.
Anti-choice protesters would like women to believe that having an abortion results in a lifetime of guilt, anguish and regret.
Truth — Having an abortion has little impact on women’s well-being over time.
The American Psychological Association reports that a woman’s mental health before an abortion is the strongest predictor of her post-abortion mental health. Scientific evidence indicates that among women who have an unplanned pregnancy, the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater with an abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy. The emotion many of our patients express after their abortion procedure is relief. As more women share their abortion stories, the lie of long-term emotional damage becomes harder to sustain.
Lie #3 — Abortion is a dangerous procedure
The anti’s want the public to believe that legal abortion is life-threatening and causes lifelong damage to a woman’s body.
Truth — Surgical abortion is a very safe medical procedure.
Decades of research have demonstrated that first-trimester abortion is a very low-risk procedure. A legal abortion performed by a medical professional under proper sanitary conditions is a safe and straightforward procedure, especially if done during the early weeks of a pregnancy. A study published in 2012 in Obstetrics & Gynecology Journal, noted that the risk of death associated with childbirth is approximately 14 times higher than that with abortion.
Lie #4 — Abortion affects a woman’s future fertility.
Anti-choice protesters try to scare women into believing that having an abortion will prevent them from having children in the future.
Truth — The evidence from well-designed and well-executed studies shows no connection between abortion and future fertility problems.
After an abortion, women return to their previous level of fertility — and millions of women who have had abortions have gone on to have one or more successful full-term pregnancies and deliveries. This Guttmacher Institute report discusses how abortions performed in the first trimester pose virtually no long-term fertility risks—not only for premature and low-birth-weight delivery but for infertility, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and birth defects as well.
Lie #5 — Providing abortions is highly profitable.
Anti-choice protesters claim that making lots of money is the prime motivator for abortion providers.
Truth — Abortion providers have maintained lower than average fees, compared with physicians in other specialties.
At Maine Family Planning, our fees for abortion care are as low as possible because we know that many women struggle to come up with the funds needed for the procedure. The Hyde Amendment which restricts Medicaid coverage for abortion services, leaves most low-income women with no way to pay for the procedure. In response, pro-choice advocates across the country and in Maine, have set up funds to help make abortion more accessible to women with limited means. We do this so that women who do not have the ability to pay for abortion services will not have to resort to self-induced or unsafe, illegal abortions.
What other lies have you heard about abortion?
How do you help spread the truth in the face of these lies?