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Five Lies Anti-Choice Politicians Love to Tell About Abortion

Julie Burkhart, August 24, 2020

With the Republican National Convention upon us, it’s fair to predict we’ll be hearing all sorts of negative and misleading information about abortion. So as we prepare ourselves for the onslaught of everything from general misinformation to outright lies and threats, I’d like to take a moment to clarify five of the lies that need to be exposed, once and for all:

  1. LIE: Women choose to have abortions because they’re reckless and don’t care about children. At Trust Women, around 70 percent of our patients are already parents, which is higher than the national average of 60 percent. Anti-abortion politicians are notorious for shaming and stigmatizing women for seeking abortion care, but the number one reason our patients choose to end their pregnancies is because they want to be the best parents they can be for their children.
  2. LIE: Abortion is a dangerous procedure. This is completely untrue. Abortion is an extremely safe procedure with a safety record of over 99 percent. As a matter of fact, studies have found that you have a higher chance of complications from getting your wisdom teeth removed than from having an abortion. Don’t be fooled: if anti-abortion politicians cared about people’s health, they’d be focused on improving maternal health or expanding access to prenatal care — not shutting down clinics or blocking people from care.
  3. LIE: Having an abortion makes it more likely you’ll get cancer. This myth is more than just false, it’s dangerous. In the same National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report that established the safey of abortion procedures, researchers confirmed (again) that having an abortion does not increase a patient’s risk for developing cancer.
  4. LIE: I don’t know anyone who’s had an abortion. First of all, I’ve had an abortion. So now you (sort of) know someone. Currently, about 1 in 4 women have had an abortion — so yes, the odds are you already know at least one person. That’s why this is a lie that all of us have an obligation to expose. By sharing our experiences, we can all help destigmatize abortion care — and the science backs this up. This study showed that hearing the stories of women who have had abortions reduced abortion stigma.
  5. LIE: Abortion providers don’t talk to patients about other options. We listen to our patients, and provide counsel on all available options. We offer high-quality reproductive health care including options counseling and adoption referral to each and every one of our patients.

The common thread throughout these mistruths is clear: a concerted attempt to discourage people from seeking abortion care — and shame those who do.