10 Worst Abortion Myths–and How to Refute Them

It can happen at the most inopportune moment: in the middle of a delightful conversation at a party, at a restaurant with new friends, while you’re lunching with co-workers, during a family meal. Someone makes a wild generalization about women who get abortions, and you’re shocked. You try to remain civilized but it’s difficult. To make matters worse, you’re not sure how to reply.

Here are a few facts to help you refute some of the common myths about abortion.

Myth 1: Even if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion would still be legal.

Fact: Some states have abortion bans [PDF] on the books that predate Roe or have been put in place in case the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade. If Roe is overturned those bans would immediately become enforceable.

Myth 2: American women are able to have legal abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy in all 50 states.

Fact: That wasn’t true when the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade in 1973 and it’s not true now. In Roe, the court ruled that women have a right to abortion during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy and the state cannot restrict the procedure. In the third trimester, which encompasses the period after the point of fetal viability, the state may prohibit abortion as long as it is still permitted if the life or health of the mother is at risk. However, in the 2007 case Gonzales v. Carhart,  the Court upheld a federal ban on second-trimester abortions even though the law did not contain an exception [PDF] in cases when the women’s health is in danger, thus signaling their willingness to further restrict abortion access.

Myth 3: Women who have abortions are selfish and self-centered.

Fact: The decision to have an abortion is rarely simple. Most women  are very cognizant of the demands of parenthood and want to have a family only when the time is right. They are concerned about their ability to provide a stable  environment for themselves and their children.

Myth 4: Abortions cause pain for the fetus.

Fact: Many physicians and medical researchers believe that fetuses don’t begin to feel pain until some time during the third trimester–after 99 percent of all abortions have been performed.

Myth 5: Abortions are readily available across the country.

Fact: There are no abortion providers in 88 percent of all U.S. counties. In non-metropolitan areas, the figure rises to 97 percent. As a result, many women must travel long distances to reach the nearest abortion provider.

Myth 6: Abortion is a very dangerous procedure.

Fact: Abortion is one of the safest surgical procedures for women. The risk of death associated with abortion is low and the risk of major complications is less than 1 percent. In fact, giving birth is more dangerous than an abortion.

Myth 7: Abortion providers are in it to make a lot of money.

Fact: Abortion providers generally charge less for their services than physicians in other specialties. In addition, many of them continue their work in spite of regular threats to their lives and safety.

Myth 8: If a woman doesn’t want to have a child, she should use contraception or abstain.

Fact: There is no contraceptive that is 100 percent effective. Even total abstinence fails when a women is raped. Over half (54 percent) of the women seeking abortions had tried to prevent the pregnancy during the month in which they became pregnant. Of the 46 percent who had not used contraceptives, many believed they were at a low risk for pregnancy or had concerns about contraceptive methods.

Myth 9: Women have multiple abortions rather than using birth control.

Fact: Most women who have abortions (52 percent) have had no previous abortions, and 26 percent have had only one previous abortion. Considering that most women are fertile for more than 30 years, and that birth control is not perfect, the likelihood of having one or two unintended pregnancies is very high.

Myth 10: Many women who have had abortions are traumatized and suffer from “post-abortion stress syndrome.”

Fact: There is no scientific evidence, or the observable reality of 33 years of legal abortion in the United States, to support the idea that having an abortion is any more dangerous to a woman’s long-term mental health than delivering and parenting a child she did not intend to have or placing a baby for adoption.

These are just a few of the myths about abortion, there are so many more. Please share the myths you hear most often and how you answer them, if you do. Let’s educate each other.

Left: Pro-choice protesters. Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/16339684@N00/ / CC BY 2.0

Right: Anti-choice protester. Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/daveynin/ / CC BY 2.0


  1. The only one I need to say something about is #10. While there IS no scientific prove, there are many women who are proof, myself included. P.A.S.S. does not affect MANY women, however, for some women who have an abortion, dealing with the aftermath is traumatic in itself. After mine I fell apart. I needed a therapist to cope with the whole scope of the situation and the attacks from anti-choice people. While I appreciate you saying that not all women are traumatized from the experience, there are many who ARE. The name P.A.S.S. was given as a title to help describe the issues we all were having. It is something that many women supper from, but few want to prove it out of just wanting the situation to disappear in their mind. I’m ok now, but for around 2 years I had an unshakable depression attributed to it. There are lots of other women who have as well and some may never get over it. It would be nice if you could include in your article that while it’s not a proven traumatic event, many women suffer extreme depression and PTSD symptoms afterwards. The worst part is since it’s not proven, many counselors will refuse to help women who have that problem. We shouldn’t have to prove ourselves to seek help.

    • He didn’t say it wasn’t traumatic, he said that it is no more traumatic than giving a child up for adoption or raising a child you did not want.

      • jody j says i was forced into an abortion at 26 by my mother and brother i am conservative and didnt want to go through this afterwards i had complications and nearly died from blood loss. I probably wouldnt have lasted with my then boyfriend but abortion is no solution i have suffered over the years have depression anxiety sleep less nights. I am 48 years old now have endometriosis and cant have childten with my husband. My sister just had a baby at 49 and its difficult bitter sweet i guess.

        Please just think about abortion carefully as i have suffered for so many years sadly i would of made a great mother.

        • Amy Randolph says:

          That’s not an argument against abortion, that’s an argument against forcing an abortion on someone who doesn’t want it.

    • It’s grief. That’s all. We all recognise it. I grieved after my abortion, mainly because no one knew. I was alone. But with the grief I knew I had done the right thing and I also felt relieved. And empowered. This was MY body and it was MY decision.

      I don’t believe PASS is an actual condition, its merely grief after a loss. PASS is just a name that pro-life groups use to make us feel that we’re victims.

      • Thank you for your post. I plan on having an abortion and fear I wouldnt feel any type of remorse or even suppress the emotions if I had any afterward. But that feeling of grievance. .. im oh too familiar with and am ready to face.

        • I have two beautiful daughters. The first of which I had at the age of 22. Abortion made more sense at 22 and deciding to become a single mother was a hard decision. But in my mind, from the moment my egg became fertilized, a reaction was taking place and whether or not others say that reaction is not a life, it was a life. Maybe I wasn’t ready to be a parent, maybe I was too young (lots of people told me so) and I listened to the arguments that it’s just a fetus it’s not a life. But it was the potential for life and I’m glad I didn’t abort. She is a strong independent 16 year old now. Would it have been easier without her. Maybe it would have taken me 10 years to get my degree but I did it anyway. It would have been a lot less expensive and probably a lot less grey hair. But while I’m not going to tell you not to abort if it’s the right choice for you. Only you know how much strength and frankly endurance you have. But don’t let anyone that the depression isn’t bad after an abortion. You can tell yourself it’s not a baby and others will tell you that but once it’s done your head and heart won’t believe it. They say post partum is bad? It’s nothing compared to being a mother without a child made worse because it was a choice.

      • Thefaceofgrieftimes3 says:

        I had a abortion in 2011. I had a baby in 2013 who died at daycare from SIDS. I was extremely depressed after my abortion but nothing compares to then having a baby that was very much wanted and loved taken from you at three months old. I’m at one end of the spectrum. My point in telling you this is everyone’s story is different and while you may not agree with someone’s opinion you should not assume everyone’s mental state and coping skills are the same. We all walk different paths and while sometimes our cross in similarity through life decisions such as abortion that does not mean women don’t suffer extreme undeniable depression and guilt after where as some do not.

    • I am struggling terribly after my abortion years later. It was my husband who didn’t want the baby…….and he keeps expecting me to just forget about it. What is wrong with me that I stayed with that maniac?! For years I was on drugs to numb myself……it’s unbearable without drugs so I have to go back on them. I have another child or I would have probably already killed myself. I will divorce him after my son leaves the home.

      • Do not wait if your husband is mentally abusing you. Sometimes that is enough to not continue a marriage or relationship.

    • I feel that my abortion lead to a lot of mental health problems for myself and I am still crying everyday after 34 years post abortion about that very bad choice. I swore I would never do it again even if I was raped. I became obsessed with having a child afterwards and became pregnant about 2 and a half years later as I was contemplating suicide I became pregnant again but this was not planned and due to ta rape. I had a hard time and felt bad because my feelings about being pregnant were very unhappy but I could not bring myself to abort because of the promise I made. I kept my child but felt very depressed because I did feel bonded to her and knew she would never know het father. She is grown now and we have a descent relationship. I am not anguishing over the fact that she is here but I am still anguishing over the fact that I terminated a pregnancy. So even in the worst situation I think it will be easier to deal with having the child rather than an abortion.

    • ECRaymond says:

      I’m sorry to hear you had to deal with PASS but wonder if perhaps all the moralizing people do about abortion might not be a contributing factor.

    • Norma Manning says:

      We were told by a Commander at a military hospital that we would not be able to have children. We refused to give up and after five years of marriage, we delivered our first. It took an additional three years to have our second. In quick order we had our third. I was four months pregnant when I spontaneously miscarried our fourth into the toilet at home. Out of embarrassment, I hadn’t told family or friends that I had been pregnant for a fourth time. I knew in my heart that having four children would be frowned upon and I would be judged harshly. My OBGYN had Previously warned me that I shouldn’t have any more children because, “Your uterus is thin.” I was one of five children and at the time my doctor’s warning I thought her warning felt manipulative and judgmental (I think she thought we were too poor to have babies), so guilt had kept me from getting prenatal care for this pregnancy. my husband and I grieved in private as I was prescribed medication to clean out my uterus. Eventually the grief caused me to reach out to my mother. Mom empathetically let me know that she had miscarried late term, a sixth child and sometimes still felt sad about it. Today, after five pregnancies and four children, I have one college graduate, my youngest is a freshman in college, one is graduating from college this spring and one graduating next year. I still sometimes think about our missing baby, I wish that I had gotten mental health help when it happened. I hope that my own children will come to me immediatly if they ever face a pregnancy crisis. We need to stop judging other women and start supporting each other.

    • Nicole Murphy says:

      I think if a woman is suffering emotionally after an abortion she didn’t make the right choice. I have no guilt.

    • Gretchen Robinson says:

      The trauma is partly caused by religious right zealots and the hostility toward women who have abortions. The whole climate is judgmental and harsh. Many women are still scared to tell their abortion story, even decades later.

  2. Let me add as well, I am not meaning to use P.A.S.S. as an anti-abortion tool. I’m a member of I’m Not Sorry and many other groups. However i DID deal with trauma afterwards and found it incredibly difficult to obtain any help simple because it wasn’t “proven”. Because P.A.S.S. wasn’t a recognized condition I was left pretty much on my own. I had a therapist to treat me for depression, but it wasn’t until I found a community of other women with P.A.S.S. that I was able to move on and feel confidence again. I don’t regret what I did, I regret that I was bullied into it, and I still am bothered occasionally by all the situations surrounding what happened that day. But, that’s to the fellow P.A.S.S. survivors that helped me to cope, I am not proud to say I’m Not Sorry and I help fellow women who are having a troubling time with coping. Just because we’re the 1% doesn’t mean we should be ignored.

  3. Patricia says:

    Roxanne: I totally agree with you. I also am not anti-abortion but I think to deny that there are long term pschological effects for many women simply as a pro-abortion stance does a great disservice to women. I had no idea how my abortion would impact me many years later, and I think that it is only fair that we as other women acknowledge that there are consequences to this choice so that it is a completely informed choice. We should be able to have real conversations about these issues and not be so entrenched in our positions that we refuse to listen to valid arguments.

    • Yes this. Women should help and support each other. My daughter had an abortion and for many years grieved in silence. Women need to acknoweldge that this is real, so we are completely informed about what may occur. I’m not saying that abortion is wrong, but we need to acknowledge the reality of the consequences of our choices, so that people like my daughter can grieve and heal. And we need to find better, more reliable birth control so that the discussion is not necessay.

  4. I have a friend who was depressed for years after giving up a child for adoption, and she’s not the only one. This is not an easy choice.

  5. Roxanne & Patricia – Thank you for your comments. I did not mean to suggest that no woman ever experiences sadness, regret or depression after an abortion. I was refuting the myth that PASS is a common after effect of abortion. Dealing with an unwanted pregnancy is never easy, regardless of the ultimate decision. Researchers have found that up to 10 percent of women have symptoms of depression or other psychological distress after an abortion — the same rates experienced by women after childbirth. I’m glad you mentioned I’m Not Sorry http://www.imnotsorry.net/. You might also want to check our Exhale at http://www.4exhale.org/index.php. Both are excellent resources for women who are in need of post-abortion counseling and support.

  6. I loved myth nine. This is a great piece and i learned a lot. The only time the subject came up in my company was either with people who were pro- choice or my kids who were pro- choice. The mantra in our home was ” a woman’s right to choose” in fact we used it so often out of context it became one of our favorite ‘ in ‘ jokes. In England people tend to keep their own personal stories personal and I believe that’s probably because the issue is like talking politics or money…and in England you don’t discuss either except in the abstract …but important to mention …abortion in England unlike Ireland has been a woman’s option for more that forty years. Women travel in daily from Eire…

  7. Let’s take this point by point:
    True, many states do have those laws and I have never actually heard this argument used as an argument against abortion. Also, Roe v. Wade was unconstitutional.
    Not every state but several states allow it.
    Many times it is the case the woman has it for selfish reasons, also there are many cases where men force the women into abortions so they don’t have to face responsibility. However the simple argument so often used, it’s my body and I can do what I want is selfish, if also for the only reason that it takes both a man and a woman to make a baby. One of the key outcomes of having sex is getting pregnant and if the woman can’t face that she shouldn’t be having sex.
    sure there are physicians who say that, there are also many others who say that fetuses can feel pain much earlier on. Also, upon viewing the ultrasound of an abortion has caused some medical assistants to oppose abortion because of the signs of pain of the fetus.
    Readily available in the sense that in any state abortions are offered, people have to travel long distances to see specialists all the time.
    Any surgery has risks of complications, but abortions seem to be portrayed now as a procedure as basic as an annual physical checkup.
    Abortion providers do make a lot of money, and more so than charging the patients they make a lot on donations. The threats to their lives more than most doctors I will give you that.
    Absolutely there is no contraceptive that is 100% effective, which is why abstinence is the best option. As for rape (which accounts for less than1% of abortions) the rapist should be the one being punished not the baby.

    52% is just barely a majority. Increasingly women have been using abortion as a form of birth control.

    There are a great number of women who are scarred for life with regret and suffer from suicidal tendencies after having had an abortion.

    Now allow me to offer some points
    A fetus is biologically a unique human being at conception, it has it’s won human DNA distinct from it’s mother’s.
    What about the case of Laci Peterson where her husband got a double murder for killing both her and her unborn baby?

    • Are you serious – no couple should EVER have sex unless they want a child?
      I can tell you right now that my husband would be understandably out of his mind if I absolutely refused to have sex with him from here on in because I didn’t want anymore children.

      I have had 2 pregnancies terminated, 2 births and 2 miscarriages (both in very early stages but I always know when Im pregnant from an extremely early time). out of those 4 pregnancies (not including my 2 births which I obviously chose to keep) ONE occured because I didn’t use contraception of some kind. ONE OUT OF 4. Sometimes contraceptives just do not work, are not receptive, are compromised. It was my responsibility to protect myself from pregnancy and I did so in the best way presented to me at the time and I still fell pregnant. Keeping a child that you cannot care for, do not want, do not have the capacity to love and protect is selfish. SO MUCH MORE selfish than not giving birth to it in the first place.

      Also, FWIW the pregnancy that resulted in me NOT using contraception was one that I was going to keep, but lost to miscarriage.

    • we should just outlaw any form of sexual activity if its sole reason isn't to create a child. that way we can prevent a billion poor little half-humans from wasting away in a discarded blob of sperm.

    • @BAW “Abortion providers do make a lot of money” “Increasingly women have been using abortion as a form of birth control” bit contradictory, surely women would not want to “increasingly” choose a method of contraception that costs a”lot of money”!!
      ” it’s my body and I can do what I want” is selfish so lets just let the govt, anti-abortionists and others do what they want is it? Now that makes a lot of sense
      “rapist should be the one being punished not the baby” yeah right and punishing the rapist will give a great life to the unwanted kid with a mother who might be for all we know a teenager in her eighth grade, a mentally or physically challenged person or a working person who is barely making ends meet. Great minds think alike this is exactly how the Muslim Mullas in the middle east think. Good luck to the tax payers who are going to support these unwanted kids. Talk about “depression” have you any idea what an unwanted orphan feels like? Do you have any idea what its like for an eighth grader to give up her games/studies and become a mother? (it happens all the time in India and Bangladesh and look at those counties, with an attitude like this you will soon get there) Do you realize that its easy to procreate but impossible to create happy responsible individuals without a willing set of parents and minimum necessities?

    • And there are hundreds of thousands of women scarred from having been forced to relinquish a child to adoption, not to mention the adoptees themselves. This is a very shortsighted and ignorant assessment. Look at the entire Original Birth Certificate movement, adoption reform organizations such as the American Adoption Congress and a plethora of others, and you will find a movement of great urgency to fight against the multi-billion dollar adoption industry that has left thousands permanently scarred. And these scars do not go away in a couple of years. In fact, research shows that these scars deepen with time. It is a lifetime grief that goes unrecognized by our society at large and, shamefully, by the feminist movement itself.

  8. Any list that begins with two points about Roe vs. Wade isn’t a list of the 10 worst abortion myths: it’s a list of the 10 standard American myths about abortion.

  9. One of the myths that irks me the most is the idea that pro-choice=pro-abortion. No one is "for" abortions, or excited about abortions. Pro-choice is what it says–pro CHOICE. "Pro-life" is misleading because it suggests that those who are not pro-life are against life in some way. I recently saw a bumper sticker that said "I bet pro-choicers are glad their parents weren't," which suggests that all women who are pro-choice have abortions. This is an absurd notion, and I often point out that the correct terms for this debate are pro-choice and anti-choice.

    • Pro-choice is not a good label either. Many who are pro abortion rights are against school choice, or choosing to own a gun, or any number of other choices.

  10. May I make a sugestion,when pro-lifers talk about baby slaughters,ask them which one are you refering to the one in Irak or the one in Afganistan.

    • Stick to the topic. What does the war have to do with abortion? Many pro-life people are also against war, so your 'suggestion' makes no sense.

  11. Susan Eve says:

    Teenaged (and younger) girls are too immature to make an informed decision to choose an abortion but mature enough (mentally and physically) to carry a pregnancy for 9 months, to experience its delivery, and to either raise it or release it for adoption!!

    An observation about girls and women who experience depression following an abortion: in my lifetime (in the U.S.) I have watched the subject of abortion change from illegal and secret (not discussed anywhere including in Church) to legal and discussed everywhere by those who were/are opposed to the legality. Two or more generations of girls have grown up in homes & religions in which abortion was a sin, a shame, a murder of an innocent baby. When many of those girls and women, themselves, later chose to/needed to have an abortion some may have had to deal with the aftermath of the guilt from their upbringing.

  12. Terry – Thanks for pointing out the reality in England and Ireland. Human Right Watch recently issued a report about what happens to Irish women seeking abortions. You can read it here: http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/04/19/ground-access-abortion-ireland.

    Yonmei – You are right, these are American myths. I’d love to hear the myths that exist in other countries. If you are familiar with them, please share – we’d love to know what is said in other parts of the world about the issue.

  13. BAW – You are obviously anti-choice and have no interest in women’s lives. But you are entitled to your opinion.

  14. Sarah – I’m with you on those bumper stickers – nonsensical. Many, if most, of the pro-choice women I know have children.

  15. I’m slightly concerned about the way you address #9 (“Women have multiple abortions rather than using birth control”) because to say “actually, most women have few abortions” implicitly helps maintain the idea that having an abortion, or multiple abortions, is morally wrong. I assume that most women would prefer to use other methods of birth control rather than have multiple abortions, so I would argue against the idea that women have multiple abortions RATHER than using birth control. But I don’t want to support the idea that having multiple abortions is something we have to apologize for. Many women (especially poor women, sex workers, and rape survivors) are unable to use other forms of birth control for a variety of reasons. The point is that abortion is health care and it should be legal and available to any woman who needs it, and she shouldn’t have to prove it’s her first one – or that she tried to use other forms of contraception that failed – to justify it.

  16. @Paen
    I would agree there, I am opposed to abortion a well as “Collateral damage” or anything that causes the death of innocent life.

    • Then get mad at ur husband for flushing so much life down the toilet when u r not present or maybe u r and he just can’t stand u….see sperm is just as living as a zygote and then early fetus. It is not viable without a host. So innocent life is such a broad term and doesn’t describe what it is at the moment during abortion. Rarely are 2nd term abortions done without medical cause. And it is so an unselfish decision. See the the mother thinks about the quality of the life not quantity like prolifers. If that mother has kids and knows her life is in jeopardy then she makes an unselfish decision for her living innocent lives she had created to remain on this earth for their support. I had an abortion but knew it HAD to be done because I already had two children who needed me more. And I don’t need to explain to ANYONE how I got pregnant because IT’S NOT OF UR DAMN BUSINESS!! I didn’t even grieve because I knew I didn’t do anything wrong. To me grieving was obsolete because there was nothing but cells multiplying. What is there to grieve?
      If I was to grieve the loss of the possibility of a baby I would cry every month when I ovulate and do not become pregnant! ! Sperm and ovum are just as much innocent life by urdefinition. But I don’t because for one it was a life I chose not to create and two it wasn’t a human life. U can feel any kind of way about the subject but ignoring FACTS is by definition ignorant.

  17. Myths #9 and #10 need space for a more broad-based, honest discussion that is presented from a reproductive justice perspective and validates the experiences of *all* women, even though it may make the issue more complex, and therefore, more difficult to have. Some women who have abortions do experience sadness or regret afterward, and their truth deserves to be heard and respected (see Jennifer Baumgardner’s book Abortion & Life and her film I Had an Abortion). Same goes for women who use abortion as a form of birth control, because there are some out there who have/do (see Irene Vilar’s stunningly brilliant book Impossible Motherhood), which happens for various reasons that illuminate inequities that are intricately related to reproductive rights. One is the lack of comprehensive sex education. Another is inadequate access to health care, including contraception that puts the power in girls’ and women’s hands.

    I also want to second Brigid’s very worthwhile point and bring up a myth that I wish had been included/refuted here: that there is a link b/t abortion and breast cancer.

  18. BAW is entitled to his/her opinion. But he/she has obviously been smoking something stronger than tobacco. Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional? On what basis? And in what universe does anyone consider abortion to be as basic as a physical check-up? Not in my universe. The response to point #8 implies that this individual thinks that even in the case of rape a woman should be forced to carry a baby to term. Does this individual have ANY idea what this would do to a woman already traumatized by rape? And the last point regarding the Laci Peterson case is incredibly specious. One legal precedent in one state does not prove anything. As someone who in fact did undergo an abortion when I was 22, I can tell you 1) it was a very hard decision (for the record, I had an IUD in place at the time) 2) I have remained thankful every day in the 32 years that have passed since I had the abortion that I was able to go to a clinic where I was treated with kindness and dignity & did not have to pass through a gauntlet of sign-waving fanatics. BAM’s post is very scary to me because it is SO far from the truth.

  19. While I am also pro-abortion, there is another claim that rather shocked me. Childbirth itself is not more dangeous than abortion. When done right, they are equally safe.

    Many people believe that modern day in hospital births is what has lowered the infant and maternal mortality rate in countries that have them, but that is not the fact. Diseases have dwindled, people have better hygeine, and prenatal care has improved– those have helped. But in-hospital births are actually accountable for several births that could have gone better. So many women get c-sections that don’t need them, and you have to pay more to get them. Many women are practically tied down to a bad and forced on their backs when giving birth in hospitals, and this greatly hurts the natural labor process. Moving around and different squating positions not only lowers risk of a harmful birth, but it also relieves and even prevents many pains. Think about it: name one animal (other than the ones recieving “assistance” by humans, sheep, horses, cows, etc.) that just lay down while giving birth. That’s just not how it works. The pressure from gravity while laying on the back, to the hips and internal organs, cuases more damage… YET doctors still have women do this. Why? Because they too don’t trust women. They think the only thing a woman is supposed to do is push (which actually causes anxiety and keeps the baby in longer, you’re supposed to just go with the contractions) and that they need to interfere and intrude.
    Ofcourse, there are special and rare cases when a birth is simply going to go wrong and the woman will need help (too young and hips are too small to carry child let alone give birth, etc.), just like how abortion has rare problems.

    It troubles me that so many feminists are in favor of safe abortions, but haven’t educated themselves on how the system has distressed and harmed women in child birth. Women deserve the right to a healthy birth that doesn’t go against their instincts and therefore distress and even traumatize them, and to not feel invaded by doctors, as much as they deserve the right to choose.

  20. I work in a Women’s health center and see daily the struggle many women go through because of the opinions of family, boyfrineds, their churches, their own desire to not have to deal with an unintended pregnancy. Most have used or do use birth ocntrol. Most have carefully considered their options and have decided that terminating the pregnancy is the best choice for them and their families. Many have children, many come in with their spouses, some have been raped, some emotoanlly or sexually abused. Some women report that they “do not believe” in abortion, yet they freely choose under their current circumstances to terminate their pregnancy. I trust women to govern their own reproductive lives. It is not my place to judge.
    As with every choice we all make in our lives, the choice to carry to term or termination a pregnancy carry with them, life changing circumstances. Some good, some difficult. Again I say, trust women to know their own lives. To govern their own lives. Do what you may with your own, but tread lightly when you consider yourself able to make the best choice for another person.

  21. @BAW – as you said in #3, it takes a man and a woman to make a baby and the outcome of sex is (can be) pregnancy, so if men can’t face that, maybe men should stop having sex.

    And as a general critique, I sure wish more “pro-life” people actually adopted the children (or at least, some of the children) they so promote should go up for adoption, instead of the abortion option. I mean, that part just doesn’t seem fair.

  22. BAW- Laci Peterson PLANNED to keep her baby (that’s why she was so pregnant when she died..) AKA not have an abortion, so of course her sick husband got charged with double homicide. Use some common sense now.

  23. Michelle says:

    One myth I'd like to see addressed is that having an abortion lowers your chances of having a successful pregnancy later, should you choose to.

    • Yes! That’s a very common one here in the South (USA). I periodically encounter women in my practice who’ve had an abortion and are worried about that–or worse, who think that a later, actual difficulty conceiving and/or carrying the fetus to term is their fault because they had an abortion. I’d love to see some data on that.

  24. I’m SO glad someone brought up both the use of the term, “pro-abortion” and the fact that so many anti-choice folks don’t follow through and support things that would actually HELP people, like comprehensive sex education and adoption. I just love how they can scream about “saving teh bebbies,” but many of them would just as soon allow a poor child starve to death.

    The term, “pro-abortion,” is incorrect. Most people do not FAVOR abortion. Pro-choice people support the right of all people to conduct their lives and their bodies as they wish. If I had a friend who was pregnant and not sure what she wanted to do, I would sure as heck not tell her she SHOULD have an abortion; however, if that was the decision she made, I would fully support her. If she chose to keep the child, I would fully support her…and so on. To label people who are “pro-choice” as “pro-abortion” is just hatemongering.

    I support a person’s right to seek out help in terminating their life if they have a terminal illness and intense pain with no relief, etc. Does that make me “pro-suicide?”

    Come, on! Use some common sense, for Pete’s sake!

    As for that BAW person, I’m just not going to bother. You can’t talk to people like that.

  25. L. G. Firestone says:

    Here’s another myth — that abortion causes breast cancer. Of course, there’s no scientific evidence that women who have had abortions are diagnosed more frequently with breast cancer.

    This myth may have arisen because breast cancer is promoted by estrogen. Pregnancy and breast-feeding temporarily stop the flow of estrogen. If a pregnancy is interrupted by abortion or miscarriage, estrogen levels rise sooner than they would if the pregnancy had been carried to term. However, this is a very minor factor among all the major factors that cause breast cancer.

    I’m a breast cancer survivor and mentor for current patients. Occasionally, someone who has been diagnosed will say, “This is all my fault — I should never have had that abortion forty years ago.” How sad that women experience such unnecessary guilt!

  26. Carol King says: “BAW – You are obviously anti-choice and have no interest in women’s lives. But you are entitled to your opinion.” Carol I think that BAW’s points were valid an BAW does not deserve the ‘no interest in women’s lives bit.’

    Being ‘anti-choice’ does not mean that you neglect women’s rights. It means that you recognise babies rights (fetus is a word that implicates the baby is a thing). The fundamental difference between one camp and the other is that one doesn’t think an unborn baby is a human being (rather a growth in a womans womb) and the other does. I do. And I do think having getting pregnant after being raped is traumatic, being pregnant when underaged is horrible, in fact we all agree on that. But stop treating people who are ‘anti-choice’ as evil.

    I would also like to protest against the image that is associated with the ‘pro-life’ people. Stop confusing conservative, catholic, bigoted, with anti-abortion. I am neither. In fact I am the most liberal person I know, and I do believe in choice of anyone to do anything as long as it DOESN’T HARM ANYONE ELSE. I just do count an unborn baby as a person.

    • I’m pro-choice and I consider a fetus a person.

      Thing is, I don’t think any person has the right to hijack the organs of another, even if they need to do so to live. A woman has the right to say “no” at any point during sex, so why doesn’t she have the right to say “no” at any point during a pregnancy? You are not forced to donate blood or plasma or even your own organs after you’re dead, so why should a woman be forced to share her body with another person if she doesn’t want to?

      • I’m also pro-choice but I prefer to think not in a strict “the foetus is a person/not a person” way and more in a “the more developed a foetus is the more of a person it is” sort of way. This means that I, personally, wouldn’t get an abortion later in a pregnancy unless there was health concerns for either me or the baby BUT I do respect other women’s rights to do whatever they want with their own bodies because, realistically, a baby is a part of it’s mother’s body until it is able to live separately.

  27. I agree, D. I too am very “liberal” (and feminist) except when it comes to abortion. I’ve always thought that it seemed liberal people care more about the lives of others than conservatives (in that liberal people tend to be anti-war, pro-health care, anti-capital punishment, etc). As someone who believes that a fetus is a person, it only seems to make sense that I am anti-abortion. I believe that effective contraceptives should be freely available and comprehensive sex education should be an essential part of a child’s school curriculum so that unwanted pregnancies can be avoided. I do recognize that this will not prevent all pregnancies and I believe that an abortion performed when a women has used reasonable methods to avoid pregnancy is not a intrinsically wrong.

  28. Just a point of clarification. States are constitutionally permitted and certainly do place restrictions on abortions performed during the 1st and 2nd trimesters, prior to fetal viability. One need look no further than the wave of legislation requiring woman to undergo ultrasounds and in some cases, hear detailed descriptions of the fetus, prior to the procedure.

    While Roe did indeed set up a trimester framework, that framework was rejected and overruled in the Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. Under Casey, abortion restrictions are permitted provided they do not place an “undue burden” on a woman seeking the abortion of a non-viable fetus. The Court defined undue burden as a restriction that places a “substantial obstacle” in the path of a woman seeking an abortion.

  29. #1
    you should mention the #s. that is what is horrific!
    In 30 states, women are at risk of losing their right to choose abortion after a reversal of Roe; 21 of these states warrant the highest level of concern.
    per the Center for Reproductive Rights report “what if roe fell?”

    On another point, the myth that is really bugging me, “women did not die from illegal abortions” “women do not die from illegal abortions”. I keep seeing this by anti-choice trolls on RHreality check.
    Wow. denying that women died before Roe is like denying the Holocaust or the rape of Nanking. Someone has totally brainwashed that person.

  30. Laura, so FYI
    Fifty-four percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant.

    and do you consider something that is 1.75 to 2.4 inches a human? It is a potential human if it continues down this path. But I have seen spontaneous abortions or fetal demise even at 40 weeks.

    until we have widely available birth control and comprehensive sex ed, then is it ok to have abortions?

    pro-choice simply means that you don’t think you should push your values and religious beliefs on anyone.

    And it is actually the conservatives anti-choice people who care little about the living (once a child is born) than the fetus. The states with the most restrictive abortion laws also have the LEAST amount of support for the babies that are born… So, let’s get the anti-choice people to work on supporting the babies that are born – more welfare, more child-care, and perhaps more people will choose to carry their pregnancies to term. Especially given the US’s current financial climate

    • +100!!!
      Thank u!

      The right wing sentiment toward the so-called ‘welfare queens’ on one hand, then the anti-choice sentiment on the other drives me bonkers! I want to scream, YOU CANT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS, DUMBA$$!

      I have never met a pro-choicer who doesn’t think it would be awesome if the need for abortions was reduced or eliminated.
      Finding yourself in the position where u have to consider an abortion sux. It just does. And I really feel that calling someone facing that situation selfish, is really quite evil. Because with a lot of these right wingers u get called selfish if u have the abortion, or u get called a lazy freeloader if u go on public assistance because u kept a child u could not afford to raise.

  31. It is wonderful that you are getting these myths out there and telling the truth. For those of us who work in abortion clinics, we have to dispel a lot of these myths when women come to us for help. Many women who are having abortions due so for many reasons. Women and abortion providers have been stigmatized and marginalized which in part because of these myths and lies. Fake clinics (Crisis Pregnancy Centers) lure women into their clinics and try to scare them out of having an abortion. Women in the second trimester have a hurdle to climb over and some of the myths surrounding second trimester abortion are even worse and part of the reason women come to us for later abortions. (Myths such as: Why did she wait so long? Women are stupid, etc.) On our website we have a section to debunk these myths at: http://www.womenshealthspecialists.org/our-services/abortion.

  32. Kathryn M says:

    Can anyone please tell me if there is a direct link between women who feel guilt and depression and who are most traumatised after having had an abortion and the type of religious upbringing they have had. Seems to me that the women who are most hurt are those who are bought up in a home with punitive religious beliefs.

  33. Danielle says:

    For those “feminists” that are complaining about the stereotyping of the “pro-life” side of this debate, I’m sorry mom and dad never told you, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you support any government move that wants to restrict what all women across the board do with their own bodies regardless of the individual circumstances, risk to their life or mental health, you are not a feminist.

    We are not different because you believe that a fetus is a baby and I don’t, we are different because you believe that a mass of tissue is more important than a full grown woman and I don’t. We are different in that I don’t want to sit in the living room of a woman I don’t know and pass judgment on her life to see whether or not she’s “worthy” of having control over her own body and by extension her own life. I know it’s not my place. We’re different in our practice of compassion toward another human being no matter who that human being is, what she’s done, or what her circumstances are. That is how we’re different.

    We are talking about situations in which the rights of a citizen of this country are in direct opposition to fetuses, masses of tissue, or unborn babies, whatever language you want to use. In that situation, if you’re going to take the side of one party, you MUST acknowledge that you are discarding the rights of the other. I’ve accepted that responsibility, and yet many of you refuse to do as much.

    So if those of us from the pro-choice side of the fence are unduly harsh or offensive to your sensibilities, I can pretty confidently inform you that it’s because we’re tired of waiting for you to grow up.

    • Actually we can. We are aloud by law to CHOSE to have abortions if we see fit. And thank GOD he gave us that choice and gave us science to make it all possible. U see if God saw that life the way u claim he wouldn’t make spontaneous abortions happen or still births and the list goes on. He gave us science to correct mistakes. U see God might not make mistakes but HUMANS do. U r not god so stop trying to act like u are

    • Danielle, 99.9% of what you said is EXACTLY how I have felt for years.

      You can’t say you’re pro-woman or feminist and then prioritize the life of a fetus over the life of a woman. “Pro-life” is inherently misogynistic because it calls for controlling women’s bodies and decisions, and fights to undercut basic human rights and dignity (namely autonomy). Denying the rights of a woman to “save” a potential life is paternalistic and condescending, stemming from the notion that women need to be protected from their own decisions or are too stupid to understand the gravity of the situation, navigate the intricate complexities, and make the appropriate choice without government interference.

      Thank you for debunking myths! The most common misconception growing up was abortions lead to infertility. This was so pervasive that one couple refused to use contraception, resulting in many abortions. Her boyfriend complained that they thought she could not get pregnant because she had an abortion before they met, and that each abortion was one step closer to total infertility.

      A good hint you are on the wrong side of history is when your side has to use lies and scare tactics (e.g “abortions cause infertility/death/depression/cancer”).

      • “A good hint you are on the wrong side of history is when your side has to use lies and scare tactics (e.g “abortions cause infertility/death/depression/cancer”).”

        Or such as when you hear someone say “most children whose parents put them up for adoption instead of choosing abortion wish that their mother had chosen abortion.”

        I guess both sides are wrong…

  34. PioneerGrrrl says:


    Growing up in a ‘good’ suburban neighborhood, I watched as a classmate of mine gushed about how ‘fun’ having a baby would be. She was enthralled with the whole concept of matching nursery sets and how the ‘baby would love her’. It has not quite worked out this way. She has a hard time obtaining child support and now with two children, she is worried that the second dad (and husband) might leave her.

    Reality is providing a rough wake up check to this person. It’s harder to stand and point fingers at women who do not continue pregnancies when her children lack adequate food to eat. Or when she becomes burdened from trying to get a job to make ends meet.

    Meanwhile, my own pro-choice politics already had taught me that having a baby was a big responsibility. I needed to wait until I was economically and mentally ready to attempt handling it. Otherwise it would not be fair to either of us.

    And I came to be pro-choice because of my disabilities. The epilepsy which I developed from required corrective surgery was what led me to this position. Because I must work for self-control of my neurological system, I understand the need for self-control over my reproductive system.

  35. Natalia says:


    Saying that women have abortions instead of using birth control is, no offense, really stupid. What kind of sane woman would say “Hmm I’d rather just have abortions instead of using a condom or going on the pill. Going to a clinic and getting this surgical procedure done every three months is way easier”. I have never heard a woman say that because no one thinks that way! Sure there are some careless people who don’t use contraception and they end up having an abortion, but trust me, they learn their lesson and start using contraception. Also, why the hell should we stop having sex?? Does that mean I only get to have sex when I’m ready to have children? Yeah..don’t think so.

    I also hate it when “pro-life” people advocate adoption. While adoption is a decent choice, it’s not necesarily better than abortion. Just because you give up a child for adoption, it does not mean that he or she will be adopted. Most children are adopted at birth, and if they don’t, trust me, the chances of them getting adopted goes down as they get older. I’m sorry, but bringing a child into the foster care system is sad. That to me, is selfish.

    • What is really selfish is that people want to adopt a newborn child as opposed to adopting from the foster care system. Why is it, in America, we propose permanent solutions (adoption) to potentiallytemporary problems (poverty). Most women who relinquish were either coerced through the media pap about doing a good thing (and then suffering from grief the rest of their lives) only because they are poor and do not have the resource and no social supports to keep the baby. Crisis pregnancy centers prey on these poor, vulnerable women and then leave them invisible in the wake of the ‘gift’ they have given. And let’s not forget, the adoption industry is a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

  36. Every single day, I am thankful I was able to abort. I did not weep and cry and get suicidal over that aborted baby. In fact, I did go out and celebrate two days later when I felt better. I took myself to dinner with friends and went shopping. Judge me if you want. However, I am not a woman who is easily guilted for making her own choices. I am childFREE-by-choice and enjoy my life. A child would have truly ruined my life and I was not about to wreck my body just to produce an infant for an adoption pool where the baby may not have been adopted or have an ingrate find me 18 years later demanding why I gave him/her up. I love my life as it is.

  37. Your article is completely opinionated. Want to speak facts? Here are some medically scientific unbiased sites.
    The Centers for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov
    The Guttmacher Institiute www,guttmacher.org
    American Pain Society http://www.ampainsoc.org/

  38. American Pain Society? Yeah, I’ve heard of them before…. please continue to enlighten us. (please take note of the should-be-obvious sarcasm in this comment.)

  39. Constance says:

    I am interested in the statement “Many physicians and medical researchers believe that fetuses don’t begin to feel pain”. “Many” implies that the vast majority DO believe a fetus feels pain. I wish she would have added a link to a proper study on the subject of pain. As it is, it is left so open ended the statement is more of an opinion piece as opposed to a fact based piece.

    I run a women’s center and have many clients who have, or will have in the future, abortions. My job is not to judge or advise (& I 100% support women no matter what their decision is), but to listen and counsel. It is my experience in the field that when a client is followed over years there is 100% are tramatized wether they still feel they made the right decision or not. The longest I have followed a client is 25 years. While she still stedfastly holds that her decision was right and is fully suportive of abortion, she “slips up” often enough when she brings it up for me to see how the trama of the abortion effects her. How can having to make such a major decision not effect you? We are haunted by bad marriages and relationships, why would we not fully understand it is the same with abortion? The longer that we deny there is an issue, the longer women go without help. Not “help” learing that they “sinned” and “abortion is wrong”, but help in moving past and completely healing their lives.

    Finaly, in it for the money or not, there is a lot of money to be made in abortion. It is a medical practice with limited lawsuits afterwards. To deny this again puts us in the position of defending something that is undefendable. OB/GYNs make money, does that mean we shut them all down? NO, so we simply cannot deny what is fact. And there is no way to know the “heart” of a person performing an abortion as long as they are in the business of making money. Until, and unless, it becomes a not-for-profit, we must assume money is a factor. And yes, my practice is 100% as you can afford, or free to every woman!

    Not one of my statements is anti-abortion as I am pro-life for WOMEN, as women are who must make the difficult decision to get an abortion, or not to, and we must take their lives into account. But, if we are not willing to accept that some of the facts the pro-life side throw at us we will fight a loosing battle. I say throw open the doors and stick to facts. Only then will we not appear to be covering something up!

    • I call bs. I have had one and didn’t she’d A TEAR! My friend had one and neither did she!! We both have children and both of us know better than to cry over something that isnt. Sorry but u r wrong.

  40. I’m absolutely Pro Choice. I believe that both men and women have the right to choose to have sex. That’s my Pro Choice stance. However, I’m not “Pro Choose your own consequences”. Like Patricia said about the decision to have an abortion, “I think that it is only fair that we as other women acknowledge that there are consequences to this choice”. I think it’s only fair that we all recognize that there are consequences to having sex. I believe and celebrate that we are free to choose our actions. But that doesn’t mean we get to choose the outcomes. I’m sure you’ve all heard this before. I just thought I’d throw it out there and get some feedback. Yes, I’m a man, so I’ll never be able to see this completely from a woman’s perspective. But I’m open to listening 🙂

  41. This post is showing a differen sode of the story… a pro-choice christian adoptee. Do you know what pisses me off? WhenAnti-choicers rant about “abortion is making the baby pay for its own mistakes” when it’s not even a baby. And did they ever consider their “perfect” alternative? Adoption makes the ACTUAL ALIVE BABY WITH FEELINGS AND A WORKING BRAIN pay for the adoption. Do you know how hard it is going out anywhere being an asian girl with a Caucasian family and Caucasian brother biological to the parents? People look at me like they don’t know if I’m crazy or trying to awkwardly tag along with that family. And then you have the idiots who are like “you should be so grateful you were adopted by a loving family” well guess what @$$h0le adoption’s main goal isnt to provide a needy child a home (the hundreds of thousands of KIDS in foster care or the unwanted minority or special needs babies) it’s to provide a selfish couple with a child. All the antis are all “accepting whatever god bestowed upon you” why can’t infertile couples accept that god bestowed infertility upon them??!! If its selfish to want to abort its selfish to want to adopt a child who isnt yours. Adoption is human trafficking. Dont tell me a baby picked right up from the hospital costs $30,000. Also, look up ANY website about the negative emotional effects resulting from adoption on the mother and child and you’d be horrified. http://www.birthmothers.info/kelly/results.html shows the real statistics and numbers. You have all the antis screaming about how abortion causes long term effects and depression well then they should look at “their other option” and the negative effects. Or look up imnotsorry.com a place where pro choicers can share their experiences with positive no side effect abortions. The only case where adoption should be legal is abandoned children. Then theres the problem of shady agencies KIDNAPPING babies for adoption in Guatemala. So all you antis take your bs and shove it and keep your rosaries off my ovaries.

    • I meant different side and making a baby pay for the parents’ mistake

    • Thanks for your post Lauryn. Yes, adoption is a valence issue in this country, meaning that people have a knee jerk positive reaction to the utterance of the word with no consideration whatsoever for the complex dynamics of this money making institution. As a birthmother, I understand it from that standpoint, and it has had a lifelong negative impact on me, including the inability to ever have an intimate relationship again (and that was 39 years ago). Australia has had the good sense and ethical reasoning to outlaw private adoptions, because ultimately it IS about human trafficking. Ideally, every child should be a wanted child. And in those few cases where the mother really cannot or will not care for her infant, the child should be place within the family, if at all possible. Only when all avenues from within the family have been exhausted, should a child be place for adoption to strangers. And there should NEVER be money involved.

      Adoption is a multimillion dollar a year industry. And if we include the peripheral aspects of it, it may even be a multibillion dollar a year industry (and certainly so if we look at it from an international standpoint). See Claudia D’Arcy’s “Musings of the Lame” blog for LOTS of great information: http://www.adoptionbirthmothers.com/

  42. PLEASE do a Canadian version of this!

  43. If anyone thinks that “giving a baby ip for adoption” is a “simple solution”, you are drastically, sorely wrong. EVEN walking away from a baby resulting from rape leaves a huge hole in your life that you agonize over nonstop. Every child of the right age becomes “could that be?”, you silently mourn EVERY BIRTHDAY, hoping and praying your baby went to good people who love and care and nuture the way you would.

    Unless YOU have been forced to walk away, don’t be so quick to force it on others.

  44. I’m not entirely anti-abortion but I’m also not entirely pro-choice either. I realize there are situations ,be it personal or health reasons, where abortion is unfortunately necessary. I only hold issue with the small percentage of women (yes ,they exist) who DO use it as a birth control method. To quote one woman with whom I am acquainted, “if the morning after pill don’t work there’s always abortion, I ain’t usin no condom”. Yep, she said that. Why is that acceptable? That’s a horrible thing to say.
    The other issue ,for me,is the father’s rights. If the mother just doesn’t want to raise a child for whatever reason, what would it hurt to give the father custody and she go on with her life? Is it so selfish a reason as not wanting to “destroy ” her body with a full term pregnancy? These aren’t sarcastic questions or remarks. I’d love a real answer.


  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by Carolluking: My latest Ms. magazine blog – Refute the myths about abortion. http://bit.ly/c0gvpi

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