Nature on U.S. abortion laws

The 26 October issue of Nature has a news article on the involvement of US scientists and scientific organisations in fact-checking the dubious arguments made by anti-abortion supporters, incl. several US States. None of them (arguments) are convincing or objective, but providing data and statistical models to counter them is welcome, especially in a scientific journal like Nature.

“…an initiative to compare women who had abortions with those who wanted them, but were turned away from clinics for various reasons, including state restrictions or a lack of doctor availability. Called the Turnaway Study, the effort followed about 1,000 women in the United States for five years after they sought abortions. The women were similar in terms of physical, mental and economic well-being initially, but diverged over time (…) on average, receiving an abortion didn’t harm women’s mental or physical health, but being denied an abortion resulted in some negative financial and health outcomes.”

“Allowing states to ban abortion might even increase maternal and infant mortality rates (…) Unwanted pregnancies are associated with worse health outcomes for several reasons, including that people who plan their pregnancies tend to change their behaviour — drinking less alcohol, for example — and receive prenatal medical care long before those who are surprised by their pregnancy and don’t want it.”

“statistical methods developed over the past 30 years allow researchers to isolate and measure the effects of abortion policies (…) Abortion legalization in the 1970s helped to increase women’s educational attainment, participation in the labour force and earnings — especially for single Black women.”

“The United States is alone among wealthy nations in not mandating paid maternity leave (…) a single parent earning the minimum wage would need to spend more than two-thirds of their income on childcare, with care for the average infant costing about US$10,400 per year (…) two main reasons that women give for seeking abortions are concerns about money and caring for existing children.”

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