Archive for abortion

bad news for reproductive rights

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2022 by xi'an

Last week, when reading about Japan [late in] coming close validating drug induced abortion, I found out that both surgical and medical abortions in Japan do require [by law] the consent of the woman’s partner! As denounced by both the World Health Organisation and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, this is an appalling restriction, a violation of reproductive rights, and  a potential tool for partner abuse.

And then came the news of Poland setting a database of pregnancies, reported by medical personnel. Which is of course worrying in a country where abortion is essentially illegal. As the über conservative Polish authorities could use the database to hunt and prosecute women who have self-administered abortions….

Meanwhile, Oklahoma governor just signed a law making abortion illegal at conception, following another law turning abortion practice into a felony… Not even waiting for the SCOTUS [likely] abrogation of Roe v. Wade.

put the data aside [SCOTUS v. evidence]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2022 by xi'an

Reposted from a Nature editorial:

(…) Moving in the opposite direction runs contrary to 50 years of research from around the world showing that abortion access is a crucial component of health care and is important for women’s equal participation in society. After the Supreme Court agreed to hear Mississippi’s case last year, Nature covered some of this evidence, submitted to the court by US scientific societies and more than 800 US researchers in public health, reproductive health, social sciences and economics, to the court in advance of the case’s hearing in December.

Some outcomes of outlawing abortion can be predicted by what’s known. Researchers expect overall infant and maternal health to decline in the United States in the wake of abortion bans, because more unintended pregnancies will be brought to term. Unintended pregnancies are associated with an increased risk of health problems for babies, and often for mothers, for several reasons — including reduced prenatal care.

Maternal health is also expected to decline overall. One straightforward reason is that the risks of dying from pregnancy-related causes are much greater than the risks of dying because of a legal abortion. A predicted rise in maternal mortality among Black women in the United States is particularly distressing, because the rate is already unacceptably high. In one study, sociologist Amanda Stevenson at the University of Colorado Boulder modelled a hypothetical situation in which abortions are banned throughout the United States, and found that the lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes for non-Hispanic Black women would rise from 1 in 1,300 to 1 in 1,000.

One claim made by abortion opponents in this case is that abortions no longer benefit women and even cause them harm, but dozens of studies contradict this. In just one, health economist Sarah Miller at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and her colleagues assessed around 560 women of comparable age and financial standing who sought abortions. They found that, five years after pregnancy, women who were denied the procedure had experienced a substantial increase in debt, bankruptcies, evictions and other dire financial events — whereas the financial standing of women who had received an abortion had remained stable or improved. A primary reason that women give for wanting an abortion is an inability to afford to raise the child, and this study suggests that they understand their own situations.

Abortion bans will extract an unequal toll on society. Some 75% of women who choose to have abortions are in a low income bracket and nearly 60% already have children, according to one court brief submitted ahead of the December hearing and signed by more than 150 economists. Travelling across state lines to receive care will be particularly difficult for people who do not have the funds for flights or the ability to take time off work, or who struggle to find childcare.

Unfortunately, some of the justices seem to be disregarding these data. At the December hearing, Julie Rikelman, a lawyer at the non-profit Center for Reproductive Rights, headquartered in New York City, brought up studies presented in the economists’ brief; Roberts interrupted her and suggested “putting that data aside”. In the leaked draft opinion, Alito also elides a body of research on abortion policy, writing that it’s “hard for anyone — and in particular for a court — to assess” the effect of the right to abortion on women’s lives.

Such an attitude suggests that the justices see research as secondary to the question of whether the US Constitution should protect abortion. But the outcome of this ruling isn’t an academic puzzle. The Supreme Court needs to accept that the consensus of research, knowledge and scholarship — the evidence on which societies must base their laws — shows how real lives hang in the balance. Already, the United States claims the highest rate of maternal and infant mortality among wealthy nations. Should the court overturn Roe v. Wade, these grim statistics will only get worse.

Nature on U.S. abortion laws

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2021 by xi'an

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.”

Roe vs. Wade vs. NYT?

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2021 by xi'an

While the NYT still offers a liberal view on abortion issues, with a recent and most interesting opinion tribune on the gradual politicization of anti-abortion in the past thirty years, and calls against the Texas vigilante State law against every single case of abortion, I noticed several entries going quite the opposite direction, one on the limitations of “my body my choice” drawing an appalling parallel between pro-choice and anti-vaccine arguments (!), written by an Anglican priest, calling for “a good that inspires fear and hope” (!!) and “positive liberty [as an] alternative to personal choice and individual autonomy” (!!!). And another essay by another religious extremist, professor at Southeastern Baptist theo(il)logical seminary, that rejoices at the Texas law as a first step, not “extreme” in the least..! Leading to a flow of letters to the journal. And yet another, with a paper reporting on abortion in Spain, which while legal since 2010 allows for “conscientious objectors” in such numbers as to prevent abortions in 5 of the 17 Spanish states. And gives most of its space to these objectors, ending up with an awfully patronizing and religious laden call to the “conscience” of their patients.

holy war

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2021 by xi'an

In a series of fascinating tribunes in the New York Times, Katherine Stewart points out the frightening anti-democratic views of the Christian extreme-right in the US. As exemplified by

“…a political system that gives disproportionate power to an immensely organized, engaged and loyal minority. One of the most reliable strategies for producing that unshakable cohort has been to get them to agree that abortion is the easy answer to every difficult political policy question. Recently, religious right leaders have shifted their focus more to a specious understanding of what they call “religious freedom” or “religious liberty,” but the underlying strategy is the same: make individuals see their partisan vote as the primary way to protect their cultural and religious identity.” K. Stewart

%d bloggers like this: