Opinion: Strict US anti-abortion laws harm women

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Opinion: Strict US anti-abortion laws harm women

Deutsche Welle

Opinion: Strict US anti-abortion laws harm women
Opinion: Strict US anti-abortion laws harm women. picture-alliance/dpa/AP/The Montgomery Advertiser/M. Welsh
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Alabama’s new anti-abortion law, passed on Tuesday by the Alabama State Senate, is the strictest legislation of its kind in the entire United States. It is essentially a ban on abortions, making them illegal from the very moment a woman learns she is pregnant. A doctor who performs an abortion can face up to 99 years in jail. No exception is granted for women who become pregnant through rape or incest.

The law marks a new low point in an uncompromising campaign by anti-abortionists in the US. Radical pro-lifers and conservatives neither care about womens’ particular life circumstances, nor their rights, let alone what the facts have to say on the matter. And while they claim to speak for the majority of Americans, that is not actually true: Two-thirds of people in the US today want abortions to be legal, though they favor certain restrictions. Only 18% believe that abortions should be illegal under all circumstances.

Fear-mongering anti-abortionists

Abortion opponents have and continue to attack the fundamental right to have abortions by spreading grisly images and tales of chopped up babies after late abortions. But in reality, 34% of all pregnancies in the US are terminated within the first six weeks, while the vast majority of all abortions are carried out in the first 12 weeks. Yet the anti-abortion camp apparently prefers to shock, rather than rely on facts, when making its case.

If the Republicans really wanted to cut down on the number of abortions in the US, they should pursue a totally different strategy. The statistics show that more, rather than fewer, women terminate pregnancies in countries with strict anti-abortion laws. Strict abortion laws also cause higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, because outlawing the practice makes it more likely that women will have their pregnancies terminated by people who are not medical professionals.

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