By Clara Sainsbury, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia volunteer
In recent years, anti-choice politicians have launched aggressive attacks to turn back the clock on women’s reproductive rights. They’ve depicted abortion as immoral, painful, and dangerous. A few weeks ago, I joined NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia’s webinar, ReproHealth 101, led by Virginia OBGYN and inspiring women’s health activist, Dr. Sara Imershein. She discussed some of the important medical truths about abortion and dispelled the myths perpetuated by anti-choice politicians. Listening to the webinar was such an educational experience that I had to share the information!
Amid all of the heated rhetoric, the truth about abortion is often obscured. Dr. Imershein explained that there are multiple safe methods to terminate a pregnancy, both medical and surgical options. Despite what many people people think, abortions are not dangerous. Less than 1 quarter of 1% of abortions lead to health complications. Furthermore, there are no long term risks to physical or mental health. Statistically this makes abortion about as risky as a colonoscopy. Dr. Imershein also noted that there is no consensus in the medical community about fetal pain. Anti-choice forces in Virginia, and around the country, are pushing misguided legislation banning abortion after 20 weeks based on the claim that fetuses experience pain before 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is just another tactic used by anti-choice politicians to limit women’s options. These lies that abortions are harmful to women, and painful to the fetus are mere strategies to keep women in the dark about their options and to scare them into keeping unwanted pregnancies.
Ensuring abortion remains legal and accessible is what keeps abortion care safe. There are many reasons women choose to have abortions, but no matter what, a women should be comfortable making the decision that is best for her, not being conned by misinformation and anti-choice propaganda. Trapping a woman into pregnancy is not a solution. I’m glad I got the facts about abortion. Every woman deserves that.