Abortion Isn’t Bad For Your Health
Most of the ‘health risks’ you’ve heard about are wrong
Abortion* is always a touchy subject. People feel strongly about it because on the one hand women’s health services are important, and on the other people find it difficult to distinguish between a bundle of cells and a newborn infant.
Personally, I think women’s health is important.
“Stop right there!” Angry people on twitter will undoubtedly say, even though I’m writing a 1000-word article on this exact point “You don’t care about women’s health at all! Abortions are bad for your health! They cause cancer”
There are also people who will argue that abortion has other negative health effects, including things like mental health problems, infertility, and the ever-dreaded bodily autonomy that has infected women everywhere.
The thing is, none of these arguments are actually true. Abortion is no more dangerous than having a tooth removed, and yet you hear people condescendingly explain that really they are just looking out for women’s health all the time.
Where’s all this nonsense coming from?
The Dangers Of Correlation
Back in the 90s some scientists noticed an interesting correlation: if you looked back at the medical history of women who had breast cancer, quite a few of them had had an abortion.
It turned out that there was a link between having an abortion — either medically induced or natural — and a slightly increased risk of breast cancer later in life.
“Why is this?”, they wondered.
And so, a number of researchers set about looking at this issue. As it turns out, the observed correlation between breast cancer and abortion is very simple. For some women, carrying a pregnancy to term will reduce their risk of breast cancer. We are not sure of the reasons for this, but they are probably something to do with all the hormonal changes that come with being pregnant. Sort of like morning sickness, but for not getting breast cancer. This means that if you compare women who have abortions with women who carry pregnancies to term, there appears to be more breast cancer in the abortion group. When you compare women who have had an abortion with women who haven’t carried a pregnancy to term, this finding disappears.
Basically, it’s not that abortions increase your risk of cancer, but that pregnancy can decrease it.
It’s a bit like driving a car. If you compare people who drive a car to people who walk to work, you’ll see that people who drive have more heart attacks. It’s not because some part of driving is the cause of heart attacks, but that walking prevents them.
To put it another way, there’s no link between abortion and breast cancer.
None at all.
It turns out that most of the other health problems people attribute to abortions are nonsense too. Ever heard of “abortion-induced depression”? Turns out that some people believe it’s a real thing. The idea is that having an abortion is so traumatic it leaves you mentally disturbed.
Fortunately, this is just wrong.
In fact, there’s no reason to believe that abortion has any serious mental health impacts at all**. This isn’t really surprising: if anything, pregnancy and childbirth is more likely to cause depression. Post-partum depression is an extremely common complication of new motherhood, and the idea that somehow abortion would cause similar problems is based on prejudice rather than science.
And what about the oft-repeated claim that abortion causes infertility? It’s one of the big scares used by the anti-abortion movement to scare people into not having one.
Shockingly, that’s another myth. The risk of serious fertility issues from abortion is very low.
What Is The Real Risk?
The true rate of serious problems from safely-conducted, medically overseen/performed abortions hovers around 0.7%, a rate that is roughly equivalent to many other common activities such as competing in a cycling event or running a marathon.
Anyone who tells you that getting an abortion is bad for your health is just plain wrong. Properly conducted abortions are very safe, and rarely result in serious issues.
You know what is bad for your health? Pregnancy.
This is where you can see the true motivations of people who argue that abortion is bad for your health. Because the very low risks associated with abortion are nothing compared to the risk of, say, giving birth to a child, which is still one of the leading causes of death for women under the age of 25.
Anyone who is actually interested in women’s health and well-being is pro-abortion, because you either care about people’s right to their body or you don’t.
There are many arguments that you could take against abortion. Religious? Talk about souls. Reference the bible. Many people will ignore you, but at least you won’t be talking nonsense.
You can’t argue against medical fact.
Abortion is safe.
That’s what the science clearly says.
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*Note: in this article I am using the word “abortion” to mean “induced abortion”, because that is most often the terminology that is used. People rarely make these sorts of claims about natural abortion, although sometimes it does still happen.
**Note: there is some association between mental health and abortion if the person having the abortion is pressured or forced into having it, but this is likely a consequence of domestic violence and/or abuse and not related to the procedure itself.