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What Happens When Women Can’t Get Legal Abortions

1 5 4
03.09.2021

In a 5-4 decision late Wednesday night, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to block a Texas law banning most abortions after six weeks, which is before many women even know they’re pregnant. Known as Senate Bill 8, the law does not allow exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, making it the harshest abortion restriction in the country. The law sets the stage for a battle over the future of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision, which states that the Constitution protects a pregnant woman’s right to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

Reduced abortion access in the United States could have catastrophic results. In countries around the world with limited or no access to safe, affordable abortion, people are either forced to keep unwanted pregnancies or dismembered or even killed by unsafe abortions each day.

Evidence suggests that abortion restrictions actually lead to more abortions. During President George W. Bush’s administration, the U.S. government barred foreign nonprofits from receiving American federal funding if they provided any abortion services, under what was dubbed the Mexico City Policy. Abortions, particularly those using unsafe procedures, were 40 percent higher under the policy than when the policy was not in place in the sub-Saharan African countries most affected. A July 2020 study in the Lancet found that abortion rates increased by 12 percent from the 1990s to the 2010s in countries where access to the procedure is restricted, while in countries where it is broadly legal, the rate declined significantly. “Research has shown time and again that countries most impacted by the global gag rule … saw rises in abortion rates, many of them unsafe,” said Seema Jalan, executive director of the Universal Access Project.

In a 5-4 decision late Wednesday night, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to block a Texas law banning most abortions after six weeks, which is before many women even know they’re pregnant. Known as Senate Bill 8, the law does not allow exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, making it the harshest abortion restriction in the country. The law sets the stage for a battle over the future of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision, which states that the Constitution protects a pregnant woman’s right to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

Reduced abortion access in the United States could have catastrophic results. In countries around the world with limited or no access to safe, affordable abortion, people are either forced to keep unwanted pregnancies or dismembered or even killed by unsafe abortions each day.

Evidence suggests that abortion restrictions actually lead to more abortions. During President George W. Bush’s administration, the........

© Foreign Policy


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