Sunday, September 20, 2009

Legal v. Illegal, Abortion Rate Stats

Following coverage of the abortion battle is something of a roller-coaster ride. It is such a hotly-debated issue and each side generally makes a strong argument for being either pro-life or pro-choice.

The more research I do, the more questions keep popping up in my brain. The pro-lifers argue that legalizing abortion will cause women to be more casual about the decision and the number of abortions will rise. Pro-choice advocates say that making abortion illegal won’t stop women from going through with the procedure, and it will only force them to take unsafe measures, such as having the procedure done in back-alley clinics with untrained doctors. So which side is correct?

Finally, I came across an article in The New York Times that put to rest a lot of my questions. A global study concluded that abortion rates were the same in countries where it is legal compared to those where it is illegal. It concluded that making abortion illegal has no effect on a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy. The only difference is that in countries where abortion is legal, the procedure is considered safe, and where it is illegal, the procedure is dangerous and performed in secret.

There is a lot more conclusive information from the study, so here is the link:

From a critical viewpoint, the article was informative and eye-opening. It did answer my question regarding what the best plan of action to take is to reduce the need for abortions, which the study proved, is the use of contraceptives, and not abstinence education. The one thing that bothered me about the article was the amount of statistics the reporter used. The entire article was jam-packed with numbers and research conclusions. I found myself having to weed-out the less essential information in order to get to the important facts. It was comparable to the effects of compassion fatigue. By the middle of the article I had read so many statistics that they lost their impact.

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