Some people are surprised to learn how many women get abortions in the US and how safe getting an abortion actually is. Also, abortion has been accessible in North Carolina (mostly in urban areas) with less interference through 2011. What do you know about the increase in interference with women, doctors and abortion increasing in NC and the national trend? Find something here.
One in Three women have an abortion by age 45
Most people aren’t aware how many women and girls have abortions in the US.
Getting an abortion has become so stigmatized here that people are often afraid to talk about it. Yet, according to the Guttmacher Institute at http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/sfaa/north_carolina.html, “Abortion is a common experience: At current rates, about one in three American women will have had an abortion by the time she reaches age 45.” This statistic surprised even some NC NOW members at our Roe event on 2/5/15, “And Then There Was One.” Read about the event at https://northcarolinanow.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/roe-event-2015-and-then-there-was-one-2515/
Safety of Abortion
What you may not realize is that abortion is extremely safe. According to the American Journal of Public Health, 2013,
“A first-trimester abortion is one of the safest medical procedures, with minimal risk—less than 0.05%—of major complications that might need hospital care.”
And medical truths counter the list of supposed ‘dangers of abortion’ mandated by the 2011 WRTK law. In fact, according to “Abortion in Women’s Lives”, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2006
“Abortions performed in the first trimester pose virtually no long-term risk of such problems as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or birth defect, and little or no risk of preterm or low-birth-weight deliveries.”
Progression of states hostile to abortion from 2000 to 2014
Guttmacher has a beautiful graphic showing with 3 maps of America that “The number of states considered hostile to abortion skyrocketed between 2000 and 2014”. The progression of imposed laws is frightening. See it at “2000-2014 maps states” at http://www.guttmacher.org/media/infographics/2000-2014-maps-states.pdf. This shows NC as being reasonable with abortion laws in 2000 and 2010, but becoming hostile to abortion by 2014.
In large part, this is due the conservative takeover of the NC General Assembly, and specifically to the so called Women’s Right To Know (WRTK) law in 2011 and further in another bill in 2013. See more about WRTK at https://northcarolinanow.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/good-until-2011-when-omnibus-antiabortion-bill-was-passed-over-veto/. You can follow the sordid history of the bill itself – with the history of differing versions and NCGA activity tracking -at http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/billlookup/billlookup.pl?Session=2011&BillID=H854
In another note, WRTK bills have been introduced in states around the country, although not necessarily as fully stuffed as the version forced on North Carolina over the VETO of our Governor at the time, Governor Beverly Purdue. At veto time, Governor Purdue said,
“This bill is a dangerous intrusion into the confidential relationship that exists between women and their doctors. The bill contains provisions that are the most extreme in the nation in terms of interfering with that relationship. Physicians must be free to advise and treat their patients based on their medical knowledge and expertise and not have their advice overridden by elected officials seeking to impose their own ideological agenda on others.”
Few Available Clinics in NC
In 2011, 17 abortion clinics were open and running in NC. Over 120 Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) were open and running. CPCs are set up by anti-abortion groups to look like health clinics, but with the goal of dissuading women from having abortion by any means (including outright lies). Many CPCs are unregulated and unlicensed. That means that they don’t have to follow privacy-protection laws like real clinics do, which is dangerous for patients.
Today, Feb 24, 2015, NC is down to 15 clinics. The Femcare clinic in Asheville closed in June of 2014. http://www.citizen-times.com/story/local/2014/06/27/asheville-abortion-clinic-close-saturday/11456093/. Planned Parenthood has been trying to open another one in Asheville, but for now, the closest providers of abortion services are in Charlotte and Greenville, South Carolina. The area has been without a clinic for 8 months.
NC is Hostile to Abortion NOW
Abortion is a common procedure done for many women. Yet US culture makes women afraid to talk about having abortions. Changes in laws through WRTK have made it much harder for women to get abortions at clinics, because they require women take more time off work and other responsibilities (at least 2 days rather than one), they can cause more expenses (ultrasound, lost work, fees for staying overnight and meals away from home, babysitting costs, etc). They also work to shame women into not having abortions (state sponsored anti-abortion script, forced ultrasound with play by play on the exam).
North Carolina is now considered a state which is hostile to abortion, and to women. Abortion restrictions are just part of it.