HomeoldNoted abortion researcher admits pro-life laws stop abortions

Noted abortion researcher admits pro-life laws stop abortions

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For an extended period, whenever pro-life legislation was discussed or passed, those in favour of abortion asserted that it was a futile exercise. They contended that women would procure abortions regardless, traversing state lines or resorting to self-administered procedures.

A prominent abortion researcher and promoter has advised those in favour of abortion to refrain from stating that it is a form of birth control. The rationale behind this request is unclear. The enactment of pro-life legislation has resulted in a significant number of women opting for childbirth rather than abortion, a development that has been perceived as a potential catastrophe by those who advocate for abortion rights.

The headline from Diana Greene Foster’s commentary in the pro-abortion Rewire.News states, “Stop Saying That Making Abortion Illegal Won’t Stop People From Having Them.” The subheading provides further elaboration: The criminalisation of abortion or the reduction of accessibility to abortion services may result in some women carrying their pregnancies to term against their wishes.

Foster is a demographer from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) who has gained notoriety in scientific circles for a study he conducted called the “Turnaway Study.”

Foster and several of her colleagues at UCSF conducted a study comparing 231 women who were previously denied abortions due to exceeding the clinic’s gestational limits to 452 women who had abortions just before reaching that limit. The UCSF team subsequently published a number of studies based on data from that group. The researchers’ hypothesis was that women who were denied abortions experienced greater anxiety, faced greater poverty, were more likely to endure intimate partner violence, and were less likely to achieve their aspirational life goals. The limitations of these studies and the validity of their conclusions were discussed on numerous occasions.

Foster reiterates these claims in her Rewire commentary, most notably that “more than two-thirds of women who were denied abortions because they were too late in pregnancy carried their unwanted pregnancies to term.” Foster noted that these findings were consistent with data from other countries where approximately half of those unable to obtain legal abortions went on to carry the pregnancy to term.

Furthermore, data from the United States, examined by other researchers, also corroborated the phenomenon, as Foster notes. In the state of Texas, the closure of 19 of the 41 abortion clinics due to regulatory restrictions resulted in a 13% reduction in the abortion rate the following year. (As has been explained in numerous NRL News Today posts, it was not solely a consequence of the introduction of new regulations.)

Other research indicates that approximately a quarter of low-income women who do not have public insurance coverage for abortions choose to give birth rather than seeking and paying for an abortion on their own.

Foster posits that a woman’s inability to obtain an abortion may increase the probability of her having a child for whom she lacks the financial and emotional resources to raise.

However, she fails to acknowledge a crucial aspect of the situation. Her own data indicated that while many women who had been unable to obtain an abortion were initially distressed when they were unable to obtain what they had believed to be the solution to their problems, many subsequently came to believe that having the child was the “right” outcome and reported being happy once the baby was born. Further details on this topic can be found below.

In her opinion piece, Foster begins by presenting an observation

Making abortion illegal won’t stop women from having it. You may have heard this argument before, often from someone waving a symbolic coat hanger at a protest.

Indeed, a common rationale for how women would obtain abortions in the event that Roe v. Wade were to be overturned is not the use of coat hangers, but rather the self-administration of chemical abortions using drugs purchased online.

For instance, Daniel Grossman, a colleague of Foster’s in the field of abortion research at UCSF, informed Yahoo News that there are currently available “workarounds” that were not accessible prior to the legalisation of abortion. “The most apparent distinction is that, in contrast to the 1960s, we now have safe and efficacious pharmaceuticals that can be made available outside the medical system,” Grossman stated. “It is considerably more challenging to implement restrictions on these medications, which are safe, effective, heat stable, easily transportable, and available in numerous countries without a prescription.”

It is therefore perplexing why Foster states in the opening paragraph of her commentary that it is time to cease advocating the view that “making abortion illegal does not stop women from having them.”

Foster’s greatest frustration stems from the erroneous assumption held by those in her camp that women will inevitably find a way to abort, regardless of the legislation that is enacted. In her writings, she states that

“Only 48 per cent of unwanted pregnancies are terminated in countries where abortion is illegal, compared to 69 per cent where it is legal, suggesting that many women have to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.”

Foster posits that young women, impoverished women, and other marginalized groups will bear the brunt of unintended pregnancies to term.

However, as we previously indicated in our comprehensive critique of the “Turnaway” study,

“Within a week of their ‘denial’, before the baby was actually born, 35% of these women were no longer prepared to say that the abortion had been the right decision. After the birth, we know that 86% were living with the baby; 59% felt their relationships were good or very good; and almost half (48%) were in full-time employment”.

In Foster’s view, the situation is tragic because these women give birth and the babies survive, thereby having the opportunity to experience the joys and opportunities of life.

Each life saved is regarded as a triumph. Furthermore, it is a blessing. Similarly, many women who were denied abortions also experienced a sense of loss.



Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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