Sunday, May 15, 2005

THE NEW FRENCH STUDY just published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology finding that abortions increase the risk of premature birth in later pregnancies has already been seized upon by opponents of abortion to justify their position that abortion should be illegal.

Obviously, if this study holds up, a woman considering an abortion should be informed of this associated risk by her doctor. That applies to any surgical procedure; it applies to any medical or health care decision, period. But let's be clear about two points. First, the fuss that anti-choicers are making about this study has nothing to do with concerns for a woman's health, or the health of subsequent babies she may choose to conceive. It has only to do with their wish to make abortion illegal, for reasons that are rooted in religious extremism, political strategy, or both. There are risks associated with abortion, and there are risks associated with pregnancy. There are risks associated with open heart surgery, with appendectomies, with knee replacement surgery, with any surgery -- but we don't hear any calls to make open heart surgery, appendectomies, or knee replacement surgery illegal, just because under certain circumstances and for certain people those procedures can be very dangerous.

And second, this study's findings change nothing about the central truth of terminating a pregnancy: It's a decision only the woman involved can make, based on her own self-knowledge about her health, about the risks and benefits, about her medical history, about her psychological and emotional makeup, about her life circumstances, about what she can or can't do, about what she wants and what she doesn't want. There isn't one thing about this new study that changes any of that.

Via Memeorandum.

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