Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More Common Than You Think

Great article in today's NYT

Dr. Wicklund, 53, said that at current rates almost 40 percent of American women have an abortion during their child-bearing years, a figure supported by the Guttmacher Institute, which researches reproductive health policy. Abortion is one of the most common operations in the United States, she said, more common than tonsillectomy or removal of wisdom teeth. “Because it is such a secret,” she said, “we lose sight of how common it is.”

. . .

Dr. Wicklund said she would put more credence in opponents of abortion rights if they did more to help women prevent unwanted pregnancies. Instead, she said, many of the protesters she encounters “are against birth control, period.” That is unfortunate, she said, because her clinic experience confirms studies showing that emphasizing abstinence rather than contraception may cause girls to delay their first sexual experience for a few months, but “when they do have intercourse they are much less likely to protect themselves with birth control or a condom.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, about a quarter of pregnancies in the United States end in abortion. Dr. Wicklund says that is why she believes far more people favor abortion rights than are willing to admit it in polls. For example, she said in the interview, an abortion ban that seemed to have wide support in South Dakota was put to a vote and “when people got behind those curtains and nobody was watching it was overwhelmingly defeated. Unfortunately, people are not willing to say what they really think.”


Shaw Kenawe said...

Of the 6 women I personally know who had abortions, 5 were married (didn't want another child) and one had 2 abortions outside of marriage. All, except one, were Roman Catholics.

(I took the easy way out and was volutarily sterilized after I had my two children.)

lem pitkin said...

My wife had an abortion a year after we were married twenty years ago, so we have never had kids. I told her it was her choice. Getting her pregnant was very much my choice, so I found her choice disappointing to say the least. But the result is that she has been able to fully pursue a satisfying and rewarding career. The last time I had full-time employment was 1990. My career, at this point, involves figuring out how to spend all of the money that my wife has earned.