Society and Culture

5 Things That Happen When Women Can’t Access Safe Abortions

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Folks, women’s access to safe abortion services is circling the drain. Between 2011 and 2013, state lawmakers passed more restrictions on abortion than they in the last decade combined.

That’s right. In two years, more abortion restrictions were passed than in the previous ten. That’s some serious shit.

It’s looking like this is going to be a trend that continues into 2014, so let’s take a moment and remind all the anti-choicers out there what actually happens when you prevent women from accessing safe abortions. HINT: They do not get fewer abortions.

1. They seek unsafe abortions.

Cue gasps all around — what’s the first thing women who can’t access safe abortions do? They go find unsafe abortions. Women duck into back alley, sketch-tastic, unsterile abortion clinics for the privilege of having some hack rough up their insides. Often, that same hack will rape her.

Regardless of how much her insides are at risk for getting raped and destroyed, a woman who wants an abortion will still go get one, even if it’s illegal and unsafe. This is reality, conservaturds. Wrap your heads around it.

2. They buy abortion pills on the black market.

Can’t find a dirty sketchball to perform your abortion? No problem. There are plenty of safe, effective abortion pills you can take in the comfort of your own home.

Except! Prescriptions for these pills must be administered by an abortion provider — so if you can’t find one, you’re shit out of luck. Unless, of course, you make an appearance on the black market. Desperate and optionless women are buying these pills on the black market every day, but many of them are counterfeit, rendering them useless at best and harmful at worst. Not to mention, these abortion pills are a bit complicated to administer. Take them incorrectly, and you’ll find yourself in the emergency room.

Again, these risks are stopping no one. Abortions continue to happen.

3. They cross borders to get unsafe abortions.

Don’t have an abortion provider in your city, county, or state? Cross the border into a less anti-feminist state! Or, better yet, head to Mexico. Except abortions are really hard to access wherever you’re headed as well, most likely, and so there’s a good chance you’ll end up in an unsafe situation anyway.

And now, you’re further from home, still at risk for assault or procedure botching, and you’re out a whole bunch more money because traveling is expensive.

Once again, abortions continue to happen.

4. They deliberately harm themselves to induce a miscarriage.
Out come the coat hangers! Seriously, though, women will resort to deliberately getting punched in the stomach, beaten up, or thrown down the stairs in order to induce a miscarriage. Clearly, this is not a very safe or reliable way to self-abort. No one cares. It still happens.

5. They wind up unable to conceive later.

This detail is like a goody bag extra, because botched abortions are just the gift that keeps on giving! When women terminate pregnancies using any of the unsafe methods listed above, they often wind up with serious, permanent damage to their reproductive systems. That means chronic health issues, and often, the inability to conceive when they do actually want to have babies.

This is the definition of not having control over your own body — being forced to have a child when you don’t want to, facing injury or death if you choose to defy that directive, and being unable to bear children when you do want to as a consequential punishment.

This shit happened all the time before Roe v. Wade, and as more and more restrictions are placed on that landmark ruling, it’s continuing to happen with increasing frequency today.

To all the anti-choice agitators and conservative lawmakers who’d like to take away a woman’s right to choose, please note:

Denying women access to safe abortions DOES NOT reduce the number of abortions that happen. Those fetuses you’re so concerned about will still be aborted. All it does is put the women who carry them at greater risk for injury or death. Abortions will happen with or without your legal blessing, Right-wing legislators. Consider this your reality check.

Hannah R. Winsten
Hannah R. Winsten is a freelance copywriter, marketing consultant, and blogger living in New York’s sixth borough. She hates tweeting but does it anyway. She aspires to be the next Rachel Maddow. Contact Hannah at



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