Here's some science that will smack anti-abortion legislation in the face with facts: a new study shows that pre-abortion ultrasounds and waiting periods don't actually serve to "educate" or "inform" women seeking to terminate their pregnancies because, as it turns out, women who have abortions are confident in their decision; they know what a pregnancy is and what abortion does. More on this fascinating "women are not stupid idiots" story as it develops.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco and the University of Missouri, St. Louis and published in the June 2012 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, analyzed data from over 5,000 women who received abortions in 2008. Researchers found that prior to receiving mandatory counseling, a whopping 87% of them were highly confident about their decision to abort. Those who weren't confident in their decision tended to fit one or more of the following criteria: they were black, didn't have a high school diploma, had a history of depression, or were carrying a fetus with an anomaly.
Imagine that. Women aren't moronic proto-people who just do whatever the imaginary evil abortion salesmen at Planned Parenthood tell them. Having an abortion isn't like being convinced by a charlatan to buy a Variable Universal Life policy with tons of internal fees.
Guttmacher's findings are particularly striking this week, as Utah's 72-hour waiting period (the country's longest) goes into effect and several states continue to consider adding more obstacles between women and a legal medical procedure.
Because women who have abortions know what they're doing and are confident in their decisions before they have abortions, it stands to reason that lawmakers' insistance in enacting pre-abortion counseling and waiting periods aren't for women's benefit at all; laws that put barriers between women and abortion are designed to push a political agenda on women who have already made up their minds. And all this legislative carrying on about "protecting" women or "informing" them is — pardon my French — le bullshit.