There are countless reasons why limiting women's access to safe and legal abortions is anything but "pro-life." Doing so forces women to resort to desperate, illegal and dangerous methods of terminating unwanted pregnancies, and it deprives us of our own bodily autonomy. And now we have another horrifying consequence to add to the list: according to a new study, denying women abortions makes it more difficult for them to escape abusive relationships.
The study followed 862 women over the course of five years. The participants were divided into three groups: women seeking abortions who were within two weeks of the facility's gestational age limit for the procedure (Near Limit Abortion Group), women who were turned away because their fetus was over that age limit (Turnaway Group) and women receiving an abortion in the first trimester (First Trimester Abortion Group). Each participant was asked questions about physical and psychological violence from the man involved in the pregnancy during biannual interviews.
The study's findings, released recently, were sobering but not all that surprising: women who were able to successfully get abortions were less likely to suffer physical violence from the man involved in their pregnancy. This is because, as the authors point out, "having a baby with an abusive man, compared to terminating the unwanted pregnancy, makes it harder to leave the abusive relationship." Being forced to carry your abuser's baby to term tethers you to him, as the study termed it. This is a pretty damn predictable outcome, but of course not one that conservatives worry about in their rabid quest to protect the unborn at all costs — even harm to the mother.
As the study's authors note, this finding is "concerning, especially in light of the increasing number of state-based restrictions that limit women's access to abortion care in the U.S." Across the country lawmakers are deviously devising laws that force clinics to close, forcing women to take several hundred mile round-trips to the nearest abortion provider and landing them on massive wait-lists that may push them over the gestational age limit.
1 in 4 women suffer domestic abuse in their lifetime, and 1 in 3 women has an abortion. It's horrifying to think how many are trapped in dangerous, violent relationships by lawmakers obsessed with "the sanctity of life."
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