Abortion Is Normal, and It’s Time to Treat It That Way
A new study says 99% of women don’t regret their abortions. So why is the procedure still stigmatized?
I wear a button on my winter jacket that reads “Abortion is normal.” It’s in big black letters set against a white background — pretty hard to miss. I got it last year at an event put on by Shout Your Abortion, a movement created to reduce stigma around the procedure and get people talking more openly about their abortion experiences.
Since I’ve started wearing the button, I’ve had more than a dozen women come up to me to talk about their abortions or tell me how much they love the sentiment. A woman who walked by me while I was on vacation gave me a thumbs up; the cashier at the bodega on my block told me in a hushed voice that she wished more people would talk about their abortions. “Why would they want us to have babies we don’t want?” she wondered aloud.
The truth is that abortion is an incredibly common experience—1 in 4 American women will have one. While media coverage might give the impression that the country is evenly split on abortion, the truth is that the percent of Americans who want the procedure to remain legal is at a record high. New research released this week provides even more evidence that abortion is safe and valued: The study shows that women who do have abortions overwhelmingly don’t regret their decision.
The study, published in Social Science & Medicine, shows that over a five-year period, 95% of women reported that they felt their abortion was the right decision, an already-whopping number that increased to 99% by the end of the five years.
In short, nearly all women who end their pregnancies look back and are glad they did it. The few negative emotions women did have were directly connected to the stigma around abortion in their communities. They felt bad if the people around them said that they should.
That said, we don’t often talk about abortion as a decision that can have resoundingly positive ripple effects even though it undoubtedly does. Because of abortion, women are able to continue on with school, take better care of the children they already have, get out of…