Clinician's Digest

Clinician's Digest

A Controversial Study on Abortion Offers Surprising Findings

By Marian Sandmaier

September/October 2019

Whatever one’s position on abortion, it’s hard to dispute that the debate has ramped up radically over the last year. In more than a dozen states, legislatures have passed or are considering laws that severely restrict—or ban—nearly all women from ending their pregnancies. Many of these new rulings already face legal challenges, but antichoice groups vow to fight back. Most of the new laws are exceedingly harsh: some outlaw abortions at six weeks, when many women don’t even know they’re pregnant. Other statutes make no exceptions for rape or incest. Alabama’s new law goes still further: doctors can be charged with a felony for performing abortions, punishable by up to 99 years in prison.

And then there’s Georgia. On May 7th of this year, Governor Brian Kemp signed the most extreme piece of legislation yet, stipulating that a woman who gets an abortion can be charged with murder and face possible life imprisonment or even death. If she travels to another state to terminate her pregnancy, she can be charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

The media have widely covered this stepped-up antiabortion campaign, with numerous outlets debating whether the new laws threaten women’s freedom, safety, and right to control their own bodies. Much less discussed are the emotional costs of bringing an unwanted baby into the world. Research has demonstrated that greater poverty, medical problems, difficulties with intimate partners, and child-development issues frequently…

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