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Fact Check Friday- Do women need abortion?

This weeks claim...

"Women need abortion as a vital part of women’s healthcare."

What they say.

The PA Women’s Health Care Caucus has made this claim repeatedly. They call us predatory groups that prey on vulnerability. This group of 80 House and Senate members accuses us of delaying treatment and coercing women to carry their pregnancy. And they called ultrasound an “emotional manipulation of women.”

Do pregnancy centers keep women from abortions that they need and want?

Let’s take a closer look

“I have no choice.” Many facing an unexpected pregnancy have felt trapped by their circumstances and determine that abortion is their only choice. After serving in a pregnancy center for nearly 40 years I’ve never encountered a woman who wanted an abortion. Instead, she sees abortion as a way out of a bad situation, a remedy to a negative circumstance. But abortion is never the remedy. 

Recently I was asked why pregnancy centers try to prevent women from getting abortions. I explained that our clients come from a context that makes pregnancy difficult. One may have three children at home that she can’t feed and clothe. How will she care for one more? One may have an abusive boyfriend. She’s afraid to tell him about the pregnancy for fear of further abuse. One may be in school and afraid that she would fall even further behind. We can all empathize with these women, and we should. 

But in each case, a woman choosing abortion will return to the same context. Her three children will still live in need. Her boyfriend will still be abusive, and her school won’t adapt to the unique needs of single mothers. Her abortion did not provide a remedy to her complex needs. Her circumstances have not changed--but she has. She returns to her circumstances and lives with a permanent wound that may never heal.

What do pregnancy centers do?

Pregnancy centers work to address the whole person. We look at the context and ask, “Where have you come from?” Then we find ways to feed and clothe her children, we take legal steps to protect moms from abuse and harassment, we work with schools to make easy adaptations to keep young women on track and graduate on time. We literally change the context and remove the “need” for abortion.  

Abortion has been part of our healthcare system since 1973. And in all that time, abortion has not delivered on any of its promises. Women do not feel “free to choose.” Abortion is not safe and it is not rare. It has not lifted women out of poverty. It has not advanced women in relationships or careers. It has not contributed to the health and well-being of women and families. Instead, it has offered a false choice between fertility and success and delivers neither. 

19 women will get an abortion every day in Allegheny County. 19 women feel they have no choice. Instead of promoting abortion as a remedy, let’s look at the context and address the reasons for the abortion decision. Let’s work to support women in such a way that she never feels that she has no choice. 

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