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A lot of discussion about abortion at the moment, so I thought I'd do a thread on a common myth - that abortion bans prevent abortions 1/
I'm not going to discuss ethics and morality here, because that's obviously dicey

There may be no right or wrong answers to the ethical questions

There are definitely right answers to the factual ones 2/
There is currently no good evidence that abortion bans prevent abortions 3/
There have been quite a few studies on this - what we usually see when abortions are banned/restricted is that abortion rates barely change 4/
(The rates are falling generally, but the rate of decline doesn't change if you implement bans or restrictions, it just keeps going down slowly) 5/
If we look at the global context, countries with MORE restrictions on abortion almost always have HIGHER rates of abortion 6/
The problem here is that these countries are often very different to countries that don't implement abortion bans in many ways 7/
However, if we look at what happened after the US banned the provision of international aid services for the purposes of abortion, the affected countries saw INCREASES in abortion rates 8/
This increase in abortion rates is likely due to a reduction in family planning services, because ironically one thing we definitely do know is that contraception access affects abortion rates 9/
This has been very well demonstrated - if you want to reduce abortions, the best method is to improve access to contraception 10/
One thing abortion bans may do is reduce the rate of REPORTED abortions

This makes perfect sense - people are less likely to report abortion when it's a crime 11/
However, it's been pretty well-demonstrated that reported rates of abortions are much lower than the true rate, and that criminalizing abortion just makes this problem even worse 12/
So abortion bans don't stop abortions

What DO they do? 13/
The main thing that has been consistently found from abortion bans is that they increase the rates of unsafe abortions 14/
What does "unsafe" mean?

The WHO defines an unsafe abortion as: "[terminating an] unintended pregnancy either by people lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimum medical standards, or both" 15/
If that sounds too clinical for you, here are some examples that have been found by researchers looking into unsafe abortions 16/
To highlight a few of these:

- drinking bleach/acid
- throwing self off roof/stairs
- sticking bicycle spokes into vagina 17/
The WHO estimates that about 45% of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, with rates highest in countries that have abortion bans, restrictions, or have poorer provision of family planning services 18/
So, to recap:

- abortion bans don't reduce the rates of abortion
- they DO increase the rates of UNSAFE abortion
- the most effective way to prevent abortion is contraceptives/family planning 19/
More importantly, if someone says that they support abortion bans because they want to see fewer abortions, they are either incorrect or not telling the truth 20/fin
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