Enough with the Abortion Myths: Here are the Facts

NOTE: This is a guest post from Sharon L. Camp, Ph.D., President & CEO of the Guttmacher Institute.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortion nationwide. Roe has had a dramatic impact on the health and well-being of American women — abortion is now safer and occurs earlier in pregnancy than ever before.

Yet four decades later, abortion remains a highly contentious political issue. Indeed, the debate has become more fractious than at any point in my nearly 40 years working in the reproductive health field.

According to the Guttmacher Institute’s tracking, the 43 state-level abortion restrictions that were enacted last year were the second-most ever, exceeded only by the 92 restrictive measures enacted in 2011. More than half of all U.S. women of reproductive age (15-44) now live in a state that is hostile to abortion rights, whereas fewer than one-third did a decade ago.

Unfortunately, the national conversation about abortion is often clouded by myths and misinformation. This includes not only age-old stereotypes about women who have abortions, but also false claims that abortion causes breast cancer and mental illness. In many states, laws now require that women seeking abortions receive “counseling” on these purported health risks despite their having no basis in science. Proponents of these laws invoke “informed consent,” seemingly untroubled by the irony that they are undermining that very principle.

To ensure that the debate is guided by facts, the Guttmacher Institute has created a series of infographics that distill a wealth of data into five snapshots about abortion in the United States today. The graphics touch on important issues like the increasing concentration of abortion among poor women, and include some of our best “myth-busting” findings. For example, six in 10 women having abortions already have a child and 73 percent are religiously affiliated.

I encourage you to use these graphics and share them with your friends, family and colleagues — and to let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page.

There are no women of reproductive age in the United States today who knew the world before Roe v. Wade. These women have never known a nation in which abortion was illegal and unsafe. Yet keeping abortion legal and safe — and accessible to all women — is and must always remain an urgent national priority.


Related Stories:

Alabama Supreme Court Declares A Fetus Is A Child

Mississippi May Be First State with Zero Abortion Providers

The 3 Worst Anti-Woman Bills Already Introduced by Congress This Year

Infographics courtesy of the Guttmacher Institute.


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

good info. thanks

Linda S.
Liinda S5 years ago

If all methods of birth control were 100% effective there might be fewer terminations. But when something goes wrong it should be every women's right to choose to have an abortion.

Dennis D.
Past Member 5 years ago

Janice K. No one said you had to approve or even disapprove of any woman getting an abortion. As I am sure you did not the case history of each patient. It is no one business how many abortions any of them had or will have, if any, in the future.

By the way life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness comes from the Declaration of Independence. While it nice sounding rhetoric. The Declaration of independence is a an Instrument of War. it has no weight on the Constitution. It is an historical document. Nothing more than that.

Birth control is not 100% effective. Assuredly as a medical practitioner you would know and understand that fact. A woman may seek out and have an abortion as her legal right. Between HIPAA and Roe you would have a very hard time keeping your medical history private.

Janice K.
Janice Keeter5 years ago

@janice b: We don't give a hang about your sex life! All we care about is preventing 1 million innocents every year being denied their rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness@.

Lika S.: We are not saying that women are too stupid to make decisions. However, there are more birth control methods available today than at any other time in human history - too many for abortion to have to be used as the birth control of choice. And before you start in with platitudes about rape & incest, I can well understand why a woman would not want to continue with those pregnancies, but think about this: why destroy an innocent life that had nothing to with the crime? Help put the actual perpertrators of those crimes behind bars for a very long time instead. And if you are going to claim that most women do not use abortion as a method of birth control, skip it. I worked in a hospital and saw many cases of women as young as 15 & 16 who were on their 3rd abortion.

Dennis D.
Past Member 5 years ago



and dan o. before you make yourself look any more stupid get an education.

Women's Health Specialists

Penny C.
penny C5 years ago


dan o.
dan o5 years ago

@Sharon L. Camp

Contrary to your assertion, there are some studies linking abortion to breast cancer. There are also several studies linking abortion with depression, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, and premature births of subsequent children.

Regarding the safety of legal abortion, the recent deaths of 24 year old Tonya Reaves after an abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Chicago, and Jennifer McKenna Morbelli a 29 year old school teacher after an abortion at the Germantown Reproductive Health Center in Maryland would perhaps suggest a risk factor greater than mentioned in the article.

Putting the exploits of legendary abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell aside, the legal right to destroy your preborn child is not the utopian panacea alluded to in this article. This piece is a disservice not only to women of conscience, but to society in general.

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Lika S.
Lika P5 years ago

People need to stop acting like women are too stupid to make decisions. Maybe men need to stop coercing too. Thing is, this makes good man look bad.

Stephen Brian
Stephen Brian5 years ago

Hi Tiffany :)

Good nutrition, 2-floor independent house in Detroit, receiving assistance, but from what I understand, not the full assistance available to full U.S. citizens. Since the loss of the second household-breadwinner (who is now on disability, from which comes the assistance), heating-oil is conserved for potentially dangerous temperatures. (Otherwise sweaters are normally used.) Clothes are an almost negligible cost as the purchase of new clothes is a rare event. Car insurance is, if I recall correctly, required for car-ownership in the area, but if the car is only cosmetically damaged then it is not repaired to avoid higher premiums. Payments on the house are irreparably behind, but it doesn't matter nearly as much as it normally would because it lost all value as an investment when half the city was abandoned.

It's a seriously bad economic situation, but even without owning a car (needed to get to work), a person can still take a two-hour taxi ride. The ~$50-$75 setback of such a ride each way is seriously bad news, but it can be done as long as you avoid these
and a few other problems.