Repeat Abortions

REPEAT ABORTIONS….Garance Franke-Ruta writes in the New Republic about Amy, a woman who had an abortion at age 18 and then had a second one at age 24:

“Oh well, that’s over,” she recalls thinking immediately afterward. “And then I didn’t think about it very much.” She didn’t talk about it very much either, and, even today, she is loath to reveal it. “I rarely talk about the second abortion because of society’s judgments about women who have a second abortion,” she says. “It’s like, ‘Oh, you’re allowed one mistake.'” But not two.

….Despite its prevalence, repeat abortion is the least discussed or researched aspect of abortion in the United States….Yet the reluctance of liberals and pro-choice advocates to shine a spotlight on the troubling repeat-abortion phenomenon has obscured a growing public health issue. Studies suggest that women having repeat abortions as compared with those having first-time abortions are more likely to be minorities, poor, and victims of sexual abuse ? in short, among society’s most vulnerable.

It doesn’t really surprise me to learn that women who get multiple abortions tend on average to be the poor and vulnerable. As Garance notes, there have been tremendous advances in contraception over the past three decades, and it’s not surprising that those at the bottom of society’s heap are the least likely to take advantage of them.

But I was surprised to learn that the subject of repeat abortions is apparently so taboo that NARAL refuses to even comment on it. Garance’s main policy proposal is that “post-abortion care and counseling services ought to be made available domestically as a routine part of women’s health care,” and this sure doesn’t sound very controversial to me. Is NARAL really unwilling to even discuss this in public?

Liberals are in favor of safe access to abortion, but surely we’re also in favor of helping people get control over their lives too. If the evidence shows that post-abortion counseling helps poor women, cuts down on sexual abuse, and reduces the rate of abortion, what’s not to like?