An important national study on abortion was released today. It says that abortion is safe but many states throw up delays and misinformation to discourage abortion.

Friday’s report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine shows abortion increasingly is performed early in pregnancy, when it’s safest. The risk of maternal death is higher from tonsillectomies, colonoscopies and childbirth, according to the independent panel, which advises the government on scientific issues.

You can read the full report here.

This is a debate in which belief trumps fact nearly every time, nonethless, some highlights:

The abortion rate among U.S. women has been steadily declining, reaching a historic low of 14.6 per 1,000 or a total of 926,190 in 2014.

This decline has been attributed to the increasing use of contraceptives, especially long-acting methods such as intrauterine devices and implants; [emphasis supplied on account of the effort of Arkansas and other states to stop funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides effective contraceptionn]; historic declines in the rate of unintended pregnancy; and increasing numbers of state regulations that limit the availability of otherwise legal abortion services.

Women who have abortions are disproportionately low-income: Almost
half have family incomes below the federal poverty level. …..

… Most abortions are performed early in pregnancy—50 percent by 7 weeks’ gestation and 90 percent by 12 weeks’ gestation …

Legal abortions in the United States—whether by medication, aspiration, D&E, or induction—are safe and effective.

…The committee concludes that the quality of abortion care depends on where a woman lives. In many states, regulations have created barriers to safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable abortion services. The regulations often prohibit qualified providers from providing services, misinform women of the risks of the procedures they are considering, overrule women’s and clinician’s medical decisionmaking, or require medically unnecessary services and delays in care. [Think Arkansas.]

…Abortion has been investigated for its potential longterm effects on future childbearing and pregnancy outcomes, risk of breast cancer, mental health, and premature death. Based on research that meets scientific standards for rigor and lack of bias, the committee concludes that having an abortion does not increase a woman’s risk of secondary infertility, pregnancy-related hypertensive disorders, abnormal placentation (after a D&E abortion), preterm birth (<37 weeks),or breast cancer. Having an abortion also does not increase a woman’s risk of depression, anxiety, and/ or posttraumatic stress disorder. 

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will throw this report in the trash can as she argues in courts throughout the U.S. against full medical rights for women. Her latest is a tough case, joining those fighting a California law that requires transparency and sound practices in fake crisis pregnancy center intended to discourage women from having an abortion. She’s an unlimited 1st Amendment champion in this case she says (the centers must not be forced to tell women their purpose) no matter how dangerous the utterances), but in the same breath she’d require Arkansas doctors to say things they might otherwise not say in talking with women seeking an abortion (so-called informed consent law).

The California law?

The California law contains two distinct sets of requirements. “Licensed covered facilities,” that is, facilities that are licensed by the state and that offer certain medical services, must provide its clients with a statement that “California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women,” as well as the phone number for a county office that can connect patients with these services.

Meanwhile, “unlicensed covered facilities,” facilities that are not licensed by the state and do not have a licensed medical provider, must notify clients that they are unlicensed and have “no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services.”

Compare the law with how Rutledge represents the law:

“I will not sit idly by while other states threaten freedom of speech by forcing organizations to promote a procedure that they do not provide, do not believe in and find to be violent and immoral,” said Attorney General Rutledge.