Reproductive Rights Assaulted

Feeley, Dianne
Date Written:  2014-03-01
Publisher:  Against the Current
Year Published:  2014
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20378

Feeley examines the lack of rights American women have in regards to reproduction, abortion, and access to contraceptives as legislations currently in place bar women from having full coverage or information regarding their options.



Given that between 10-20% of all diagnosed pregnancies end in miscarriages, the unwillingness of Catholic hospitals to take appropriate and immediate steps to end a pregnancy endangers women's lives. Women may face loss of blood, infection, the end to fertility or even death.

Of the seven million U.S. women who become pregnant each year, one million will have an abortion. About 70% will pay for their abortion out of pocket. The procedure costs somewhere between $300-$1700, depending on how early it is performed. (Throughout the country there are formal and informal networks of women who contribute to funding poor women's abortions.)

How do the number of abortions today compare to the past? Before abortion was legalized in 1973, it was estimated that there were between 200,000 and 1.2 million procedures each year. Abortions peaked in 1996 at 1.6 million and have declined ever since. The percentage of pregnancies that end in abortion has also dropped, from a high of 30% in 1979-86 to half that today.

Yet more than 40 years after abortion in the United States became legal, both federal and state legislation limit women's access. And women with the fewest resources have the least access. Certainly the 1976 passage of the federal Hyde Amendment, which denies women on Medicaid abortion except in cases in rape, incest or a life-threatening condition, made that clear.

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