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Misleading study links ‘anti-abortion’ laws to higher homicide rates for pregnant women

by | May 9, 2024

By Bettina di Fiore

A recent study conducted by researchers affiliated with Tulane University and published by Health Affairs earlier this month titled “States’ Abortion Laws Associated With Intimate Partner Violence-Related Homicide Of Women And Girls In The US, 2014–20” claims that the enforcement of certain “anti-abortion” laws is correlated with increased homicide rates for pregnant women and girls ages 10–44.

Abortion advocates within the media are uncritically regurgitating the study’s findings – and even expanding upon the conclusions drawn by the study itself. But the claims made in these articles, as well as those made by the study, are misleading and problematic in multiple ways.

 Blaming “restrictive abortion laws” — before Dobbs — for violence

“Restrictive abortion laws have caused a small but real climb in fatal violence committed against women,” claims an article published on May 6 in Gizmodo. Similarly, an article appearing the same day on HuffPost opens by stating: “Anti-abortion laws increase the likelihood that pregnant victims of domestic violence will be murdered by their abusive partner.”

The articles in Gizmodo and HuffPost both wrongly claim that there is a causal relationship between what they describe as “anti-abortion laws” and increased homicide rates for pregnant women within states that have such laws. But even the study itself is careful not to make that specific claim. Instead, it says that laws restricting abortion are “associated with” increased incidences of homicide against pregnant women, and that enforcing a greater number of these laws “may increase the[] risk” of violence.

Even that claim, however, is tenuous.

Note that the period covered by the study is 2014-2020 – before the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision which overturned Roe v. Wade. During that period, meaningful laws designed to significantly restrict abortion were not legally enforceable.

The “restrictive abortion laws” referenced in the study don’t restrict abortions’

In fact, the laws addressed by this study are so-called “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider” laws, commonly referred to as TRAP laws. The study defines these as “regulations regarding structural standards comparable to those for ambulatory surgical centers, specified procedure room size, specified corridor width, a transfer agreement between the facility and a local hospital, and admitting privileges for the clinician at a local hospital.”

In other words, these are laws which regulate various structural and operational details for abortionists and the facilities in which they work – they do not regulate or restrict abortion itself.

This study claims that so-called TRAP laws “go beyond what is necessary to ensure patient safety,” but this is provably untrue. In fact, these laws are designed to protect the lives and health of abortion customers and do not impose atypical standards upon abortion facilities. Rather, they are designed to force abortion facilities to conform to the same common-sense safety standards by which legitimate medical facilities must abide.

Often, abortion advocates argue that abortion facilities should be exempted from minimum safety regulations. However, there are countless examples  of the injuries and deaths that can, and do, occur when abortion facilities are allowed to skirt common-sense regulations — including the specific regulations named by this study, like hallway width. There are occasions in which an abortion facility’s broken elevator or too-narrow hallway has impeded emergency care at abortion facilities, putting women’s lives at serious risk.

“TRAP laws have been shown to reduce abortion by forcing the closure of clinics that provide abortions,” the study claims, adding, “Women without the means to travel longer distances to obtain a wanted abortion… may be forced to continue a pregnancy and experience fatal violence as a result.” The authors then go on to advocate for “the removal of political… barriers to accessing health care and services that may save [abortion customers’] lives.”

Pro-abortion logic: Protecting women puts them in greater danger

The study authors are asserting that we shouldn’t enact or enforce laws which attempt to protect women from injury and/or death in abortion facilities, because these women may be more likely to subsequently be harmed or killed by someone else.

In essence, the authors are arguing that protecting women puts them in greater danger.

Study authors also implicitly contend that, in order to prevent the homicides of one innocent party (mothers), we should perpetrate homicide against another innocent party (preborn babies).

Like most pro-abortion reasoning, both of these arguments fall apart under scrutiny. Not only are they completely nonsensical, they are also blatantly immoral.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and reposted with permission.

Categories: pro-abortion