On abortion today

I’m afraid that abortion numbers around the world will be going up.

We know the number of abortions decreased in Massachusetts with the advent of Romneycare, the health care insurance law the Affordable Care Act was modeled on. Data indicates that the availability of contraceptives plus the availability of medical counseling reduced abortions.

The number of abortions across the U.S. has gone down too — probably both because of Obamacare and because of some stringent state laws that have made abortions more difficult to obtain. But those stringent laws have not gone hand-in-hand with better pre-natal, post-partum and infant medical care, much less guaranteed care for children born with disabilities.

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Certainly, Missouri has not only not expanded Medicaid but has instead reduced Medicaid access even more, while at the same time reducing access to legal abortion. I fear for the mothers and children who will not receive needed care.

Meanwhile, medical data from the World Health Organization indicates President Donald Trump’s executive order to withhold funding from international nongovernmental organizations that provide or advocate abortion services will cause an increase in abortions. Some of these NGOs, like Planned Parenthood in the U.S., offer the only reproductive health care available. Reproductive health care includes sexually transmitted diseases and HIV screening, cancer screening, contraceptive services and basic health education as well as information about and sometimes access to abortion. Without these services, the World Health Organization has determined that women, under President George H.W. Bush’s order to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, were 2.73 times more likely to seek an abortion than from 1994-2000.  

There is a cruelty in the anti-abortion movement that would punish women and children instead of serving them. I worked for 29 years as a member of a Catholic Worker shelter for women and children. I know abortion to be a rejection of God’s grace — but I wonder if it is the women who are rejecting grace or the society that surrounds them. 


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