The Truth About Abortion

Don’t believe all the lies and hype about abortion.

Myths and misinformation are commonly used by those who seek to limit or stigmatize access to abortion care.

It’s important to challenge rhetoric with reality and to separate facts from feelings. Remember these truths to debunk common abortion myths:

MYTH: Abortion is dangerous.

FACT: Abortion is a very safe and effective medical procedure. According to the Centers for Disease Control, less than one-quarter of 1 percent of people have major complications post-abortion. This makes having a legal abortion safer than an injection of antibiotics, getting a colonoscopy, or even giving birth. There is very low risk of experiencing long-term health problems as a result of having an abortion.

MYTH: Most people regret having an abortion.

FACT: Research shows that 90 percent or more of those who have an abortion report feeling relief afterwards. Although personal feelings can vary, even those reporting negative emotions overwhelmingly continue to report that they made the right decision.

MYTH: Faithful or religious people don’t support abortion.

FACT: Many spiritual and religious people respect moral agency and a person’s right to bodily autonomy. Faith-based groups like the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Catholics for Choice, and the National Council of Jewish Women fight daily for religious and reproductive freedom. People of faith also need, want, and deserve abortion access. According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than 7 in 10 American women who have abortions report a religious affiliation. More than half of women who get abortions identify as Catholic, mainline Protestant, or evangelical Protestant.

MYTH: Life begins at conception.

FACT: The notion that “Life begins at conception” is a religious belief — not a medical fact. Much of the highly charged rhetoric surrounding abortion comes from differences in beliefs and religious doctrine that lead to various conclusions about when life begins. Even people of faith hold a range of views on when an embryo or fetus becomes a person. While the majority of Jewish teachings uphold that life begins at first breath (or live birth), Islamic tradition states that ensoulment occurs 120 days after conception. Since religions have varying views about reproductive rights and fetal personhood, enshrining anyone view into law restricts the ability of those who disagree to follow their own conscience and religious beliefs — thus denying them religious freedom.

MYTH: People who get abortions are irresponsible and are using abortion as contraception.

FACT: The majority of people who experience unplanned pregnancy use some form of birth control which fails. No form of contraception (even sterilization) is 100 percent effective. One in four women in the United States will have an abortion before age 45. People get pregnant under a variety of circumstances, and each have different reasons for having an abortion.

MYTH: Those who have an abortion experience a higher rate of breast cancer.

FACT: Many experts, including the American Cancer Society, have debunked this myth. Scientific evidence shows that abortion does not increase the risk of breast cancer, or any cancer for that matter.

MYTH: If you have an abortion, you will have trouble getting pregnant in the future.

FACT: Abortion does not affect one’s ability to get pregnant again. When you are ready, having an abortion will not prevent you from having a healthy pregnancy in the future. But you can get pregnant very soon after having an abortion, even before your period. If you are concerned about getting pregnant after an abortion, talk to your doctor about contraceptive options.

IMPORTANT: Beware of Crisis Pregnancy Centers that claim to specialize in “Post Abortion Support”/“Post Abortion Counseling,” they are actually anti-abortion organizations that use scare tactics, provide misinformation, and often encourage rather than help resolve difficult emotions for political gain. Instead, there are amazing resources on the last 2 pages of this booklet (like the All-Options Talkline, 1-888-493-0092) that can help.