This Saturday is the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion. This is a very personal and very emotional issue for me. In the summer of 2013 there was a major shift in the abortion dynamics here in Texas. Wendy Davisapproached heroic measures in order to allow Texas women to keep their rights to accessing abortion. And while there is currently a federal injunction on the law that Davis fought so hard against, the Texas governor continues to say stupid, stupid thingsabout abortion and abortion clinics.
So a global day to promote access to abortion – yeah – it’s really needed around here. And in honor, today I’m pulling a lesson from Educating About Abortion by Peggy Brick and Bill Taverner.
Abortion: A Basic Lesson
By Peggy Brick and Bill Taverner
1. Examine the basic facts about abortion and access to legal abortion in the United States.
2. Assess their own present risk of having to make a decision about an unplanned pregnancy, and hypothesize what they would do if confronted with such a decision.
3. Review the reasons it is important to act quickly if they believe they (or a partner) may be pregnant, and identify where they could find reliable help in making a decision.
Since abortion is such a controversial issue in the United States, many young people, confused by claims of opposing groups, lack accurate information. Yet every year thousands of them, faced by an unplanned pregnancy, must make a decision in which abortion is one of their options. If educators have only one session for educating about abortion, they need to address common participant misunderstandings, and also challenge participants to think about their own potential likelihood for needing to make a decision about an unplanned pregnancy.
Educating About Abortion was last published in 2001, so some of the information is a little old and could be updated. But more statistics than you realize are the same or have changed in surprising directions. In this lesson plan, the majority of the information presented is about abortion generally and remains correct. There is only one place where information has shifted somewhat – in the worksheet The Facts About Abortion in the United States. Here are the updates:
- The percentage of unplanned pregnancies that are ended by abortion have dropped from 50% to 40%.
- About 1/3 of all women in the United States have had an abortion.
Taken together those statistics mean that the rate of abortion has dropped in the last fifteen years. And that’s it. Every other piece of information included is sound. And needed. Can I mention again that it’s needed?
Here in Texas the rhetoric is that abortion harms women – that’s how Rick Perry presented the issue last summer and how he continues to present it now. (Apparently making abortion safer would also have saved Joan River’s life. I’ve no idea how this man functions in daily life.)
But abortion is not harmful to women – it saves women’s lives – and everyone needs to understand that. So on Saturday I’m going to be talking to people everywhere I go about abortion access – and yes, this Saturday that means I may even be talking about it at a baby shower. Who are you going to talk with about abortion on Saturday?