More Women Regret Having Kids Than Aborting Them

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Sorta transcript:

A new study published in PLOS ONE has found that 99% of women who have had abortions report that in retrospect, the abortion was the right decision for them at the time. 99%! This is only news because conservative Christian anti-choice advocates are constantly trying to convince women that they’re going to regret their decision, sometimes going even so far as to suggest that getting an abortion raises your chances of depression and suicide, which is simply not true.

It’s so stupid that we need this research to fight for women’s access to basic and necessary healthcare that demonstrably makes the world a better place. In countries where abortion is restricted or illegal, the same number of women get abortions, but more women die getting them. Blocking access to abortion saves no “unborn babies” and kills more “definitely-born” women.

I nearly said, “adult women,” right there, but let’s be honest: way too many of the people dying from lack of access to abortion aren’t even adults yet. They’re teens who were either raped or just didn’t get the sex education, and it’s funny how often those three statistics go together: rape, no sex education, and dying from lack of decent health care.

It’s so obvious that legal abortion is beneficial that it’s absurd we have to say, “Look! Science shows us women who have abortions don’t regret them!” What if we used that metric as a way to block access to other things?

Like tattoos! Some research suggests that as many as 37% of people regret getting tattooed. So obviously we should outlaw them. Or maybe even something more permanent, let’s see, like the everlasting vow of marriage! Some research suggests as many as 99% of people regret getting married, though only about 50% of them actually get divorced. Perhaps we should just do away with it altogether.

Wait, there must be something even more permanent to compare this to. I know: having a child! I can’t find any peer-reviewed research surveying parents about their regret, but according to Dr. David Bellhouse at Western University of Canada, the advice columnist Ann Landers once polled her large readership to find out “If you had it to do over again, would you have children?” 10,000 people responded and 70% of them said no.

To be fair, though, Good Housekeeping decided to poll their readers with the same question, and 95% of them said yes.

That’s a wide spread, but it means our lowest number of regretul parents is 5%. That’s not very much, but it’s still five times more than the number of regretful abortion patients. That’s it! Let’s outlaw childbirth. That should go well.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon mstdn.social/@rebeccawatson Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky @rebeccawatson.bsky.social

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  1. Thanks for writing this. About 650 American women die each year from pregnancy/childbearing — over 200 of them from pregnancies they never intended.

  2. A long time ago I read a study that found that 50% of people who’d had children regretted it… and 50% of people who’d remained childless regretted it.

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