Should We Care Whether Abortion Affects Fertility and Future Pregnancy Outcomes?

Does induced abortion affect future fertility and pregnancy complications? This question often cannot be answered without individuals, perhaps even inadvertently, wading into political commentary on abortion. Answers are often clouded by political agendas and funding sources, and co-opted and spun by either side of the abortion debate to push their own narrative.

On the pro-life side, I’ve sometimes seen the affects of abortion on fertility talked about like a horror story, showcasing a uterine perforation or the need for a hysterectomy because of a botched abortion, with nary a citation to help understand how often these outcomes happen. I’ve also experienced pro-life people unable to explain how, exactly, abortion can effect fertility. Talking about how bad abortion is for women can come across as a fear-mongering tactic in these kinds of situations and can make pro-life people seem ignorant. 

On the other side, you have pro-choice people who will outright deny abortion does any harm at all to women’s fertility or that it can affect future pregnancies. You’ll see them hail how safe abortion is and how rare complications are, often with a decontextualized citation, or claim that it’s irrelevant because abortion is safer than childbirth (which isn’t true, by the way). They can come across as blasé in their total denial, making abortion sound too good to be true. 

So…should we care about the answer to this question? What is the answer, and what should be done about it? 

Woman laying in hospital bed with fetal monitor on

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

How to Find Underlying Assumptions in Dialogue about Abortion

Pro-choice people often bring underlying assumptions to the table when discussing abortion. Most of the time, while these assumptions play an important part in how they justify their position, they won’t say them out loud and may not even be able to articulate them. If we don’t reveal and confront these hidden premises in our conversations about abortion, we have a much smaller chance of getting a pro-choice person to think differently about abortion. 

People looking at underside of bridge

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

If I Could Have a Do-over, I’d Respond Better to My Pro-Choice Friend

Two girl talking in front of computer - do-over conversation

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

There are times in my life that I look back and think, “Wow, I really wish I knew then what I know now.” 

One such time was a few years ago when I had a conversation with my pro-choice friend. Back then, I was not involved with the pro-life movement and I was only pro-life mostly by default as a Christian. I had not given my pro-life position much thought and I certainly had not thought about how to dialogue about abortion.

My friend and I were in the same department at graduate school. We had met on one of the first days of new student orientation and quickly became best friends. She was from India and was the opposite of me in many ways, but we made our friendship work. If I knew then what I know now about Indian culture, her personal background, and pro-life apologetics, our conversation would have gone much differently.

What’s Magical About Abortion Pills?

An abortion advocacy group, Reproaction, has a national campaign called “Abortion Pills are Magic.” As you browse their website, you find they label their stance on abortion as “progressive.” They unapologetically push for easier access to abortion and an absolute right to abortion. They represent the extreme of the pro-choice end of the spectrum. 

Magical Unicorns

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Their vision statement says (emphasis added)

Reproaction’s vision is to uphold abortion rights and advance reproductive justice as a matter of human dignity. We introduce a new culture of accountability, and empower and inspire the reproductive rights movement and the broader progressive community to openly and enthusiastically stand up for abortion rights.

Their closely-related mission statement also specifically addresses abortion:

Reproaction’s mission is to increase access to abortion and advance reproductive justice.

 

Responding to the Slogan “Don’t Like Abortion? Don’t Have One!”

“Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one!” We’ve probably all heard this evergreen slogan before from a pro-choice advocate. There are even shirts and bumper stickers for it. Just like “no uterus, no opinion,” it’s short, it’s snappy, and it can catch new or young pro-life people off-guard in how to respond. It’s a popular comeback I’ve personally heard many times when discussing abortion in-person or online. And it frustrates me to no end because it’s a terrible pro-choice argument. There are many far better pro-choice arguments that can be made, yet this is an easy go-to for many pro-choice advocates. It also frustrates me because by using it, the pro-choice person has revealed they not only have a fundamental misunderstanding of the pro-life viewpoint, but also that they are probably not interested in serious discussion—they are just seeking to shut down the conversation by pulling out this slogan.

Man holding sign with slogan, "If you're against abortion, don't have one."

Picture by Charlotte Cooper source Flickr is licensed under CC By 2.0

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes