It's tragic but true: Women who live in places with more restrictive abortion policies are more likely to turn toward dangerous, do-it-yourself methods to terminate pregnancy. The trend can be seen worldwide according to the World Health Organization, which found that unsafe abortions occur at higher rates in countries with more restrictive laws.
Which makes the following story all the more disturbing.
On Monday, during an episode of Life Talk TV, well-known anti-abortion activist Mark Crutcher dismissed the idea that such restrictions lead to more dangerous abortions. Instead he claimed that any rise in DIY abortions is the fault of pro-choicers. Um, what?
“If abortion were outlawed today and next week a bunch of women died from coat hanger abortions, those coat hangers would have been in the hands of pro-choice people, not pro-life people,” Crutcher said.
He then added the following bizarre argument:
"The fact is if women wind up dying — every women that has ever died in an abortion, every woman that was ever was raped in an abortion clinic, was killed by a pro-abort or raped by a pro-abort. Why are we responsible for that?”
These callous remarks are ironic considering that Crutcher claims to champion life at all stages. Unless, of course, it's the life of a woman who doesn't want to be pregnant. Do we really need to say #PregnantLivesMatter?
Crutcher's solution to the coat-hanger-abortion-problem was not to provide more safe access to abortion. Instead he suggested that women sign a piece of paper pledging not to perform their own abortions. "If you don’t like coat-hanger abortions, don’t do abortions,” he concluded, while completely missing the entire point of everything.
Sadly, Crutcher's beliefs are all too common in this country and have helped pass numerous state laws that place often insurmountable obstacles in the way of abortion access. Just today South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill banning abortions after 19 weeks, with no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest.
Missouri recently passed its controversial "personhood" bill which gives unborn fetuses the same constitutional rights as American citizens. Opponents argued the bill comes close to banning abortion entirely and also makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
At the time, Missouri lawmaker Tila Hubrecht argued that in cases of rape pregnancy should be seen as a blessing from God. Meanwhile Republican State Rep. Jay Barnes boasted the law “puts Missouri in the position to be the most pro-life state in the country."
It should be no surprise then that a New York Times investigation gave Missouri an "above average" rating in terms of Google searches for "home abortion methods." South Carolina was also given a "hostile" rating by the Times, and subsequently, the state's number of searches for DIY abortion methods was above average.
In other words, while politicians preach about saving the potential lives of unborn children, they completely ignore the lives of women. Keep up the good work, guys!
Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.