Image copyright: Improve The News

    The Facts

    • The controversy: The abortion controversy centers around how rights of pregnant women should be balanced against rights of their unborn children. Laws and opinions are not simply "pro choice" or "pro life," but fall on a spectrum, where abortion is typically more accepted very early in the pregnancy for reasons such as rape, incest, serious genetic defects or maternal health risks, and less accepted late in the pregnancy for reasons such as career inconvenience or sex selection.

    • Incidence: Globally, the WHO estimates that about 45% of all pregnancies end with abortion. In the US, about 18% of all pregnancies end with abortion, with the peak occurrence five weeks after conception (at seven weeks "gestational age") and about 99% during the first half of pregnancy. About 1% of US abortions are because of rape, about 0.5% due to incest and about 1% due to fetal abnormality. Globally, about 45% of abortions are unsafe and kill about one out of every 500 pregnant women having them. Legal US abortions are about 500 times safer.

    The Spin

    Left narrative

    Access to safe abortions is fundamental to the principle of human autonomy and crucial to women's mental and physical health. Banning abortions will do very little other than strip women of their rights to bodily autonomy, put their health and safety at risk, and disproportionately affect marginalized communities that don't have the means to seek the essential treatment elsewhere.

    Right narrative

    The central question in the abortion debate is when human life begins. Even if not yet fully developed, an unborn child is human and to take their life is morally reprehensible. Unborn children should have the same right to bodily autonomy that pro-abortionists demand for women. Besides, it's ironic that the same people promoting bodily autonomy in abortion are those taking coercive measures with the COVID vaccines. Elected state legislators must pursue all options to protect unborn lives.

    Cynical narrative

    What started off as a moral debate on women's rights versus unborn babies rights has morphed into a cynical strategy for winning elections: both sides focus on rare situations that account for only about one in a hundred abortions (either very late-term abortions or unusual reasons such as rape, incest and fetal abnormalities) to rile up their political base and drive voter turnout.

    Go Deeper

    Sign up to our daily newsletter