Since Trump's election, debate over abortion rights has been more fervent than ever in the United States. But what's often missing from these debates is what actually happens when you limit abortion access. Whether you believe abortions are morally justified or not, you should care whether or not the many restrictions our federal and state governments have proposed and enacted over the past few years are actually lowering abortion rates — and what other effects they could be having. We should all care about it.
The abortion rate in the United States is actually the lowest it's been since the Guttmacher Institute started tracking it in 1973. It might seem like this means government restrictions have decreased abortion rates, but it may have more to do with access to affordable birth control — something that's also in danger. While the goal of people who advocate overturning Roe v. Wade or defunding Planned Parenthood may be to make people give birth instead — and there likely are cases when this happens — evidence suggests that people who can't get abortions legally and safely will often resort to illegal, unsafe measures.
Here are a few things that have been shown to happen when people lack access to abortion.