IF YOU LIKE THE WAR ON (SOME CLASSES OF PEOPLE WHO USE SOME) DRUGS, YOU'LL LOVE ABORTION CRIMINALIZATION. Jill Filipovic, while discussing the incredibly draconian new abortion ban set to be enacted in Nicaragua (which doesn't even have an exemption of the life of the mother), points us to data which reinforces a point that should be central to pro-choice discourse: abortion bans are failures even on their own terms. The Latin American nations which best reflect the combination of draconian bans, miserly social services, moralistic sex "education," and reactionary gender relations favored by most American pro-life groups also have very high abortion rates, much higher than those in most countries where abortion is not only legal but state-funded. Because affluent women have access to abortion even in regimes far more serious about enforcing bans than the United States ever was, and many women without the connections to get safe abortions will seek them on the black market, abortion bans are a remarkably ineffective (and inequitable) means of reducing abortion rates, and have all kinds of negative externalities (starting with the maiming and killing of women). If your primary goal is to punish women who engage in sexual choices you don't like, abortion bans make sense; if your goal is protecting fetal life, not so much. The combination of policies favored by pro-choicers are not only better for women's autonomy, but usually lead to fewer abortions as well.

For those interested in comparative abortion policy, with the caution that the law on the books doesn't always reflect the situation on the ground, Ann Friedman points us to this very valuable resource (which breaks down the current law within the states as well.) It makes a fellow proud to be a Canadian...

--Scott Lemieux

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