This week, the parliament of Slovakia rejected a proposal by to strengthen abortion regulations in a tight vote of 59-58.
Abortion is legal for any reason in Slovakia until 12 weeks into the pregnancy. According to Reuters, the proposed amendment would not have changed that, but would have doubled the abortion waiting period to 96 hours, would have banned abortion businesses from advertising their services, and would have required women to report their reasons for choosing to abort.
“Our proposal to help pregnant women did not go through,” Anna Zaborski, the main pro-life author of the amendment said on her Facebook page, according to Reuters. “I regret that my colleagues did not, in this difficult economic situation, support those most vulnerable — pregnant women and children. In six months we will submit our proposal again.”
Opponents claimed the amendment would put women under stress, but research has shown that waiting periods save lives from abortion. One study found that when a 72-hour waiting period was enacted, eight percent of women chose not to return to the abortion business for the procedure. That eight percent adds up to millions of dollars of lost income for abortion businesses, including Planned Parenthood, which committed 345,672 abortions in the United States in 2018. Eight percent of that figure would equate to 27,653 women ultimately deciding not to abort their children. In the first trimester, the average charge for an abortion is $483. At this price, the loss to the abortion industry would be more than $13 million annually.
In addition to saving the lives of preborn children from abortion, waiting periods save women from abortion trauma. A waiting period after informed consent allows women the time to make an informed decision about abortion. In a 2006 study published in “Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine,” it was determined that waiting periods reduce the suicide rate among women ages 25-64. Researchers found that suicide rates drop 10% among women when waiting periods and informed consent laws are in effect.
“It would appear as though waiting periods (and the counseling that usually accompanies them) induce a more reasoned approach to the abortion decision, avoiding rash decisions on the part of the pregnant women,” wrote the study authors. “Better decision-making processes presumably lead to fewer regrets later on, lowering the incidence of depression and, ultimately, suicide. These results suggest mandatory waiting periods represent public policies that generate large welfare gains for women faced with unwanted pregnancies.”
Abortion laws aren’t enacted to punish women, but to help them making informed decisions and avoid being pressured into abortion.
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