Analysis

Turnaway Study author gives ‘6 predictions’ if Roe ends, calls pregnancy ‘literally life-threatening’

abortion, New York, roe

A recent article by Dr. Diana Greene Foster in Politico made six predictions for life if Roe v. Wade is overturned, and called “staying pregnant and giving birth” a “literally life-threatening process.” Foster is the director of research at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive services at the University of California, San Francisco (which trains abortionists), and author of the heavily debunked Turnaway Study.

In Politico, Greene Foster claims her predictions are based on research, but that research is deeply flawed and discriminatory. So are her predictions.

Prediction: Lower-income women “will have children at the wrong time”

Interestingly, four of Greene Foster’s six so-called predictions are focused on her supposed concern that underprivileged women, in particular, might not have the opportunity to abort their children. This makes sense, as the abortion industry frequently uses the financial status of certain women to justify abortion.

Greene Foster argues that women who live in pro-life states will have to travel to get abortions or buy abortion pills online. She (inexplicably) claims only wealthy people will be able to afford either of these, which means “lower-income Americans will have children at the wrong time.” Yet the pro-abortion mindset doesn’t ever seem to have a “right time” to encourage lower-income women to give birth; abortion always seems to be the assumed necessary outcome. It’s one of the main pro-abortion fallback arguments for keeping abortion legal — the idea that poor women need abortion in order to succeed and climb out of poverty. But in reality, the legalization of abortion contributed to what’s known today as the “feminization of poverty.”

In “Poverty and Abortion: A Vicious Cycle,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops explained:

Beginning in the 1990s, groundbreaking research has found that the “technology shock” of widely available contraception and abortion has increased out-of-wedlock births. Previously, it was widely accepted that an unexpected pregnancy out-of-wedlock should lead a man to offer marriage.

Once contraception and abortion became widespread, the same pregnancy came to be seen as the woman’s responsibility – and as her problem. The man’s obligation can end with an offer to pay for abortion; if the woman refuses, she often soon finds herself to be a single mother. 

Research also shows that women of lower income are less likely to support legalized abortion than affluent women. Yet, many have been conditioned to believe abortion is their only choice because of their finances.

If a woman does go through with an abortion because of her lack of money — an abortion she may not even want — it does nothing to actually improve her financial status, and could make it worse. The rate of divorce and breakup after an abortion increases by as much as 75%, according to the deVeber Institute. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute says 59% of women who are seeking abortions are already mothers (though other research disputes this), and therefore, a divorce (or end of a common law marriage situation) could leave them and their children at risk of the poverty that coincides with single motherhood.

READ: Four reasons why the abortion ‘Turnaway Study’ should not be trusted

Rather than attempting to use abortion as a solution to poverty as Greene Foster suggests, establishing resources for parents, such as family housing and daycare on university campuses, incentivizing companies to offer paid maternity leave, paid paternal leave, paid family leave, and health insurance for even part-time employees could greatly benefit women.

Prediction: Women will die without abortion access

Another flawed prediction Greene Foster makes is that women will die without access to abortion.

She claims abortion is less risky than full-term pregnancy (a claim based on a single debunked study) and says “two young women in our study who had sought and been denied abortions died as a result of their pregnancies.” However, she links to a study that does not appear to list her as a researcher, and other research notes one Turnaway Study participant’s death. She also fails to provide details about the circumstances of the death(s).

When a pregnant woman’s life is at risk, doctors can and should provide real medical care such as preterm delivery or emergency C-section in order to save her life. Greene Foster does not mention what, if any, treatment the women in the study were given or how far along the women were, but preterm delivery, surgery for ectopic pregnancies, and C-sections are not abortions and can be performed much more quickly than an abortion, especially in the later stages of pregnancy.

Greene Foster goes on to claim that the maternal mortality rate will be higher if abortion is criminalized, but research shows this is not true. In 1971 and 1972, prior to Roe, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. was 18.8 per 100,000 live births. Since Roe legalized abortion in 1973, the maternal mortality rate has only increased. In 2020, it was 23.8 per 100,000 live births. In fact, research shows that countries that have banned abortion saw their maternal mortality rates improve. In Poland, where abortion was banned in almost all cases in 1989, the maternal mortality rate has dropped from 17 to two. Likewise, El Salvador banned abortion in 1998 and saw its maternal mortality rate drop from 155 to 46.

Greene Foster’s claim that legalized abortion improves maternal mortality rates is totally incorrect.

Prediction: People will parent their own children instead of placing them with adoptive families

Greene Foster predicts that if Roe is overturned more people will parent their own children — and somehow, this is presented as something negative. She claims 90% of women who give birth to their babies instead of killing them through abortion will “choose to parent their child.” Greene Foster references Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s remarks about adoption being an option that is better than abortion and perpetuates the lie (without proof) that the Supreme Court is attempting to increase a “domestic supply of infants” for adoption.

Enabling families to parent their own children should always be the first choice; while adoption is ultimately better than abortion, adoption is a separation that will naturally cause trauma for the child and the birth parents. The goal of foster care, notably, isn’t adoption — it’s to reunite families once the parents are stable.

In recent years, open adoptions (rather than closed adoptions) have increased in popularity. Years of research and experience have shown that children should have the right to know who their parents are and where they come from. Research also shows that children thrive more when raised by their married, biological parents. Yet, Greene Foster thinks parents raising their own children is something to fear.

Prediction: If children aren’t aborted now, others might not be born later

Greene Foster again sources the Turnaway Study, claiming that she does not “anticipate that banning abortion will result in a large increase in the total number of children born.” But, she adds, “[In] states that ban abortion, approximately a quarter of women who otherwise would get an abortion will give birth. But these births will come at the cost of people having wanted pregnancies later.”

In other words, she implies that future non-existent babies are more valuable than the current living babies because the future babies would be “wanted” and the current ones are “unwanted.” She said the people who get pregnant and can’t have abortions now will not have children later “either because they have had all the children they can care for or because, although they may want more children, their life circumstances don’t improve to a point where they can do so.”

First of all, it’s a false notion that children hold women back from their goals or that abortion lifts women to a higher socioeconomic status. Second, it’s a good thing that women keep the babies they become pregnant with instead of aborting them in order to maybe have different children later in life. Yet, Greene believes killing existing, living babies while still in the womb is the answer to ensuring more children are conceived later.

If Roe is soon overturned, it is possible that fewer women will feel like abortion is their only choice because of their financial status or other reason. This will allow them to give birth freely, without the expectation to abort. And pro-life groups will be there to ensure they are able to welcome their babies with confidence — and all of the material goods and emotional support they need.

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