Debunking Three of the Biggest Myths About Abortion

By Christina Lorey

June 24, 2022

Women’s health care is facing a legal assault from an activist Supreme Court—in part because of the volume of misinformation in the half-century since Roe v. Wade.

Abortion is health care. It is an integral part of women’s health. It remains supported by a majority of Americans, including 58% of those in Wisconsin, according to a new Marquette Law School Poll.

Abortion is also a part of health care under direct assault from those who have politicized it and spread misinformation about it.

As the US Supreme Court, now controlled by the political right wing, prepares to substantially undermine abortion rights at the federal level, it becomes more important than ever to separate facts from misunderstandings or intentional misinformation. Share these facts with someone who is hung up on things they may have heard but have not researched themselves.

Myth: Since Roe, abortion rates have skyrocketed.

FACT: Since the Supreme Court gave women the right to choose, both abortion and pregnancy rates have dropped to half of what they were 50 years ago, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization. On top of that, pregnancy rates hit their lowest recorded levels in 2017, including among young women 15-24 years old.

Myth: Abortions are dangerous.

FACT: Women are actually 40 times more likely to die giving birth than during an abortion. Data from the CDC shows abortions are safe, and getting even safer. From 2013 to 2018, the national fatality rate for legal induced abortion (this is important because it does not include women who terminated their own pregnancies at home) was 0.41 deaths per 100,000 abortions, lower than the previous five years. In third-world countries, without access to legal, safe care, there are 220 deaths per 100,000 abortions.

Myth: Most abortions happen after fetuses can feel pain.

FACT: Most women get an abortion within the first 13 weeks, or the first trimester, of pregnancy. Only 1% happen at or after the second. Additionally, medical researchers have found a fetus isn’t capable of experiencing pain until the third trimester, somewhere between 29 or 30 weeks. Despite this, 16 states including Wisconsin, have passed abortion bans after 22 weeks, based on the unproven belief fetuses experience pain by then.

These are the facts about abortion in Wisconsin. Share with someone you know.


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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