Recently, it came to my attention that some people still believe that mandated 24+-hour waiting periods for abortions are necessary in order to prevent pregnant women from instantly deciding, without a thought, to abort, only to regret it later.
Imagine a woman finding out she is pregnant and before giving it any thought whatsoever she runs out and gets an abortion. What if she regrets it, and then has to deal with that emotional stress the rest of her life? [redacted reference to extreme self-harm]
Studies show that waiting periods very deeply harm those in need of an abortion and that anti-choicer “activism” is often what causes post-abortion regrets. Mandating waiting periods and ultrasounds exacerbates the very negative feelings that anti-choicers claim to be combating with such legislation. Being denied an abortion, which can result from waiting periods and other mandates on reproductive health, causes more regret and less relief.
Of course, all that aside, there are a lot of choices people make that they could deeply regret that they can make without a waiting period of any kind. There’s no waiting period of any kind for marriage in 29 out of the 50 states and one federal district of the United States. For some reason, the only decision being aggressively targeted for waiting-period legislation is the decision to terminate a pregnancy.
Let’s set all the facts aside for a moment, shall we, and consider whether the scenario described by the people so concerned for the well-being of the pregnant could even happen. Namely:
In an ideal situation, could the time elapsed between peeing on a stick and terminating a pregnancy consist of fewer than 24 hours?
I define my situation as “ideal” because:
- I live in an area fairly well-saturated with Planned Parenthoods.
- My state doesn’t require any waiting periods and has fairly few restrictions on abortion (although they keep trying to pass parental notification legislation and failing). Furthermore, it’s a medical marijuana state, and so I could presumably use MMJ for pain relief afterwards.
- I own a car.
- I come from an upper-middle-class background and graduated from university, therefore have a decent-paying job and access to credit, if I need to pay for an abortion before my next paycheck.
- My job provides me with full healthcare coverage and five paid sick days a year. In addition, they’re nice enough to give requested unpaid time off, if necessary, without the threat of being fired over it.
- I’m a generally healthy, able-bodied individual, well-educated in biology, with relatively regular menstrual cycles and no reproductive-health-affecting conditions, so I’d be able to figure out within a single cycle (21-25 days) that I was pregnant, unlike some.
- I have access to the Internet via my phone, my work computer, and my home connection.
- All of those who constitute my close social support system, including my partners, are 100% on-board with supporting my reproductive health choices.
All of these factors mean that I am much, much better off than many who need abortions. In the next few days, I will find out how long it takes me to find an abortion provider, schedule any necessary appointments, and have the procedure done.