Harmful reach of restrictive abortion laws

The Boston Globe |

THE ARTICLE "Alleged bid to abort leads to baby's death" (Page A1, Jan. 25) reinforces the need to increase access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education and services. Restrictive abortion laws do stop abortions from occurring and have a devastating impact on women's health.

The dangerous consequences of the anti-choice movement in the United States are clear in light of the Latin American context of this case, in which the mother is a Dominican immigrant. Because many women choose to have abortions regardless of the legal environment, an estimated 95 percent of the abortions performed in Latin America are illegal.

The best way to diminish the number of unwanted pregnancies is to increase access to family planning counseling, sex education, and contraception. The case of Amber Abreu demonstrates that Latinas and other vulnerable groups continue to be affected by ongoing debates over the legality of abortion.

Women deserve access to a wide variety of reproductive health services, including the right to safe, legal abortions, but many do not know their rights and what services are legally available.

New York

The writer is regional director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere.

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