The Truth About Abortion

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by Sophia Yen MD MPH, pediatrician, adolescent medicine specialist.

Given that there are banners up on Market Street (San Francisco’s main thoroughfare) telling lies about abortion, saying “Abortion Hurts Women” and that the anti-abortion, anti-birthcontrol, anti-reprojustice marchers/rallies/leaders have been known to say a few myths about abortion, I thought it was important to write a piece about the Truth about Abortion.

The Truth is: Abortion doesn’t hurt women, but lies about abortion and lack of access to abortion hurt women.

Most of this comes from:

1. Abortion is safer than carrying a pregnancy to term (because of the many complications of pregnancy). First trimester abortion is one of the safest medical procedures, with minimal risk of major complications.

2. Abortion does not increase your risk of breast cancer.

3. Women who get abortions do not have a higher rate of depression and drug use, than women who do not get abortions.

4. >70% of women getting an abortion report a religious affiliation. 37% protestant, 28% Catholic and 7% other. 25% attend religious services at least once a month.

5. Abortions performed in the first trimester pose virtually no long-term risk of problems such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or birth defect, and little or no risk of preterm or low-birth-weight deliveries.

6. 90% of abortions occur in the 1st 12 weeks of pregnancy. 33% occur at 6 weeks of pregnancy or earlier. 60% occur in the 1st 8 weeks (when a woman has missed just 2 periods).

7. Why do women have abortions? “The reasons women give for having an abortion underscore their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life.”
75% state they have concerns for or responsibility to other individuals, including children. 75% say they cannot afford a child. 75% say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or ability to care of dependents. 50% say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.

8. Roe v. Wade in 1973 established that women in consultation with their physicians have a constitutionally protected right to have an abortion before viability free from government interference.

9. A super-majority (78%) of Americans feel that abortion should be legal in some circumstances. 50% “legal only under certain circumstances” and 28% “legal under any circumstances.”

10. Research shows that women who choose abortion and get an abortion are less likely to be under the poverty line than those who want an abortion and “turned away.”

11. Most women getting abortions are already mothers. About 60% of the women that get abortions have already given birth to 1 child and 30% have 2 or more children.

12. No racial nor ethnic group makes up the majority of women choosing abortions. 36% are white, 30% are black, 25% are Hispanic, and 9% are of other race.

13. 50% of the women getting abortion are 25 years of age or OLDER.

14. Abortion is a common procedure. At 2008 abortions rates, 1 in 10 women will have an abortion by age 20, 1 in 4 women by age 30 and 3 in 10 by age 45. (Abortion rates have gone down by ~ 17% since 2008)

15. Access to birth control results in use of birth control, which results in fewer unplanned pregnancies, which results in fewer abortions. Birth control = fewer abortions. (I thought this was common ground with the anti-abortion people. Unfortunately, it is NOT common ground. The Family Research Council in its “truth about abortion” pamphlet says birth control leads to more sex, leads to more abortion.)

If you agree that lies about abortion are a public health hazard and that the City of SF should use the funds from the banners to launch a public health campaign about the Truth About Abortion, please join other concerned citizens, health professionals, parents of impressionable young adults, young adults and more in signing this petition. Please also share on FB/twitter/email lists.

Thank you for TrustingWomen with their personal health decisions.

People who TRUST WOMEN with repro rights, TIME to WAKE UP, GET ACTIVE, TELL YOUR Friends!

I love this poem, so had to bring it out again for the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I think it sums up what I feel about repro rights and apathy for activism about reproductive rights/justice/health that I see out there. Those of you who found this are probably already GREAT activists, but please share this with friends, and please join us for Trust Women Week Jan 20-27 a National Online March for Reproductive Justice, Rights and Health.

Click here to MARCH!

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.    —Pastor Martin Niemoller

The anti-women, anti-birth control, anti-freedom-of-religion people have taken over government at the National and State levels.

First they went after abortion coverage.

Then they decided  to redefine rape.

Then they are NOT allowing abortions in the case which the women would DIE without the abortion.

Then they voted on to defund birth control/pap smears/STD testing for financially-strapped women.

Now they have declared open season on killing abortion providers.

What’s next? Anyone who speaks up about abortion will be shot?

When will pro-choice (NOT the same as pro-abortion) Americans wake up, stand up and be counted?


Did you know that US the House of Representatives:

  1. Passed the “Let Women Die Bill” 251:170 HR358. 250 members of Congress thought it OK to let a woman die in the ER rather than perform an abortion!
  2. Tried to redefine rape as NOT rape if a woman was drunk, drugged or underage,
  3. Passed a law that would basically result in no private insurance coverage of abortion even if women paid for the insurance with their own funds (currently 85% of private insurance covers abortion), Stupak Amendment to HR3
  4. Passed a law to ban teaching hospitals from teaching abortion,
  5. Passed a law to take away birth control from poor women (Title X funding) which would result in more unwanted pregnancies and abortions

And US Senators are lying about Planned Parenthood on the floor of Congress!

TRUTH: only 3% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions. The other 97% is STD diagnosis and treatment, pregnancy care, cancer screenings, etc.

And they are so emboldened that a South Dakota bill would legalize killing doctors who perform abortions!!

And Nebraska has decided to do the same but worse!

And Iowa too!


Here are a few great videos that everyone should see:

Who has abortions

Hyde is NOT OK

Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Thank you!


Sophia Yen MD MPH

What:              National Online March for Reproductive Justice, Rights and Health

When:             Jan 20 -27  

Where:            Online – click HERE for virtual march

Please join us for Trust Women Week Jan 20-27 a National Online March for Reproductive Justice, Rights and Health.

Please MARCH starting NOW and get your friends everywhere to march online!

Thrown under the Bus, FDA overruled by HHS

by Sophia Yen MD MPH, Board certified in Adolescent Medicine, Board certified in Pediatrics

When they overruled the FDA decision to send Emergency Contraception(EC) over the counter (OTC), last Wednesday, the Obama administration threw women, science, and birth control under the bus.

Some have said that failing to get EC for those 16 and under is no big deal because it affects so few, and that EC fails a lot.

Sure EC can fail, but what about the successes? Those people go on with their lives and don’t show up in the MDs office. We also see EC failure b/c of the delay in access — the longer it takes to get the med, the less likely it is to work. Allowing over the counter access results in earlier use and thus more likelihood for the medication to work.

Also, it is the principle of the matter – it is UNPRECEDENTED for the HHS to overrule the FDA. Who is Sebelius to override the nonpartisan FDA panel who reviewed the case? Who is she to overrule all the MDs from the AMA, ACOG, AAP, SAHM and  health providers/researchers from 30+ other medical organizations that have supported EC over the counter with NO age limit? Did she go to medical school? Does she see patients daily? Has she reviewed all the science regarding EC and adolescents? — the FDA panel did, the AMA, ACOG, AAP, SAHM did.  (click here for AAP.ACOG.SAHM statement condemning the HHS action) This ruling is a slap in the face to the entire medical and scientific community.

As a board certified pediatrician and board certified adolescent medicine specialist, I see the results of what happens when teenagers don’t have access to birth control – they get pregnant! and then you have unwanted pregnancies, ruined futures, and/or abortions. Are those American values – unwanted pregnancies and unnecessary abortions?

This was purely a political play, ignoring science, using anecdotal qualms reminiscent of the Bush days to counter science. President Obama and Sec. Sebelius were throwing out red herrings when they stated they had concerns about 11 year olds. What about the 15-16 year olds?

There is NO harm from an 11 year old taking this medicine. There IS harm from overdosing on acetaminophen, ibuprofen or taking aspirin with a viral illness in children but these meds are all over the counter. Why is this medication being treated any differently? POLITICS

Shame on President Obama for invoking his 2 daughters as justification. I invoke my 2 daughters and say, I will talk to my daughters about the dangers of over the counter medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc and I hope that he will talk to his.


Take Action and sign a petition!

 Feminist Majority Foundation’s petition

Take Action and tell your friends about the Silver Ribbon campaign to Trust Women for Reproductive Rights and Justice.

    – Follow us on Facebook:

– Follow us on Twitter: @oursilverribbon

– Get your Twibbon:


Some great reference documents about EC and Adolescents

Excerpts from statements by major medical organizations about EC and Over The Counter access for adolescents (at the bottom of the page) by Advocates for Youth.


2008 brief on EC by the Bixby Center covering

For more information on AAP recommendations on contraception and emergency contraception use among teens please visit















Videos on Reproductive Rights

Guttmacher Institute on Who has abortions and why we need to fund abortions and why we need to provide FREE birth control! yeah!

Sen Kirsten Gillibrand on Women Need to WAKE UP and TAKE ACTION, VOTE
start at 9:39 (notice the Silver Ribbons on Sen. Gillibrand and EMILY’s list President)

Watch live streaming video from emilyslist at

“I Have Sex” — students speak out against ideological attack on PP …

Red County speaks out

Jackie Speier speaks about her abortion

Walk for Choice theme song

Not Under the Bus

May/June Calendar of Events

SisterSong has a series of ForePlay sex-positive pre-conference celebrations

These events will have cultural and political art, fiery performances and VIPs like you!

May 18 – Boston

May 19 NYC

Atlanta June 3

SF June 9th

contact Monica Simpson for more information  Monica Simpson <>

Their conference is July 14-17 in Miami

April Calendar of events

4/7 – Rally for Choice in DC

sign up with RCRC:

Stand up for Women’s Health Rally facebook event

Thursday, April 7 · 11:30am – 12:30pm

The National Mall in front of the Capitol Building
3rd/4th St. SW
Washington, DC

4/9 or before, protest/complain about Dillard’s Houston area store hosting Anti-Choice Anti-African-American event

Care2 reports on Memorial City’s Dillard planning to host an anti-choice fundraiser on 4/9/11.

Please sign the petition.

Per our partners at SisterSong email dillards:
Call the store manager. Stephen Brophy ( 713) 464-1851

Fax the store manager. Stephen Brophy Fax: 713-463-4100

Boycott Dillard’s.

Protest in front of Dillard’s on 4/9/11.

read more here.


4/2 6pm in Chicago Pro-Choice Counterprotest at the Joe Scheidler Tribute!

Protest Houston Dillard’s anti-choice fundraiser

Care2 reports on Memorial City’s Dillard planning to host an anti-choice fundraiser on 4/9/11.

Please sign the petition.

Per our partners at SisterSong email dillards:
Call the store manager. Stephen Brophy ( 713) 464-1851

Fax the store manager. Stephen Brophy Fax: 713-463-4100

Boycott Dillard’s.

Protest in front of Dillard’s on 4/9/11.

read more here.

NOW-NYC launches “My Health Matters” on youtube. Add your video.

NOW NYC launches a video/youtube campaign. My Health Matters

You can make a video and upload it to youtube for the My Health Matters campaign. Talking about how your health or a woman that you care about is important and should not be endangered by government ideological political battles.

for example,

the House voted to defund all family planning for Title X clinics.

HR3 and HR 358 aim to get rid of private insurance funding for abortion

HR 358 expands conscience clause protections so broadly that it would become legal for a hospital todeny life-saving care based on “moral or religious” ground

read more here”

Walk For Choice II – Sat March 26th

check it out! Raven Geary has spear-headed another round of Walk For Choice

join the Walk or start one near you!