Myths about abortion thrive in the fake news stratosphere

Mr. Bruening, health teacher and athletic director, says the school's health curriculum adequately addresses sex education issues, like abortion.

Mr. Bruening, health teacher and athletic director, says the school’s health curriculum adequately addresses sex education issues, like abortion.

Katie Igielinski, Staff Writer

Fake news has been surging through the world since the Spanish-American war in the 1800s. It’s funny to see how some habits are hard to break. But it also comes as no surprise that with the intense growth of technology and social media, fake news has in fact increased. One of the topics that suffers virtually the most from this is abortion.

This has especially become an issue due to the amount of conservative politicians who have taken it upon themselves to portray abortion as an immoral and potentially hazardous procedure. It is arguable that abortion has become even MORE controversial due to the amount of fake facts spread about it. How are people supposed to take an educated stance on something when they can’t get reliable information about the subject?

One of the most often repeated abortion myths is that abortion is dangerous. It is completely normal to have concerns about medical procedures, but that makes it all the more necessary to get the facts from a reliable source.

Ms. King, a biology teacher at Gowanda High School stated, “I think students are clueless when it comes to pregnancy and related issues, as evidenced by the number of pregnant students we have had in the 15 years that I have been teaching here.”

When women, especially young women, who are not educated about this issue hear that abortions are dangerous, it clearly has an affect on their decision. But the reality is, that nearly every abortion done in an appropriate and professional setting is completely safe.

Mr. Bruening, the health teacher at Gowanda High School stated, “Our high school health curriculum is fairly sufficient when it comes to sexual education and pregnancy. Though talking about abortion can be difficult, it is still mentioned in class.”

Abortions only become dangerous when a woman takes it upon herself to perform a self- induced abortion. This typically happens because women cannot find access to have a safe abortion done.

This dynamic leads to the next myth: women have easy access to abortions. This is typically only an issue for women in southern states, but that does not make it any less important. There are so many laws and restrictions that it isn’t uncommon for a woman to have to travel several hours to find an abortion clinic. Even when they arrive, they might have to face a 24-hour wait period. Additionally, this lack of resources really takes a toll on women in lower socioeconomic classes who are not able to take time off work or pay for gas to get to these abortion clinics.

Many people have also shown concern about teenage pregnancy and abortions. Mr. Bruening said, “A lot of studies have shown that when there are services available, less sexual activity is reported. If the ultimate goal of these politicians is to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies, they need to make these resources more accessible.”

Another common and very controversial abortion myth is that fetuses can feel and experience pain during the procedure. Any expert in this field would say that this is highly inaccurate. Modern research has shown that babies in the womb cannot feel pain until around roughly 30 weeks of development. Some find this information questionable because there are laws in several states that do not allow abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

But the fact of the matter is that politicians are by no means scientists. So when politicians pass certain laws, it is obvious that there will be gaps in their information. In other words, there might be misunderstandings with the information given, or they might even let their own personal views get in the way of producing a suitable and beneficial law.

Ms. King said, “I’m very concerned about the current political situation and reproductive services. Planned Parenthood/birth control are not just about abortions and preventing pregnancy.  These services are important to a woman’s overall health and unfortunately the people in power (old men) do not seem to see it that way.”   

When the Supreme Court granted women the right to get an abortion in the Roe v. Wade case in 1973, it’s almost certain that they never intended for that right to be taken away from women again. But it is hard to protect this right in this day and age with the infestation of fake news that is almost everywhere. Perhaps if people stopped arguing about fake news and spent more time informing themselves and others with real facts, society wouldn’t be so divided on certain topics like this.

Editor’s note: Our staff members have explored both sides of the abortion debate. For the pro-life perspective, read Alexa Urbaniak’s article, “Why I’m pro-life.” You can find it in the Opinion section.