Decades after the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional state laws banning abortions, the topic hasn’t become any less controversial. Anti-abortion advocates nationwide have fought to ban the procedure ever since Roe v. Wade, and in some states, they have succeeded in enacting abortion restrictions that aren’t based in science at all. Ironically, that particular fact is scientifically-backed: According to a recent analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization, at least 10 major categories of abortion restrictions are based on “assertions not supported by rigorous scientific evidence.” In other words, although it’s a medical procedure, many policies regarding abortion conflict with established medical facts.

The report, released on Tuesday, analyzed the justification for abortion regulations across the country. The authors identified 10 abortion restrictions that have no basis in science, despite purporting to “protect women’s health” in many instances. They acknowledge that the new presidential administration is a source of concern for many reproductive health advocates, especially given its tendency to espouse “alternative facts.” However, the researchers also point out that anti-abortion rhetoric has historically relied on emotional appeal rather than fact, which is how reproductive rights has come to occupy an “evidence-free zone” today.

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Abortion is an emotional subject for many people, and unfortunately, that emotion is easily exploited by anti-abortion advocates. Some restrictions on the procedure may claim to have “women’s best interests” in mind, but upon closer inspection, they appear to be designed to punish women rather than help them get through a difficult time in their lives. According to a separate Guttmacher study, for example, prospective patients in 13 states receive “counseling” that includes information about a fetus’s ability to feel pain (even though it’sbeen proven that  fetuses can’t feel pain at the 20 week mark), and six states require women to be told personhood begins at conception.

To read the recent Guttmacher report in its entirety, head over to the organization’s website. However, here are seven restrictions highlighted by the study that make zero scientific sense.

1Counseling Requirements

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According to the Guttmacher Institute, 35 states require counseling for women before an abortion is performed. Sometimes, this is designed to adhere to informed consent, but in many cases, researchers found that the information given to women was based on incorrect or unproven assumptions. In six states, for example, women are told that abortion is linked to mental health problems, but a growing heap of research studies have found no such association.

The same story plays out again and again in regards to other topics. There’s no demonstrated association between abortion and breast cancer or infertility, despite the information provided by counseling sessions in some states.

In more than half of the United States, counseling is followed by a mandated waiting period before the procedure can be performed. This period usually lasts between 18 hours and several days, often requiring multiple appointments. As NPR reported in 2015, several of these states are actually increasing the length of time someone must wait before receiving the procedure.

The idea is that women need time to reconsider their decision, but according to research, this time is unnecessary. As the Guttmacher Institute points out, multiple studies have found that by the time they make an appointment to have an abortion, the vast majority of people seeking abortions have already made up their minds. What’s more, the majority of people who get abortions don’t regret them later.

Source: Bustle