By Christian Mabry | 05/13/2020, 4:07 PM CST
We live in a tense political atmosphere where people argue over nearly everything. One of the most often debated topics is abortion.
While many believe that abortion should be completely legal and that a man should never be able to take that right away from women, this is simply not the case–GOP lawmakers have their own agendas, and they typically restrict these rights when it serves their re-election prospects the most. They will do anything in their power to maintain the evangelical vote, claiming that their true concern is the life of a child.
Let’s analyze some of their more well-known talking points.
“You can afford a baby–you’re just selfish!”
How much does childbirth cost? It depends on where you live. To be as fair to the argument as possible, let’s choose the state with the cheapest childbirth costs: Alabama.
In Alabama, the average cost of a vaginal birth with insurance is $5230, and the average cost of a C-section with insurance is $8221. Again, these are price tags for those who do have health insurance, so what if you don’t?
With that in mind, let’s revisit childbirth costs. In Alabama, the average cost of a vaginal birth without insurance is $9516, and the average cost of a C-section without insurance is $13,589. Bear in mind that it costs at least hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more in every other state in the country.
This is more than most Americans can afford, and these figures don’t even include medical care before and after childbirth, which often substantially increases the cost–sometimes nearly tripling it.
While over half of Americans state that if they were to miss more than a single paycheck, they would have to access their savings to put food on the table, nearly 20% have no savings whatsoever, and another 30% have less than $500 set aside at any given time.
This is the state of our nation, and it’s why 75% of abortion patients are either below the federal poverty line or within striking distance of it (100-199%). To be clear, it doesn’t take much to pass the poverty line–it’s $15,730 a year for a family of two. Abysmal.
How much does an abortion cost? About $500.
“You should have been more careful.”
Out of the six million or more pregnancies in the United States each year, nearly three million are unplanned. Furthermore, over half of all abortion patients are using a contraceptive during the month they become pregnant.
On the bright side, the number of unplanned pregnancies has continued to decline since the 1980s, and it has nothing to do with lawmakers banning abortion–it is actually a result of more effective contraceptives as well as publicly funded family planning services, such as Planned Parenthood. These organizations prevent an estimated 68% increase in unplanned births (900,000 births) and abortions (700,000 abortions) each year.
“Put them up for adoption instead.”
Excluding miscarriages, approximately 80% of all pregnancies end in childbirth, but for those who have an abortion, let us briefly imagine a world where they instead give birth. Not only are there not enough foster homes available in the United States as it is, but each year, between 30-50% of foster parents decide to close their doors to children in need.
At all times, there are at least 400,000 children in foster care. If every woman who had an abortion were to instead give birth and put their child up for adoption, that number would skyrocket: over 800,000 abortions are performed annually in the U.S., and the foster care system is already overloaded.
Nonetheless, what if millions of people decided to put their money where their mouth is and become foster parents? Let’s take a look at the current system:
• Most foster children live in state care for at least two years.
• The average age of a child entering the foster system is eight years old.
• One in four foster children will enter the “justice” system within two years of leaving foster care.
• Between 40-50% of foster children will become homeless, and half of the homeless population in the United States has spent time in the foster care system.
Not everyone who is put up for adoption is doomed, and yes, there are wonderful foster parents out there, but these statistics speak for themselves. What quality of life would we condemn these children to if they were born (assuming millions of people signed up to become foster parents tomorrow)?
“Most abortions are performed right before birth; that’s my problem with it.”
This statement is just blatantly false. In reality, the vast majority of abortions are performed at 8 weeks or earlier:
While a baby is not considered viable outside of the womb until 24 weeks, even then, it requires extensive medical intervention, typically including feeding tubes, a ventilator, and more–and it still may not survive. With that being said, abortions performed at this point make up less than 1% of all abortions–it’s such a rare procedure that it isn’t even noted on this pie chart.
On a side note, medication abortions, which are only an option until 10 weeks, are now slowly replacing the more invasive procedures most are familiar with; nearly a third of all clinics solely offer medication abortions. This is a testament to how early on most of these procedures are performed.
“Just don’t have sex then!”
This is always the last argument people throw out there when all else has failed, but it isn’t even worth debating. Almost everyone has a sex drive, including the probably religious conservative guy you heard say this. It’s a convenient argument– typically one that those who are incapable of becoming pregnant have.
No one is focusing on what actually matters.
In my personal life, I’m pro-life; what I mean by that is, if possible, abortion should be avoided. However, when it comes to the United States as a nation, I believe that abortion should be 100% legal everywhere. My individual feelings about something should not dictate the lives of every woman in the country, and I wish more people would come to that realization.
In a nation where the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, hasn’t been raised in 13 years, and through inflation, has the buying power of roughly $4.50 an hour, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could afford to give birth to a child.
There is a reason why women have abortions, and it does not typically come from a position of convenience–it comes from a position of extreme poverty.
Generally speaking, those who take the pro-life stance are also very much against social programs like Medicaid, SNAP (Food Stamps), and the like. They demand that all who are pregnant should give birth, but when the baby is born, they essentially prefer that it starve to death and die–that doesn’t sound like a position of conviction at all.
In a world where a company like Amazon can make $13,000,000,000 in profits and pay $0 in federal taxes while the rest of us pay thousands in federal taxes on meager five-figure incomes, the solution becomes clear: provide citizens with a living wage, healthcare, childcare, and a (free) quality education, and maybe they won’t have to get an abortion to avoid bankruptcy, starvation, or homelessness.
Nevertheless, whether or not to have an abortion should always be a woman’s choice to make, regardless of circumstances. It should never be in the hands of a rich, old, white politician who is completely out of touch with the concept of working for a living, struggling to get through each day, barely paying the bills, or experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.
Women should always have the right to choose.
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