26 September 2006

Reducing Abortion Demand

Democrats have introduced a bill, H.R. 6067, designed to reduce demand for abortion by preventing unwanted pregnancies and encourage adoption. Republicans don't like it because they oppose contraception as well as abortion. The Democratic bill would:

* cover contraceptives for women with incomes of up to 200% of the federal poverty level
* establish grants for sex education programs
* fund the Title X family planning program
* expand adoption credits
* increase surveillance of abortion data, and
* provide grants to health centers for ultrasound equipment.

It would also require providers to notify patients of the risks of abortion procedures.

The last provision is pure politics, as abortion is almost always less risky than carrying a pregnancy to term, and even in a late term abortion, the risk is comparable with abortion still slightly safer.

Adoption and Abortion

Adoption tax credits, while perhaps good policy, also have limited usefulness in reducing abortion demand.

The hope, of course, is that a pregnant women who knows that a prospective adoptive family really wants a child may be more inclined to carry a pregnancy to term. It is hard to tell if this hypothesis is valid. The stigma associated with having an abortion is often modest, in part, because few people outside a woman's most intimate social circle ever know that she had an abortion. The social stigma associated with carrying a pregnancy to term, something that everyone who knows a woman even vaguely will be aware of, and then giving that child up for adoption, in contrast, remains very real. Carrying a preganancy to term also invites further contact with a baby's father, which could interrupt an adoption and instead impose motherhood and co-parenting with the father upon the mother, yet a long term social relationship with the man who got her pregnant is something many mothers who abort often wish to be rid of for good.

The Missing Piece

The piece missing from this legislation, however, is that our economic system is so unsupportive of single mothers, and of children generally (pre-school tuition is often more expensive than community college tuition), that there is still immense economic pressure on women to have abortions. If having a child means a lifetime a poverty for the mother, and dim prospects for your children, many mothers are going to choose to have an abortion, and have a child later when the prospects for mother and child are better. Yet, Christian conservatives have mysteriously (given the nature of the ministry of Jesus described in the New Testament) tended to blame the poor for their plight, rather than providing assistance to them.


Anonymous said...


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aus blog said...

One small step for man, one huge leap for mankind...........

aus blog said...

World estimations of the number of terminations carried out each year is somewhere between 20 and 88 million.

3,500 per day / 1.3 million per year in America alone.

50% of that 1.3 million claimed failed birth control was to blame.

A further 48% had failed to use any birth control at all.

And 2% had medical reasons.

That means a stagering 98% may have been avoided had an effective birth control been used.