Pro-life groups don't really protect the unborn
Pro-life groups funnel tremendous resources into a legal war against abortion in the US without providing adequate practical support for women to maintain pregnancies. Yet not being able to afford a child is one of the main reasons women have abortions.
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That’s just the cost of pre-natal care. That doesn’t include the cost of delivering the child, or the cost of raising that child for 18 years afterward. Nor does it include the cost to the government – and taxpayers – of managing children in foster care when their parents are unwilling or unable to care for them.Skip to next paragraph
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It’s no surprise that, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute in 2005, 73 percent of women terminating their pregnancies cited not being able to afford a baby as a reason for their decision.
So while pro-life Americans spend millions of dollars on events geared toward making abortion illegal, there were 1.16 million women who came to the conclusion in 2009 (a figure that has steadily decreased since the 1990s) that they could not carry their child to term – many of them because of money. The money spent on the March for Life alone could pay for prenatal care for around 6,600 women, or prenatal vitamins for nearly 250,000.
Even if those who participate in the March for Life were able to successfully revoke the legality of abortion in the US, or substantially limit the time in which women can obtain an abortion, statistics indicate that it wouldn’t necessarily protect the unborn. The Guttmacher Institute’s statistics show that abortion rates are higher in countries where it is illegal and procedures are often unsafe.
Even more disheartening are statistics from the Turnaway Study done by The University of California, San Francisco, which showed that women who sought abortions and were turned away (because they had passed their state's gestational limits) were three times more likely to fall into poverty than women who obtained an abortion.
A woman’s decision to have an abortion often stems from a very real and legitimate fear that she will not be able to care for a child. Pro-life supporters and activists spend incredibly large sums to take away that decision, but do not provide the equivalent practical support women need to have a baby. Is that really a fight for life? Or just a fight for a long sought-after political goal? It’s time the pro-life movement focuses its resources more on helping women and babies, not gaining legislative power that ultimately will do little to protect the unborn.
Elizabeth Jahr is a senior at Marymount University in Arlington, Va. majoring in politics and theology and religious studies.