My personal resolution to leave posts about abortion to my colleagues has lasted all but one day. I am moved to write this by a shockingly disheartening article I just read about how the economic slowdown has led to an increase in abortions. At St. Louis, MO Planned Parenthood clinics, abortions were up 7% at the end of 2008 over the previous year’s figures, to quote the report. That is after a decline to the lowest number of abortions in years. While it is a commonly accepted fact that financial strain increases the likelihood of abortion, it was nevertheless painful to read the news story.
What made it so difficult was that couples who had been expecting a child they had planned for were seeking abortions because of recent layoffs, or for fear of being unable to make ends meet with a new arrival. For me, the article highlighted the urgent need to make health care more available, especially to expecting mothers. This is one area where pro-lifer and pro-choicer can agree, yet one side seems to be at odds with the other over providing cheap, accessible health care to America. Obviously there is no way to stop the number of abortions from rising during recessions, but the assurance that a couple won’t lose their health care along with their jobs might save some foeti who would otherwise be welcomed into the world.
On a related note, the article also confirms William Saletan’s conjecture that the recent increase in condom sales is related to shrinking incomes and not surging libidos. Condoms are much cheaper than the Pill, so that is one way to cut back on spending. But prophylactics are also less reliable and result in more failures. Failures that can only lead to, you guessed it, more abortions. Here’s to getting the economy back on track, if only for the unborn.
-Michael E. van Landingham