The life that they fail to recognize is that of the woman in need of care.
Women’s reproductive rights are quickly becoming an issue of poverty. The Guttmacher Institute issued a study last May that acknowledged 42 percent of women receiving abortion services as poor, a jump from 27 percent just eight years before. A U.S. Department of Agriculture study published around the same time estimated the average cost of raising a child at $191,490 from birth to age 18, for a family whose income is less than $56,800 in a state like Pennsylvania (the federal poverty level in 2009 was an income of only $22,000). The USDA statistic is only for husband-wife families. The overwhelming majority of women seeking abortion care – 85 percent – were not married. Women who cannot afford to take on the financial costs (not considering the separate issue of emotional costs) of becoming parents will not be able to afford a secure, legal abortion if these bills make it through the House and Senate.
The defunding efforts, in addition to reducing safe abortion services, will remove preventative efforts. Planned Parenthood will inevitably suffer the most, as it is the largest provider and it relies heavily on Title X funds. In addition to abortion services, Planned Parenthood offers sex education to the community, contraceptives, and general health care. The government has spent billions of dollars to fund abstinence-only sex education in schools, when a 2007 study commissioned by Congress showed that the same percentage of students – 49 percent – remained abstinent, no matter which type of sex education they had received. Planned Parenthood can step in where the schools fail, educating young women and men about their options beyond the ignorant, “Just don’t do it.”
The government should decide whether it would like to deal with unplanned and unwanted pregnancies before or after the fact, and allocate its tax dollars accordingly.
Learn More about the “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” Movement: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/index.htm
Chelsea McCartney is a senior majoring in Telecommunications and French and Francophone Studies.