The opinions represented in this article do not necessarily represent those of the staff of CUIndependent.com nor any of its sponsors.
Planned Parenthood has raised nearly one million dollars, including a $250,000 donation from New York City Mayer Mike Bloomberg, as a result of Susan G. Komen’s temporary funding withdrawal of $600,000 annually. Though Planned Parenthood works to help women in all areas of reproductive health, one of its main goals is the prevention of unintended and unwanted pregnancies — hence the name Planned Parenthood.
One of its services aiding in this endeavor is the highly controversial, political cause of many never-ending debates: abortions. And here’s another highly controversial, political cause of never-ending debates: government spending on social and medical programs. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the U.S. government is in debt – $16.4 trillion to be exact. One way to cut this deficit is legalizing and removing restrictions from publicly funded abortions.
Federal funds — through Medicaid and Medicare — are used for abortions in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment of the mother. In their pro-life article “Abortion for Profit,” Abort 73 states that approximately $831 million is spent on abortions each year in the U.S. I guess you could say that’s a big number. I guess you could also argue that removing restrictions on publicly funded abortions in America would only increase this number as there is a possibility that people will be less careful when it comes to sex. But even still, the cost of an abortion is nowhere near that of paying for an unplanned child. You, the tax payers, have to pay for someone else’s bad choices because those decisions affect you.
In the early stages of conception, an abortion costs about $350 performed at an abortion clinic and about $500 at a physician’s office. At later stages of 20 plus weeks, this number can get up to $1000. As stated before, an argument for regulating abortions is that the $831 million spent on abortions will only increase as more people are allowed to undo their ‘mistakes.’ But these ‘mistakes,’ aka unintended pregnancies, cost even more to the taxpayer when they are forced to result in birth.
According to Medicaid, one vaginal birth costs $2972.89 and one cesarean birth costs $3373.59. The Guttmacher Institute has found that 20 to 35 percent of Medicaid-eligible women who could choose abortion carry their pregnancies to term when public funds are not available. It is estimated that American taxpayers spend between $9.6 and $12.6 billion on doctor bills in unintended pregnancies. Already, the American taxpayer is paying more for each unintended birth when they could have paid about, or even less than, $500 for an abortion.
But the cost does not stop there. Not only do you have to pay for the birth of a child, there’s also this thing called education. The Head Start program provides grants to local public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families. The Head Start program received $7,234,783,000 in government appropriation in 2010. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act appropriated $2.1 billion for the Head Start and Early Head Start programs in 2009 to expand enrollment by 64,000 children and families. These funds were available for 2 years. So now they are gone — still, the fact that 64,000 children and families were being added goes to show the amount of lower-income families with children. Obviously, there are many lower-income families who want children, but there are also those who do not. When 20 to 30 percent of Medicaid-eligible women would have chosen an abortion if they had been able to receive government funds, it is very likely that many Head Start children were born, despite the mother’s desire to have an abortion. However, education is not the highest cost to society or the taxpayers.
The highest cost to society is crime. Over 3 million reports of child abuse are made every year in the U.S., many including multiple children. These cases range from neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse to psychological maltreatment and medical neglect. According to Childhelp, 80 percent of children that die from abuse are under the age of four.
About 80 percent of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder. Child Care & Early Education Research Connections states that: “Through interactions with caregivers, adults, and children around them, children’s mental health is fostered or hindered. Comprehensive support to early childhood programs, families, and communities is imperative to address a range of children’s mental health needs and to promote their positive social-emotional development.”
According to the Journal of Early Intervention: “Additional studies report that children who live in poverty neighborhoods are more likely to receive poorer quality care than children from middle and upper-income communities.” If a child is being born because the mother could not afford to get an abortion and Medicaid would not help her, it is likely that this child may experience abuse or living in a poor environment.
How does child abuse affect government spending? In 2008, the U.S. government spent about $124 billion on child abuse and neglect.
Here’s the other problem: children who experience child abuse and neglect are 59 percent more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28 percent more likely to be arrested as an adult and 30 percent more likely to commit violent crime. Pro-Life supporters’ motto is “Save a life!” Save a life but risk the child’s safety?
Even if the unplanned child is not abused, there is a high probability that the baby will be born into poverty, which can be equally as detrimental to themselves and society. Well, here comes the crime and poverty argument. Because we’re talking about women who could not afford an abortion, it is assumed that the child is being born into poverty. Poverty can lead to high levels of stress that may lead individuals to commit theft, robbery or other violent acts. Studies show that a one percent increase in the population below poverty level leads to an increase of about 135 total crimes and about 25 violent crimes. So the more children born under the poverty line, the higher the crime rates.
While education has declined during the recession, most states have increased prison spending. Now the U.S. spends six times more on incarceration than education. The U.S. government spends $70 billion dollars a year on incarceration, youth detention and parole. Crime is obviously committed across the entire socio-economic spectrum. But child abuse statistics as well as studies of the connection between poverty and crime show that public funding for abortions in all types of situations pays off in the long run.
So next time you find yourself complaining about tax dollars going to abortions, don’t only think about the money saved but the American lives protected from the aborted pregnancies.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Abbi Cook at Abbigale.firstname.lastname@example.org.