More women are seeking abortions
In the wake of President Obama's Notre Dame speech and last week's Gallup poll about Americans' views on abortion, many abortion clinics are reporting record numbers of abortions. An article in the LA Times links these numbers to the recession, saying that clinics are also reporting that more women are postponing pregnancy and switching to long-term contraceptives, lasting 5 - 10 years.
And these aren't single women who don't want to be saddled with a baby and just neglected to use contraceptives. Destiny Lopez, the director of the Oakland-based ACCESS, said, "We are seeing women who have children, who in another economy would probably have their second or third child, but now can't because they feel so insecure about maintaining their job or losing a job...Women are really having to make thoughtful decisions whether now is the right time to get pregnant or not."
In the article, Kimi Yoshino highlights the ways that the recession is also making it very difficult for some of these women to pay for abortions. In some cases, as women scrambled to get money together, they found that by the time their insurance had come through, they were too personally opposed to the idea of a second-trimester abortion, when they had planned to have the abortion in the first trimester. And some clinics are likewise being drained by the recession. The Women's Choice Clinic, one of Oakland's oldest feminist abortion clinics, closed its doors recently because it couldn't cover its bills.
The bottom line, though, is that women are having to think much harder about whether they can afford to have a child - in the article, Yoshino reports, "A recent Gallup Organization survey conducted for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reported that nearly one in 10 married woman indicated that the economy was a factor in their decision to postpone a planned pregnancy. That same survey found that one in five women is more concerned about having an unintended pregnancy than a year ago and about one in five women is more conscientious about using birth control."
There are clearly some very tragic stories out there, and the lesson is that we need to be funding early abortions and birth control much better than we are now, as well as providing resources for long-term contraceptives. If women are aware of these options, perhaps they won't have to seek an abortion, or have to make the agonizing choice to have a second-trimester abortion. And, as always, better health insurance would make these decisions much easier for all of these women, who are suffering through an incredibly difficult process.