Abortion Promotes Poverty?


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"Back alleys no more, abortion rights for rich and poor."

This popular chant of abortion proponents expresses a common theme: Poor women should be afforded equal access to abortion, and any restrictions of such funding is a direct result of a lack of concern for the poor members of society. Women are denied a "right," based on their economic class.

Abortion doesnít eliminate poverty, however, it merely eliminates the poor.

Poverty is an institution in our country. Itís very existence is both tolerated and condemned at the same time by abortion supporters, because instead of solving the real problems of poverty, they seek to pacify any obligation to the poor by providing them with abortions. If we argue that an impoverished woman canít afford to have a child because she does not have adequate housing, food, or clothing, should we not provide her with these instead? How does an abortion solve her need for shelter? Obviously, it does not. If we eliminate her need for abortion, however, we also eliminate the "need" for public funding of abortion clinics, and the millions of dollars that these clinics receive because of the poor.

Abortion activists argue that abortion is necessary to improve the socio-economic status of these women, but its effects do just the opposite. Thomas Strahan, a researcher with the Association of Interdisciplinary Research, recently reviewed over 26 studies relating to abortion's impact on the socio-economic status of women. These studies show the following:

    • - Women who have had abortions are at greater risk of suffering emotional and psychological problems which may interfere with their ability to concentrate, make decisions, and interact with others, thereby reducing their level of job skills and employment opportunities.

    • - Post-abortion women are more likely to engage in drug and alcohol abuse, often as a means of "numbing" negative feelings stemming from the abortion. This will in turn effect their ability to function in the workplace and may inhibit their ability to enter into meaningful relationships.

    • - Women who have had abortions are more likely to become pregnant again and undergo additional abortions. Nearly 50% of all abortions are repeat abortions. These repeat abortions do not represent "satisfied customers." Instead, post-abortion women often seek replacement pregnancies to make up for the aborted child, but find themselves faced with the same social pressures which led to the first abortion. There is also evidence that some women undergo repeat abortions as an act of "self-punishment" or as attempt to "harden" themselves to negative feelings stemming from their first abortion.

    • - Compared to their peers, teenagers who have had one abortion are 4 times more likely to have a subsequent abortion. Almost 20% of teen aborters have a second abortion within a year, and 38% have a second abortion within 5 years.

    • - Women who have had abortions are more likely to subsequently require welfare assistance, and the odds of going on welfare increase with each subsequent abortion.

    • - Women who have repeat abortions tend to have an increasing number of health problems and greater personality disintegration, which increases the likelihood of their needing public assistance.

    • - Post-abortion women have greater difficulty establishing permanent relationships with a male partner. They are more likely to never marry, more likely to divorce, and more likely to go through a long string of "unsuccessful" relationships. This inability to form a "nuclear family" reduces household income and increases the probability that the woman and her children will require public assistance.

    • - Women who have had repeat abortions are more likely to desire children and are likely to carry one or more subsequent "replacement" pregnancies to term. This means that many repeat aborters end up becoming unmarried mothers, the very fate they tried to avoid when they had their first abortion. Only now, they also have to deal with post-abortion psychological and emotional scars.

As a Church deeply committed to defend both the poor and the unborn, may we teach our people the connection between the two.

(For more info, visit www.afterabortion.org. Staff Outreach Assistant Jenn Morson contributed to this article from the Priests for Life newsletter.)