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(Part 1 of 2)
Abortion is the only topic more controversial than politics and religion, perhaps because it involves both. Sarah Palin is a staunch supporter of the right-to-life movement. She is not supportive of abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger. Even in the case of rape or incest, Palin opposes abortion. As early as her race in 1996 for Mayor of Wasilla, Palin made abortion a part of her campaign. Until that time the race for the position as Mayor had been compared to a friendly intramural contest among neighbors. Even if you didn’t know who Sarah Palin was before the night of the Republican Convention, as of that evening Palin made sure everyone watching would know that she had a special needs child. Trig has become a constant reminder of Palin’s position on abortion.
Palin often gives speeches, for which she is, paid $100,000, and in which she suggests that abortion should not be a choice. In those same speeches Palin has advocated the importance of balancing the budget; she has opposed Obama’s health care initiative, referring to it as “Obamacare”and “nonsensical”. Thus people pay Sarah Palin $100,000 to tell us that we should insist on balancing the budget that we should oppose virtually all forms of abortion, and that health care should not be provided as a service to those citizens in need of it. As Palin gets wealthier, our country goes further in debt. For a minute, disregard the philosophical issues of abortion, and simply consider just how unrealistic it would be to prohibit abortion, balance the budget, and limit the cost of health care.
First consider the cost of an abortion compared to the cost of delivery. In Dallas, Texas, the cost of a routine abortion is less than $500.00. A normal vaginal uncomplicated delivery costs $5,000-$8,000.
The cost of raising a child only to 18 years old, EXCLUDING college, is between $125,000 and $250,000.
In 1976 Congress passed the Hyde Amendment which excludes abortion from the comprehensive health services provided through Medicaid. Under the new health care law recently passed, federal funds are only available in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
In 2006 there were 4.3 million child-birth related hospitalizations of women costing an estimated $14.8 billion in hospital costs. Forty-two percent of the costs associated with maternal-childbirth related hospital stays ($6.3 billion) were billed to Medicaid.
Approximately half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. When considering the cost of having an unwanted child it is essential to consider the cost to society during the child’s lifetime. Additional considerations should include:
Women who gave birth as teenagers make up nearly half of the welfare caseload. This group of women is less likely to have high school diplomas, and they are more likely to have larger families. Both of these characteristics increase the likelihood of being among the poorest welfare recipients.
The strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison was that the criminal was raised by a single parent.
The five states, New York, California, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii which embraced a woman’s right to an abortion for two years before Roe v. Wade, realized an earlier 13% drop in their crime rates than the rest of the nation (Dubner and Levitt 141).
The states with the highest abortion rates in the 1970’s experienced the highest crime drop in the 1990’s (141).
In the 1990’s there was a clear downward trend in the numbers of teen pregnancies. The trend has now reversed, and 7% of teen girls got pregnant in 2006, which is an increase from 2005. Given these incontrovertible statistics, we know that more teenage girls are getting pregnant, and the mothers and their children present an increasing financial burden on the U.S. economy. This burden includes not only the cost of the delivery of the baby, welfare, Medicare, education, criminal court costs, but also the cost to society of additional crime and the cost of a dramatic increase in the prison population. Given the growing concern over the national debt it would seem that voters would choose either reduction of the national debt or anti-abortion as primary issues, but not both. The two are unquestionably inconsistent. It is clear that when the government gives a woman the opportunity to make her own decision about abortion, she generally does a good job figuring out if she is in a position to raise a baby well (145).
The incontrovertible conclusion must be that the cost to our country of reversing Roe v. Wade would be dramatic. When our politicians or a commentator with Fox News suggests that they are proponents of over turning Roe v. Wade, they are necessarily advocating an increase in governmental expense for entitlements, for prisons, for education, and they are guaranteeing an increase in crime in the United States. That’s a guarantee I don’t want.