Researchers at the non-profit Guttmacher Institute are trying to figure out why (and, of course, what they might be able to do about) a recent rise in abortion rates among the poor.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a recent study shows a 60% increase (from 27% to 42%) in less financially solvent women having abortions in 2000 through 2008.
The study, based on an analysis of a nationally representative survey of women obtaining abortions in the United States, also found that in 2008: 58 percent of all abortion patients were in their 20s; 45 percent were never married and not living with a partner; 61 percent were already mothers; 42 percent were living below the federal poverty line; 36 percent were white; 59 percent had at least some college education; and 73 percent had some religious affiliation.
Scary numbers! First, the huge number of twentysomethings choosing to abort shows that sex education in America needs to be stepped up a notch or twenty-eight. 58% (yes, that’s fifty-eight percent) means that the consequences of sexual activity have not been effectively demonstrated to this group. Period. A comprehensive program that talks about all ramifications of being sexually active needs to be implemented, like, yesterday. Maybe then, these women will not
be in Bristol Palin’s shoes be in the position of having to make a life-altering decision in their twenties.
And how about the fact that 61% of these women were already mothers? I mean, come on, educate! Pretending that teaching abstinence-only works is just not good enough anymore. Anyone else notice the ultimate irony here? 73% identified themselves as religious enough to respond affirmatively in a survey. That means that many if not most will feel some sort of dissociation in terms of their religion, never mind the well-documented emotional and physical trauma of the abortion itself.
HHS suggests the following as factors to explain this horrific phenomenon:
• The proportion of women in the overall U.S. population who are poor increased 25 percent between 2000 and 2008.
• Recession-related financial worries make more women want to delay having children or limit the number of children.
• Sliding fee scales and charitable financial help have made abortion more accessible for poor and low-income women.
Yeah, the economy’s become a convenient excuse for everything. Sorry if that sounds flip, but it’s true. If you want to put off having children or limit the number of kiddos you have, either don’t have sex or use birth control. I mean, if sliding-scale medical assistance allows more people to afford abortions, surely those same places provide birth control at a reduced cost.
I was pretty worked up about this whole article, if you couldn’t tell, but what resonated most with me was:
The researchers also found that women who were in their 20s, cohabiting (living together as a couple without being married), black or poor were overrepresented among abortion patients.
I mean, this is not about political positions on abortion. Like it or not, it’s a legal medical procedure in the United States, and I’m not trying to stir up a pro-life/pro-choice debate (although one of these days I’ll launch into the idiocy of referring to anti-abortion folk as pro-life … find me someone who identifies as pro-choice that’s ANTI-life and waltzes around encouraging girls to get pregnant for the sole purpose of aborting). No, the issue as far as I’m concerned is the lack of education provided to an evidently very large demographic that would lower the troubling statistics.
Do you see where I’m coming from here?
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