I brushed upon the topic of abortion in Is The United States Falling Apart, but it’s a topic deserving of its own post, not mixed into a political debate. To put it bluntly, I dislike the term “pro-life” because, for many, the discussion stops at birth, when a legal life begins for that child. They are issued a social security number and have an official birthday. Now, this is not a debate about when life begins. I am not a doctor, nor any form of a medical professional. What I also am not, is a woman carrying a child, or even capable of giving birth. So why should my opinion help shape the rights of something that is not reflecting my body directly? The answer is it shouldn’t.
If you are against abortions but do not support making sure everyone has access to health care, education, a livable wage, or any other benefits that will help children once born, you aren’t pro-life; you’re only anti-abortion. If you fight to make sure a child is born, but not taken care of, it’s a selfish act. If you can sleep better at night only knowing that child is born, but not being taken care of, what kind of version of life is that? I do not want a child growing up in a home that cannot financially support them or end up being bounced around in the foster care system.
From birth until their 18th birthday, the average expenses of raising a child add up to $233,610 for a medium-income household according to the USDA. That divides out to $1081 a month. If a family is currently experiencing financial difficulties, an unplanned pregnancy could easily lead to debt., and parents facing difficult spending choices. When you look at the current number of children living in poverty currently according to PBS, you can’t help but see there is a problem. Banning abortions will not make poverty go away. And if you don’t support raising the minimum wage, then what? Would you suggest adoption?
To find out the statistics, I headed right over to the Adoption Network’s webpage. This is a direct quote from the site: “There are no national statistics on how many people are waiting to adopt, but experts estimate it is somewhere between and two million couples. Every year there are about 1.3 million abortions. Only 4% of women with unwanted pregnancies place their children through adoption.” – Source, Adoption Network. According to the Adoption Network, “the average child waits for an adoptive family for more than three years. 11 percent spend 5 years or more waiting for a family (43,083 children. The average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is 8.”
A final statistic I’d like to bring attention to from the Adoption Network’s site is “on any given day, there are nearly 428,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2015, over 670,000 spent time in the U.S. foster care. Unfortunately, instead of being safely reunited with their families – or moved quickly into adoptive homes – many will languish for years in foster homes or institutions.” The fact is, suggesting adoption in place of an abortion is only sending a child into an already full system. The number of parents wishing to adopt will not change, only the number of children waiting to be adopted will rise.
The numbers alone show the cost of raising a child and show that the adoption system is already filled with children looking for loving homes. So what do I propose as a solution? Instead of trying to prevent abortions, encourage safe sex practices. And, abstinence doesn’t work according to NPR. We need to start educating students about the use of contraception, and show the cost and sacrifices that are made to raise a child. Still, there are situations that can’t be controlled. People make decisions under the influence of alcohol, condoms break, birth control CAN fail, nothing is 100% preventable. Because of that, I have no right to say what happens to a woman’s body.
If you agree or even disagree, please leave a comment or reach out. I don’t mind having a conversation about the topic of abortion that is respectful of each other’s opinion, and wishing to learn more about each other. And please know I don’t think lightly of abortion. It’s the option I consider to be the last resort, but I will never judge anyone for making that decision, especially if my life is not personally affected by it. So please, spread less hate about the topic of abortion, and instead, preach education about safe sex, encourage adoption of children already in the system, and fight for financial and health equality across the board. After reading the statistics, ask yourself: what does pro-life mean to you?