Newsflash: Access to Abortion Is an Economic Issue
By Planned Parenthood Action Fund | Nov. 7, 2022, 5:47 p.m.
Category: Abortion Access
During the midterm election cycle, news outlets have pushed candidates to focus on the economic issues voters face — and to sideline talk of abortion. But here’s the thing: abortion is an economic issue — one with grave stakes for pregnant people and their families.
Asking voters to “choose” between the economy and abortion is wrongheaded. People don’t lead single-issue lives. Reproductive freedom is inextricably tied to our economic freedom — and no one should be forced to choose between the two
Strict Bans, Flimsy Social Safety Nets
States with the harshest abortion bans are led by politicians who have also done little to help people who cannot afford postpartum and neonatal medical care. States with total or near-total abortion bans — such as Florida, Georgia, and Texas — continue to reject funds from the federal government to expand access to health coverage through Medicaid for people with low incomes. Other states with bans, like Mississippi, also refuse to extend Medicaid health coverage to benefit pregnant people for a full year after childbirth.
The pattern is no coincidence. In states governed by anti-abortion rights politicians, who ironically call themselves "pro-life," even basic social services for new parents and young children go unprovided. The majority of states with bans either in place or that will likely soon have one, according to the New York Times, “have turned down the yearlong Medicaid postpartum extension. Nine have declined the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, which provides health care to the poor. None offer new parents paid leave from work to care for their newborns.”
Abortions Denied, Incomes — and Families — Harmed
The Turnaway Study — which compared the experiences of a thousand people who had received or been denied abortions — discovered that carrying an unwanted pregnancy quadruples the odds that the family will live below the poverty line and triples the chance the pregnant person will end up unemployed. And when a person is denied an abortion, the children they already have displayed worse child development than the children of people who got the abortions they sought, the study showed.
Years after being denied an abortion, people were more likely to struggle to afford basic living expenses like food, housing, and transportation. Being denied an abortion also affected people’s credit scores and debt, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research — and even increased the rate of bankruptcies and evictions.
The Bottom Line
Asking voters to “choose” between the economy and abortion sets up a false choice — and poses the wrong question. Forcing people to have children forces them to take on additional financial responsibilities. When people are denied the freedom to access abortion or birth control, they’re denied the freedom to decide their own futures. Robbing people of this freedom has huge costs.
Tags: abortion access