Pro-choice or Pro-life: There Are Consequences To Both

Pro-choice or Pro-life: There Are Consequences To Both

By: Amanda Fox

Pro-choice, Pro-life or Pro-birth – which are you? Don’t worry about answering, it’s a rhetorical question, but one that we do need to discuss one more time. No matter what group you fall into, you have made a choice. You’ve chosen the manner in which you view one of the most delicate subjects a woman may ever have to deal with. Today, we’re going to take a bit of a journey. We’ll talk about what each group believes. We’ll talk about the consequences of the choice of being Pro-life, because yes – it is a choice. You might find what is said to be inflammatory. You might not like the scenarios that are depicted, but you will THINK and that is what we are aiming for.

A Pro-choice advocate believes that a woman should be able to obtain an abortion within the parameters of the current law as defined under Roe v. Wade for whatever reason she deems necessary without the need to legitimize it.

A Pro-life advocate can come in many different flavors, but they generally live by the mantra that abortion is murder. They can be in favor of all fertilized eggs being carried to term or just some. They may deem that it is okay to have an abortion if the mother’s life is at risk. They may decide it is okay to have an abortion in cases of rape or incest. Why they view an abortion as a murder in some cases and not others is a bit of a mystery.

Pro-birth advocates just want to see all fertilized eggs carried to term and delivered regardless of any external situations. Some people call this a made up demographic, but unlike traditional Pro-life advocates all they care about is the rights of the fetus – once it is born … that’s the mother’s problem.

Most Pro-life/Pro-birth advocates will trot out 1 of 3 staple statements when confronted in a debate over abortion.
1. If someone isn’t ready to have a baby, don’t have sex. Normally they won’t mention using birth control because many are against that as well.
2. If they don’t want the baby, place it for adoption.
3. If you have a baby, it’s your responsibility to raise it. End of story.

Each has a glaring flaw that makes them impractical. People will not stop having sex. No Birth control method is guaranteed 100% effective. Unplanned pregnancies do happen even when people take precautions. Placing children for adoption is not a viable option for reasons that will be outlined below. Just because you can have a baby doesn’t mean you should raise a child. In fact, it can be cruel for both parent and child in some cases.

Of all the Pro-life literature and people that were spoken to preparing this column, most are big advocates of adoption in cases where the mother does not want the child rather than granting abortions. Let’s remove all emotion from this and take a look at the situation from a logical numbers perspective people can easily relate to.

In the US, the number of children that are adopted each year is about 125,000 – 150,000. The number  awaiting a home that are not up for adoption or are under some form of government care each year ranges around 400,000. That is everyone from newborns to kids a day under 18 about to be turned out of the system. We have a backlog of children awaiting adoption right now as we speak.

Political affiliation v. view on abortion

If abortion were limited to the confines of the Romney/Ryan plan that would only allow abortions in cases of rape, incest or if the mother is at risk, the entire system of adoptions, foster care and government and non-government subsidized group homes would crash. This is not some kind of tactic to create a false panic – this is demonstrable by numbers. The crash would occur because the influx of children would be fast and immense. In order to be as fair as possible, we will skew our numbers to be generous to the Pro-life side of the equation.

The current number of abortions in the US for 2012 stands at about 975,000 and growing as of 10/12/12, up from around 875,000 in 2011. Lets say that the total for 2012 will be 1 million to make the numbers very easy to work with. Less than 1% of all abortions in the US are declared as being due to rape or incest according to the CDC. Let’s boost that number anyway and say it is 15,000. Let’s be very generous and say that the number of abortions due to the mother’s health is 5% rather than the 3% the CDC reports – that’s only another 50,000 making the total amount of “legitimate” abortions under the Romney/Ryan ideal about 65,000. That means that there would be 935,000 more newborns entering the population than would be present under the current Pro-choice laws in force.

Here’s the math rounded off IF abortion was amended to reflect the Romney/Ryan ideal:
400,000 children currently awaiting adoption, foster home placement or in some form of group home type facility.
935,000 children newly added children awaiting adoption, foster care or group home placement each year.
77,900 new children entering the system each month on average – the normal average is about 48,000/month.
That creates a need to care for some 65,000 new children entering the system each month for an overall total of 113,000/month.

Denver Orphans Home (Photo by: Jeffrey Beall)

Using the “adoption” solution simply does not work. We already have a demonstrated glut of children awaiting adoption so we cannot assume that adding more children to the pool will increase adoptions just because we would ideally like that. Over the course of a single year, the numbers don’t look too bad – but remember that each child that isn’t adopted ends up going into foster care of some sort of group care facility. Over 18 years, which is how long it would take for a newborn to age out of the system, that is a bout 16,830,000 kids stuck in the system once critical mass is hit – so long as the birth rate remains fairly constant.

By logic, if we establish we cannot get the children currently awaiting homes in homes, we have to draw the conclusion that the additional 935,000 children born each year wouldn’t be placed in homes either. There is no evidence that shows the trend in adoptions would shift so drastically. Outlawing foreign adoptions might place 20,000  kids in homes and opening up adoptions to gays might place another 20,000 or so annually, but it is unlikely the GOP would go that route. While placing 40,000 more kids is great, that still leaves 895,000 children without a home because abortion was taken off the table. Let’s assume 200,000 mothers/fathers/family members decide to keep their kids once they are born – that is still 695,000 extra kids in the system.

According to the North American Council of Adoptable Children, the cost of care breaks down like this:
“The Child Welfare League of America, Inc. estimates that the average cost of institutional child care is $36,500 per child per year. One child in basic family foster care costs the system only $4,500 per year. Specialized, treatment foster care costs $12,000 per child per year. Adoption assistance costs between $2,880 and $12,000 per child per year.”

Let’s go out on a limb and say that the rates never change and that the foster care system can be immediately increased to accommodate a 50% increase which is highly doubtful. That would absorb about 200,000 of those 695,000 newborns at an annual cost of $3,127,500,000. What about the other 495,000 kids that have to go into some sort of institutional care? That’s an extra $18,067,500,000. That’s  total of $21,195,000,000 each year. Over the 18 year lifespan of those children the cost would be $381,510,000,000.

That doesn’t take into account the increased cost of special needs children or the fact that there would be a need for more institutional care facilities being built almost non-stop for 18 years and maintained and staffed as well as the extra money going out to medicare, food stamps, and WIC for children under 5 which makes the total bill unfathomable. Lot’s of new jobs you say? Sure! And every last one paid for out of taxes that already don’t cover our government spending.

How do we pay for all those “Pro-life births”? How about we get as crazy with our ideas as the notion of doing away with the right to have an abortion on demand. Let’s have everyone vote on the issue – in the open in front of 3 witnesses. If you are that determined that Pro-life is that important, you can foot the bill – not all tax payers – just those that demand all children (excluding rape, incest and cases of the mother’s health of course) be born. Just like the military draft, every few months they break out the lottery and if your number comes up you get to pay for a child that would have been otherwise aborted. For 18 years. Or you can adopt the child – your call. The government can be generous and absorb the pre-natal care. Everything else is on you though because you wanted that child born that much.

Under those circumstances, it’s likely a lot of people would start voting Pro-choice. Unfair? Standing by and applying your  personal moral convictions comes at a cost sometimes and it is no more unfair than creating an environment in which a woman is forced to deliver a child they do not want and/or cannot support. Of course this all just speculating for the sake of speculating, but it is done to demonstrate a very valid and timely point.

If you want to be Pro-life that is perfectly fine, but you have to remember that once that fetus is born it is a human being and it needs to be cared for. These fetuses that would be born only because abortion was not an option would not all be adopted, kept by their mother/father or some other family member. Most would enter the system and that means that there would need to be an tremendous increase in government to cover the care of all these children. You can’t be Pro-life and not care about the fetus once it is delivered – that is what pro-birth is and it is wrong.

If all life is sacred and you believe that strongly enough to go along with the Romney/Ryan Pro-life stance being enacted, you need to care enough to be willing to do your part to ensure every single one of those children is afforded the best life possible until they age out of the system. Anything less is hypocritical, callous and shameful.

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  1. I also remember Roe vs. Wade. I however have a different feeling about it. I also remember as a young married woman thinking that I might be pregnant but it did not fit in to my life scheme so just figured I would have an abortion. Thank God I was not pregnant. I have friends who have had abortions and now deal with extreme guilt.

    I have since accepted Jesus as my personal savior and that changed everything. I now believe in the sanctity of life and I believe that life begins at conception. Part of that changed when I became a Christian but another part changed even before that when I felt my babies at 10 weeks or earlier. It was like a little butterfly but they were alive. I don’t understand why some babies are born with handicaps but I just don’t think we are the ones who should make their life and death decision. Yes I think abortion is baby killing. I would use Tim Tivo as an example. His Mom was told to abort him because there was something wrong with him.

    God knit us together in our Mother’s womb Psalm 139.

    • AmandaFox says:

      Thank you for sharing that Michelle, but here is the question to you which was asked throughout the column – if all these fetuses that would have otherwise been aborted are born – what are YOU personally going to do about it? How many are YOU going to adopt or financially support on your own that never find a home? In a perfect world, every single fetus would be born, but this is not a perfect world. So I ask again – How many are YOU personally going to take full responsibility for raising and/or financially supporting if laws were enacted that restricted abortion to the Romney/Ryan ideal? I respect your religious beliefs and moral convictions, but when push comes to shove, are you willing to stand by them by adopting kids that would have been aborted or footing the bill for their care for 18 years since you advocate for them to be born against the wishes of the mother? That is the question that has been posed, not whether you think abortion is right or wrong, not whether you personally would have an abortion and not what any faith system says about abortion. I look forward to your response.

  2. Tracy says:

    I’m interested in hearing the response as well… with an open mind.

  3. Brandon says:

    I’m Pro-Life as well, do I have an answer for who is going to support them all…no. I can tell you that I have personally adopted, well, in the process of adopting twin girls that couldn’t be taken care of…I AM trying to do my part.

    They key here is NOT what will Marchel do because she believes in the sanctity of life…it is who is going to hold those guilty for conceiving children that aren’t wanted or when it’s not possible for them to take care of them? THAT should be a CRIME! It’s certainly is not the babies fault!

    I am honestly split, I understand the women who vote pro-choice…I really do…hey, if I want to do something to my body…yea, I get it. But also firmly believe that a fetus if a life and to kill it is murder. So, while you present an awesome article with great numbers and a great argument…who’s going to foot the bill…I don’t know, I’m trying to do my part and I know not everyone will. I also know that just b/c I’m pro-life shouldn’t mean I should have to, it should mean that the irresponsible people having babies “by accident” should be held responsible and most of them can’t afford it.

    There is so much more to it than that though, the whole system is so messed up that if it were fixed it would certainly allot more money to go toward helping people than the flagrant wasting of money as it stands now. I’m all for helping people that need help, but our current system is broken…

    In conclusion…let me just say I was very impressed with your post, it was very informative and defiantly gives food for thought…

    • Tracy says:

      I have a question Brandon… what if the “accident” was from a rape? Is it still considered a crime on behalf of the Mother? I, like you, are split… but in the opposite. I understand Pro-Life, I get it, I truly do, but I think when you take a hard look at it, we’re ALL Pro-Life but every situation is different and we can’t force someone into a situation that is not OUR business. It is their choice.

    • AmandaFox says:

      Brandon, I am glad you do see the point we are trying to get people to think about even if we are not in full agreement – and as an adoptee myself, thank you for helping providing a home for those in need. Personally, I don’t believe anyone is “pro-abortion” but I do believe the choice needs to be there. If we knew there would be a home for all children that are born, things would be considerably different in many minds, I think. But as you said, the system is broken. It doesn’t work and it hasn’t for some time with little on the horizon that lends itself toward it looking any better than it is. People have abortions for many reasons, and irresponsibility is true in some cases, but certainly not all by a long shot. Should we have bring more children into a broken system that doesn’t work? I’m split on that myself, but having been in the system my own belief is it is far from ideal and works out well for very few.

      Unwanted births are a fact of life. For many of the people you might characterize as being irresponsible, consider for a second that abortion may very well be the very responsible thing for them to do. We ask, “What are you going to do” even pointedly, because we really want to know. It is one thing for an individual to live by their own beliefs, but when we impose our beliefs on another, as is the reality of what would happen IF pro-life legislation moves much more forward than it has, is it right to expect people to live by what breaks down to beliefs that come predominantly from their religion? We get it is one heck of a very touchy mess to try to sort out. What we aimed for, as stated above, was to make people stop and think – what if? Is this the path we really want to go down? Is this a path we can afford to go down? Is this really in the best interest of those children we would demand be born? We all have a different perspective on it, none more valid or right or wrong than the other which is a big reason choice appeals to so many.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment thoughtfully. We’re not here to impose our beliefs or try to change your mind, but we are here to create a dialog and find out what people really think and why. Thanks for taking part.

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