Why Do Women Abort?

Some have argued that President Obama will, in spite of his radical support for abortion rights, actually help reduce abortions by addressing factors that cause women to choose abortion in the first place.  These factors are all tied to economics: poverty, lack of affordable daycare, etc. 

As I have said before, this is a puzzling argument to me.  President Obama favors using federal tax dollars to pay for abortions for those who cannot afford them.  According to that logic, poverty actually prevents abortions by preventing women from being able to pay for them.  And yet, abortion is part of the total nexus of the “right” to healthcare that President Obama espouses, leading him to believe that my money should be confiscated to pay for this procedure to be done for those who otherwise would not have access to it. 

So which is it?  Does poverty cause abortions, or should we use public funds to pay for abortions precisely because poverty prevents them from happening?  Pro-life Obama supporters say one thing, and Obama says another, and yet that did not prevent Obama from riding at least part of the pro-life vote to victory on the false notion that he would reduce poverty and thereby reduce abortions. 

A new study further illuminates the falsehood of the premise that poverty causes abortions.  According to results published by Life News, the most important factor that leads a woman to choose to have an abortion is not her financial situation but her perception of the level of support that the child’s father will provide in raising the child (by “support” I refer to the father’s involvement in the life of the child, which goes well beyond financial considerations).  This factor in turn is very closely related to whether or not the mother and father of the child are married.  If they are married, the chances of the woman choosing to have an abortion drop dramatically.  It is no coincidence that in the African American community, where out-of-wedlock pregnancies by far outnumber pregnancies within marriage, the rate of abortion is entirely out of proportion with the percentage of the African American population in this country.  As Abort73.com has written, “abortion has thinned the black community in ways the Ku Klux Klan could have only dreamed of.” 

If President Obama wants to reduce the number of abortions that occur apart from legislation that restricts abortion, he needs to reform those aspects of public policy that have led to the weakening of marriage and the breakdown of the family.  This would involve welfare policy, income tax policy, divorce laws, and the protection of heterosexual marriage as the law of the land.  One thing that Obama did on the campaign trail that I really appreciated was issue a call to fathers to be men of responsibility.  He himself has modeled that as a successful African American man who has been a faithful husband and father.  Ultimately, this is where real change must happen, and this is where the government is very limited.  Government has the ability to cause great damage to the family, as Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” has done, but now that the damage has been done, government is very limited in what it can do to repair the damage.  Local communities, churches, families, and individuals must be the leaders of this kind of change.  President Obama and the big government he proposes cannot be a surrogate father for the millions of children who might be aborted in the coming years.  Big government, even if it could reduce poverty (which it can’t), still would have little effect on the abortion rate.


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