Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Who Knew Funding Abortions Was So Easy?

Last Thursday, an article was published on Slate, “Fetal Extraction: Could a private abortion fund save health care reform?” I found a number of things in this article repugnant, and was so angry I couldn’t even put it into words. Now I would like to.

This first thing that pisses me off was this comment, “Abortions, at an average of $413 a pop, are cheap.” First, if you’re lucky enough to find out you have an unwanted pregnancy under 12 weeks, you may be able to get it for around $400. However, they typically increase in price about $100-$150 each week after that (maybe more, maybe less – it really depends on your clinic). Second, that’s cheap? If you are like many women seeking an abortion, you may have recently lost your job, be on food stamps, have kids, living paycheck to paycheck. If you have a couple of weeks to get $400-$500 together (if you’re under about 12 weeks), that’s not cheap. Then there are those women and girls who find out later in their pregnancy, and the price is anywhere form $500-$2000+. If you’re comparing it to a complicated medical procedure that required hospitalization (like she does in this article), then yes, it will cost a lot less. I would still never say it’s “cheap”. If it were so cheap, we wouldn’t need abortion funds.

Then the author says this, “It wouldn't be much of a stretch for a nonprofit organization with deep-pocketed donors to cover the cost of abortions for America's low-income women.” Excuse me? Now, I don’t know much about what it takes to operate an abortion fund, but I think anyone who does anything in the abortion world knows what a ridiculous statement this is. There’s a reason why there are small abortion funds throughout the country, strapped for cash, doing their best to help women get abortions about $50 at a time. If you doubt this please, go visit the website for the National Network of Abortion Funds.

In this article she estimates the amount of money needed to fund abortions for low income women (in her words “those at or below 200 percent of the poverty line”). She estimates (remember she thinks all abortions cost around $413) a private abortion fund would need “just $311 million per year”. Just? JUST? I’m sorry, but that seems like a lot of money to me. “Could private funders cover that cost? Absolutely.” Really, is that true NNAF? If that’s true, where are all of these private donors with their millions of dollars? The women I talk to would love to speak to them. Seriously. She goes on to say that over $1 billion is donated to reproductive health charities. What she fails to look into is where that money goes. There’s a big difference between funding an organization that advocates for reproductive health, and one that actually funds abortions. There’s a reason why rich people/rich orgs or companies have the money they do. Funding abortions, openly or privately for that matter, would seriously hurt them. Think of the massive boycotts and how much money they could potentially lose. Rich people/orgs/companies, did not get so much money being stupid.

She also says that “supporters of health care reform” would be willing to help fund abortions. Does she have facts to back this up? Once again, WHERE ARE THESE PEOPLE? GIVE ME THEIR PHONE NUMBERS!!!!

“Better yet, progressives could reduce the abortion fund's costs through family planning.” She says these “progressives” (I think it’s pretty clear by now that she wouldn’t identify herself in this group) believe that contraception is the best way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Sure. There are hormone supplements, if you’re into that kind of thing. Condoms, if you’re into that kind of thing. There are some options, if you can afford it. However, the problem is that “conservatives” tend to frown upon contraceptives and the public funding of them. Extra- and pre-marital sex is frowned upon by these conservatives, so they really tend to be opposed to funding anything other than abstinence. And I think we all know how effective that is.

“If the family-planning and sex-education programs these pro-choicers support through legislation don't work, the money for the resulting abortions will come out of their own pockets.” Excuse me? Can we properly fund comprehensive sex education and abolish abstinence-only? Also, can we PLEASE STOP DEMONIZING ABORTION? There are women who have a hard time with this decision, they feel bad – like they’ve done or are doing something wrong. Is this because abortion is wrong or because society has decided it’s so and forced people to look at abortion this way? I think it’s the latter, thank you.

The point of this awful article is that she thinks that if progressives give up having abortions funded through a public health care system, that this public option might go somewhere. She thinks that conservatives care so much about abortion that they’d give up other important things, like higher taxes and bigger government. Even if we gave up having abortions funded (which quite frankly we shouldn’t have to), a public health care plan is a long way off – if it ever actually happens. This article was clearly written by someone with means, someone who didn’t grow up having to think how to get $400+ together quickly. She clearly doesn’t work with low-income women. She is lucky. She has a choice and she can exercise it.

If she knows of all these people with all the money to fund private abortion funds, can she have them all contact NNAF? Thanks.


  1. Nice.

    I don't hate this, though. It's clear that her heart is in the right place, and frankly, I'm also an advocate for the pro-choice movement to go it alone and put an end to this bipartisan farce that health care reform is turning into. This is obviously a person who has never worked in abortion services, and has lofty ideas (so lofty) about what it would take to make a private abortion dealie happen. But like the author, I have NO interest in finding common ground on an public abortion option; ain't gonna happen.

  2. It is never a good idea to expect non-profits or charities to be the primary source of funding for anything that people need--health care services, food, etc.

    There are many things my taxes go toward that I disapprove of--the war, for example--but that doesn't mean I say, "Oh, supporters of the war will certainly be able to foot the bill." That is just ridiculous.

    Also, since many non-profits receive government funding for programs, changes would have to be made in US legislation to allow this money to subsidize abortion. Or, is she expecting individual donors to pay for abortions? Again, ridiculous.

  3. P.S. I also think there might be something to this in that if a private fund did exist through which every woman could have an abortion (assuming that the fund amassed to meet the demand), then we wouldn't really need to be paying more than minimum cost. Women wouldn't need to deny that they've been missing periods because they're too scared to confront reality, or they wouldn't have to wait past 12 weeks trying to raise that $413. There are, of course, many exceptions to that, but also consider that the vast majority of abortion procedures are first tri anyway (a fact that pro-choicers stick by adamantly).

  4. I am so happy that you wrote this so that I didn't have to. seriously headexplosion.gif moment right there.


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