Sisterhood Blog

Why Combining Abortion with Austerity Is Wrong

By Sarah Seltzer

  • Print
  • Share Share

For years now at the Sisterhood we’ve been following a series of rollbacks of abortion rights and contraceptive access known as the War on Women. Despite losses at the voting booth and public opinion, far right wing legislators can’t stop and won’t stop pushing laws and regulations that hurt women and threaten providers. Resistance is everywhere: in Texas, 700 citizens staged a people’s filibuster against a last-minute anti-abortion bill, testifying late into the night and verging on large-scale civil disobedience. And yet anti-choice forces remain dogged and determined. Ohio and Wisconsin have also seen new anti-choice legislation and the House of Representatives passed a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks, a big slap in the face to Roe and reproductive rights.

For every bit of bad law that is staved off, more trickles in. And where they’re trickling in, trickle-down economics is also often becoming the law of the land. In a piece about Kansas as the ne plus ultra of new far right red-governed states, Mark Binnelli at Rolling Stone notes that abortion restrictions go hand in hand with economic policies that lead to the removal of safety nets. In Kansas this includes a proposed “radical, deeply regressive tax scheme.”

When free market capitalism runs amok, state services are cut in the name of “austerity,” and abortion services are also cut, you have a recipe for a lot of unplanned pregnancies for women in dire financial straits. And that means both more DIY abortions with the potential for dangerous consequences, as well as more women who simply don’t terminate and are raising children in reduced circumstances.

A study from the Diana Greene Foster with group called ANSIRH, written up a few weeks ago in the New York Times Magazine, looked at outcomes for “turnaways,” women who are denied abortions because they’ve come to the clinic too late. While psychologically most women do adjust to motherhood and their children, the health and economic consequences they face are undoubtedly worse.

Adjusting for any previous differences between the two groups, women denied abortion were three times as likely to end up below the federal poverty line two years later. Having a child is expensive, and many mothers have trouble holding down a job while caring for an infant. Had the turnaways not had access to public assistance for women with newborns, Foster says, they would have experienced greater hardship.

The thing is that the same groups who are trying to outlaw abortions, like the Kansas folks, and create thousand more “turnaways” also want to cut back on that public assistance. So the combined effect of these two sets of policies is to condemn more and more women, children and families to a cycle of forced pregnancy followed by unaided lives in poverty.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Abortion

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.