A new study puts another face on women’s reproductive decision-making during an economic downturn. It indicates that low-income women increasingly are being forced to “choose” abortions out of economic need.
Condicted by independent researcher Robin H. Pugh Yi, Ph.D., president of Akeso Consulting in Vienna, Virginia, the study is called Abortionomics: When Choice Is a Necessity, The Impact of Recession on Abortion. The analysis was commissioned by Merle Hoffman, founder and president of Choices Women’s Medical Center, after hearing anecdotal information from abortion patients that today’s economic hardships were a large factor in women’s decisions to have abortions. The findings were presented by Hoffman and Pugh Yi at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Jan. 17, 2011.
On one hand, it seems obvious: When the economy dips, it’s harder for people to raise a family. But this living reality, borne out in the report’s data, remains outside today’s heated political debates about abortion and birth control. As a result, too many politicians seem oblivious to the consequences of unwanted pregnancies and, when carried to term, the resulting births that impose difficult, if not impossible, financial burdens on already strapped mothers and families.
Follow-Up to Reagan-Era Report
The new report is actually a follow-up to a 1980s study undertaken by Hoffman and Choices in partnership with Adelphi University. Hoffman titled it “Abortionomics” because it showed that high numbers of women who were having abortions did so because they couldn’t afford not to. In addition, more than half of those responding to the earlier survey said they would do “whatever it took” to have an abortion, even if abortion were illegal. The stark conclusion is that they were willing to risk their very lives to have unsafe abortions if that were the only option, a risk that many women have been forced to make when abortion is illegal or inaccessible.
The newly-released report, some 30 years later, shows similar economic concerns driving the reproductive decisions of women, men and families today. (Entire report available, here.)
The current research pointed to three key findings.