Does Poverty Cause Abortion?

Surveys of women who have had abortions reveal that many of them felt they simply "couldn't afford" to have a child. Darwin responds to a Christian blogger who made this argument:

We live in the most wealthy country in the world, with one of the highest abortion rates in the world. Is our problem really that we're not wealthy enough?

Not only the average citizen of our country, but the poor of our country are far, far wealthier than they were 100 years ago. And yet, as we have become wealthier, the institution of the family has collapsed, illegitimacy has become a pandemic in the lower economic reaches of society, divorce has become commonplace, abortion is common -- used by some parts of society as a last resort, and by others almost as backup-birth control. (The stats I've seen on abortion repeat customers are pretty terrifying.)

And yet the problem, we are told, is that our country is still too poor to have a lower abortion rate? The claim is, quite frankly, so ludicrous that it's hard to believe the author even means it seriously. Sadly, though, I think he does. MORE

I agree - the idea is simply laughable. The fact that people take it seriously says a lot about the rampant materialism of Americans. When these women - and the men who impregnate them - say "I can't afford to have a child," what they really mean is "I can't afford to have a child without giving up my life of fun, frolic, and freedom."

Contrast this with of Third World countries where people who have far less than even the poorest Americans continue to view children as a blessing, and do whatever it takes to care for them. For that matter, right here in America we have parents who figure out ways to afford five, ten or more children on a typical middle-class income.

So the question is not really about money; it is a question of priorities. People whose highest priority is their own pleasure naturally regard children as a burden to be avoided. That's why we have DINKs and pampered pooches. Children are, quite literally, the future. If your focus is on the present, it's much easier to flush your future down the drain.

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