Why unintended pregnancies will result in unintended consequences if States continue to enforce Abortion bans.
The hypocrisy surrounding the conservative agenda is revealed with its latest assault on women’s healthcare. Once conservatives gained a super-majority in the supreme court, they overturned Roe Vs. Wade faster than Clarence Thomas pops a $3,500 bottle of wine gifted from a republican doner.
Since the ruling, many States initiated ‘trigger-laws’ which quickly enforced a complete or very restrictive ban on abortions. It should be noted that many of the the States that have enacted a full ban do not have an exception for pregnancies from rape, incest or high risk pregnancies that could result in the death of the mother.
States that ban abortion also tend to have a couple other things in common…like they have the worst low income healthcare.
States that have the worst Low Income Healthcare
And the highest infant mortality rate…
States with the Highest Infant Mortality Rate
And the higher poverty…
Poverty Rate by State
Poverty in the United States: Explore the Map
By placing restrictive abortion laws in States with high infant mortality, high poverty rates and the worst healthcare for lower income families, anti-abortion legislation disproportionately affects the poorest and most disenfranchised people in America. The consequences of removing the right to choose has long-term effects that will only exacerbate the divisions between the “have” and “have not” States and unwittingly creating a society that nobody will want to live in.
Let’s take a deep dive into the short and long term effects of banning abortion:
- More children will be born! This seems to be conservatives biggest sticking point, saving the lives of the unborn child. What they fail to highlight is that once that baby is born, the mother and child is on their own. Raising a wanted child requires economic stability, patience and community and we still make mistakes. What are the outcomes for unwanted children?
They are more likely to be born:
- With malnutrition
- Into poverty
- Low birthweight
- With a higher risk of infant mortality
- With developmental delays
- With preventable disease and/or syndromes
- Addicted to drugs
- With less parental bonding than wanted children
And their mothers are more likely to:
- Be a teenager
- Live in poverty
- Be a smoker
- Be a drug addict
- Be uneducated (without a high-school education)
- Be unwed/single parent
- Be depressed
- Have marital/partner stress
- Die during childbirth
Life is tough enough when all the stars are aligned in your favour, but many unwanted children are forced to deal with the complexities of life without the foundation required to make good choices. Leading to the next point:
- Unwanted children are more likely to have behavioural problems, engage in dangerous activities such as early drug and alcohol use as well as be more likely to break the law. There are outliers, but the odds are stacked up against successful outcomes for unwanted children.
- Unwanted children suffer more abuse and neglect from their biological parents and the foster and adoption system.
Well – this all kind of makes sense doesn’t it?
Let’s fast forward and start to think about what the US looks like after a ban on abortions.
4. In 4+ years Public Schools will become further stratified into “have” and “have not” schools. Lower income neighbourhoods are already stretched for resources, add to that more children in need and the schools may not be able to fund even the bearest of necessities like teachers. Without access to an education, these children will never be able to break out of the cycle of poverty and potentially crime.
5. The social safety net will slowly erode and perhaps collapse
Currently the US’s social safety net is one of the weakest in industrialized nations. Add to it the strain of additional people in need and the safety net system will collapse affecting pensions, healthcare, unemployment insurance, maternity leave, food stamps, affordable housing to name a few.
6. Petty crimes will be on the rise.
Shopping will never be the same. As unwanted children get older, small crimes like shoplifting and pickpocketing will increase. Most products will be held under lock and key. People will either have to identify themselves prior to entry or ask for assistance to retrieve their prized consumer goods. Nipping into the store will become a much more arduous process.
7. Status symbols will be a thing of the past.
Who doesn’t like to discreetly showcase their wealth with well-placed status symbols like a $500 pair of sneakers or a $1,000 purse. For the unwanted child, living in poverty, with poor impulse control and a lack of connection to their community, those symbols mean money, money they desperately need to survive. It will just take a few muggings for people to start to change their behaviour.
8. But it’s not just petty crime, violent crimes will also be on the rise.
A very famous theory cited by Freakanomics highlights the decrease in violent crimes 18 years after Roe vs. Wade was established in various States. So now that Roe vs. Wade has been overturned, we just need to wait 18 years for violence to take a sharp uptick. Add to this that these youngsters will be entering the new “Conservative Age” where guns won’t require background checks and semi-automatic rifles are commonplace, our streets will feel more like war zones.
9. No more downtowns, no more neighbourhoods.
People will no longer feel safe going to their favourite restaurant or even taking a stroll. Everything will be gated and secure, people will move from gated community to gated community via armoured car, fearful that one wrong turn or a flat tire could alter their life forever.
10. The Eventual Fallout
With the disintegration of public institutions like schools, welfare, unemployment insurance and pensions, plus the added bonus of stagnant minimum wage, the divide between the rich and the poor will become intractable. People working in the service industry will become the working poor, living in fear in crime-addled neighbourhoods with eroding infrastructure while paying far too much tax for the services they receive. The middle class will evaporate, the upper middle class – the doctors, lawyers and independent business owners will spend most of their money on protection like armoured vehicles, gated communities and private schools. Simple leisure activities like going for a walk, eating at a restaurant, going shopping will be a thing of the past.
The ultra rich will live as they do now, cloistered together, avoiding taxes and manipulating the markets. Instead of contributing their fair share to the government that provided them with the infrastructure that created their wealth, they will set up their own healthcare, transportation, schools and universities creating a new divide between the rich and ultra rich. The only drawback the ultra rich will have is dealing with all their hired help. For fear of retribution, the ultra rich will always be worried that their next private jet pilot, home cleaner or gardener will harm them and their families as an act of solidarity for their working poor brethren, or perhaps as the beginning of the next US revolution in which the oppressed masses rise up against the conservative hegemony.
The unintended consequences of restrictive abortion laws are profound. If society is to flourish, we will have to provide equal freedoms for all, which includes giving women the right to control their reproduction.
BMC Impact of unintended pregnancy on maternal mental health: a causal analysis using follow up data of the Panel Study on Korean Children (PSKC)
NIH Consequences of Unintended Pregnancy
The Washington Post UNWANTED CHILDREN SUFFER LONG-TERM DIFFICULTIES
Feature Image: Win McNamee/Getty Images