OP-ED: Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice. Two Sides Of The Same Coin?
“We’re having trouble getting pregnant.” About 13% of American couples share this sentiment, according to US Health and Human Services. “I’m going to need an abortion.” Roughly 25% of women in the US make this request, according to the American Journal of Public Health. There may not be two further polar opposites in all of humanity- the creation of life versus the destruction of life. Each conversation stirs the deepest of emotions, but rarely if ever do they cross paths. Who is to say which is more important, the decided beginning or the decided end? Has anyone ever made a connection between these two counterparts or are they totally extraneous?
On January 22, 1973, the decision by the US Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade launched a heated debate between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice that has not subsided in the past five decades. Politicians have seized the subject and converted it into one of the most notable “special interests” groups in all of voting. Pro-Choice advocates have marched in the millions across every major city to make their case heard. Major news sources seemingly debate abortion on a nightly basis. Together, they represent a resounding voice looking to un-right a wrong.
On the flip side, the ultimate PRO-Lifers (those wishing they could even experience the Pro-Life/Pro-Choice conundrum) are often struggling in silence. Rarely talked about in politics, never in the headlines unless in the case of a miracle or disaster, and with few too many advocates to organize a picnic, let alone a march, these couples go unnoticed. Together, they represent a soft whisper hoping to right a wrong.
However, for every Pro-Choice march there is a Pro-Life rally, for every liberal vote there is a conservative. Point being that the argument has already been raging. Agreed. However, the author is analyzing from a different angle. Pro-Choice represents a conscious decision, a change to what’s supposed to occur. Whereas Pro-Life promotes a natural, unaltered, better yet, unassisted, course of events. Perhaps the existing debate is apples and oranges. The author is assisting both sides of the equation for equal representation. To define “assisting” in this case, being the human influence on an already existing set of natural circumstances. Furthermore, the mindful action to create life where it is not versus to extinct life where it is.
So, is this a philosophical grab at an untouched conversation between two potentially unrelated parties, pro-infertilitiers (those wanting a shot at a vacant womb) and pro-fertilitiers (those wanting a shot at an occupied womb)? It is unlikely these two camps would ever meet, but the existing Pro-Life/Pro-Choice debate has already shown us there is a field for battle between the directly affected (aborted baby) and the seemingly unaffected, Pro-Life. The emotional strings are what we’ll coin the “soft” ingredients in a volatile topic (see liberal politician promoting female choice versus Catholic conservative promoting life, while neither directly involved in choosing to abort a baby or not). Because there is not a recognizable force against infertility treatment, PRO-lifers, or enough emotion to warrant a prime-time roundtable discussion, we do not have the “soft” ingredients available to answer yes to a social deliberation.
However, the “hard” ingredients, money in a zero-sum world, are forever present and provide a platform for any here-or-there agenda. To clarify, there are only so many public dollars, charitable dollars, even private dollars to fund an objective. Let’s see where these finite dollars are currently being allocated with respect to our unexplored PRO-Life and well documented Pro-Choice contingents.
The most recent statistics available show that there were approximately 879,000 abortions in the US in 2017 (note, we must isolate the Pro-Choice faction to abortion for the sake of this article, as crediting other contraceptive methods would be far too cumbersome). To give color to this picture, we’ll identify who they are… 86% of all abortions are for unmarried women. The vast majority of these women are in their 20’s. The reader will likely posit that’s plausible since most pregnancies occur at this time, conversely the enlightenment is in acknowledging the blatant “need” for abortion in immature teen years or unhealthy pregnancy years (late 30’s into 40’s). Along these lines, only 7% of abortions are due to health issues for the mother or baby, including rape. 43% of all abortions are performed on women who already aborted at least once. 10% of white women’s pregnancies end in abortion whereas 28% of black women use abortion.
Over half of America is opposed to these women (52% according to Gallup in 2018). Again, we are going to skip the “soft” reasons why, but now hone in on the “hard” monetary impact. Medicated abortions can cost between $500-$1,600, 2nd trimester abortions range from $500-$3,000, and 3rd trimester abortions can go from $8,000-$15,000. How does an aborting mother pay for this? Health insurance may cover some or all, the National Network of Abortion Funds offers over 70 funds to help offset costs, and the government covers about 24% of all abortion costs (6.6% fed and 17.4% state Forbes). Planned Parenthood, one of the most widely recognized resources on abortion, has over $1.3 billion in revenue, with over $500 million annually from the government (75% of which is from Medicaid). Taxpayers pay for half the cost of abortions in states in which Medicaid is the payor. There are many individuals who avoid finding themselves this far along by proactively electing for tubal ligation- 700,000 performed annually or surgical sterilization- 500,000 completed annually, nearly all of which is covered by health insurance. To give us the most comprising figure, in 2010 the US government spent over $21 billion on unintended pregnancies, including abortion costs, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Now we shall flip to the other side of this newly created coin and discuss the costs associated with PRO-Life. While there certainly isn’t half the country hoping to outlaw infertility treatment, there are some smaller debates for and against the industry (i.e. some feel those partaking in procedures such as In vitro Fertilization, IVF, equate it to “playing God”), but again we will skip the “soft” ingredients for the sake of this article. IVF is the most common procedure in this respect and on average costs $23,000 for one cycle, but in most cases requires multiple cycles which can quickly exceed $50,000. Health insurance can cover some of these costs in 16 specific states under select circumstances (within certain age range and meeting other requirements), but by and large this is an out-of-pocket procedure. There currently are zero grants, government funds, or tax dollars for infertility. Some fertility clinics offer payment plans or discounts, but many of these do not extend to those over age 40 or not meeting other requirements. For what it’s worth, infertility treatment is now a rapidly growing $4 billion industry in which the median income for Reproductive Endocrinologists is $317,312.
In closing, the statistics clearly reveal there is an enormous push by the government, via taxpayer funds, programs, and insurance mandates, to prevent life for those who have made a “mistake”. We’ll discount the many charitable institutions supporting abortion since private donors may do as they please, granted many of these receive even more government funding. Conversely, there is no real government assistance for those yearning to become a parent and add positively to humanity and the country itself. Will there ever be a debate between the two active participants, those looking to add versus those looking to subtract? Time will tell. Until then, the growing silent crowd of hopeful parents must contemplate taking that second mortgage to get in line at the doctor’s office, and wait morning after morning between shots, blood work, and ultra sounds, pondering what’s not meant to be versus what’s meant not to be.
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