Just a few days after the release of Gallup poll results on Americans' thoughts on unplanned pregnancies and abortion - the LA Times reports that the economy is causing more women to seek the procedure.
ACCESS, an Oakland-based women's health organization, says 72% of women who call want information about abortion, up from 60% last year. Most of these women aren't the stereotypical single girls who need to get back to their carefree lives, but rather women with families who "are really having to make thoughtful decisions whether now is the right time to get pregnant or not," says ACCESS executive director Destiny Lopez. She also says, "we are seeing women who have children, who in another economy would probably have their second or third child, but now can't because they feel so insecure about maintaining their job or losing a job."
Women are also turning to other options besides abortion. A Chicago adoption agency has seen a 30 percent rise in pregnant women asking about adoption. "We've seen a dramatic increase in girls calling us from the hospital," concurs Joseph Sica, of a Florida-based adoption group. And one in five women is more conscientious about birth control now, with many seeking longer-term methods like IUDs.
The saddest part of this news, though, is the stories of women who are forced by economic concerns to consider abortion — and then can't even afford that. Lopez describes a woman who sought an abortion in her first trimester, but found her insurance wouldn't cover it. She tried to enroll in Medi-Cal, California's insurance program for the poor, but the program made her wait five weeks, at which point "she felt it was too late to personally go through with it." Lopez has helped the woman file a complaint with Medi-Cal about the delay. She says, "This is a really good example of the barriers that are put in front of women who are trying to make responsible decisions early on. It's not like women are making these decisions at the drop of a hat. They are considering their life situations." Better health insurance for everyone would improve these life situations — and lessen the need for such heart-wrenching decisions.