According to an article in today’s LA Times, the Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles County has 15% more patient cases now than they had at this time last year. And ACCESS in Oakland, CA, an organization that helps low income women with reproductive health care, 72% of calls received are from women contemplating abortions which is up from 60% last year.
Executive director Destiny Lopez says that most of the women calling already have families but feel like they don’t have the financial capacity to have another child, contrary to popular stereotypes of childless women getting abortions.
The article points out the unsurprising fact that women are factoring in the economy and their current financial circumstances when deciding whether or not to have children. Women are realizing that they cannot afford to raise a child (or in many instances, another child) during these economic times, whereas under better economic circumstances they would’ve just had continued their pregnancies and had children.
However, the economic downturn has also made it difficult for women seeking abortions to get those abortions. For low income women who are already struggling, paying for an abortion can be very difficult. The cost of an abortion ranges from around $450 for a first-trimester abortion to $1,200 for a second trimester abortion. Not all insurance companies are willing to cover the cost of an abortion and enrolling in Medi-Cal, California’s health care system for the poor, can often be a slow and tedious process. In some cases, women who wanted to have first-trimester abortions and scrambled to put enough money together found out that by the time their insurance came through, it was too late for a first-trimester abortion and they were uncomfortable with having a second-trimester abortion (nor did they have enough money to cover one).
Abortion clinics are also suffering due to the economic recession. Some clinics have had to shut down. For example, the Women’s Choice Clinic, one of Oakland’s oldest feminist abortion clinics, closed not too long ago because it couldn’t pay all of its bills. This increases the burden of abortion clinics, like Planned Parenthood, that are still open and have more women seeking abortions.
A more optimistic point of the article is the fact that more women today are conscientious of using birth control than they were a year ago:
A recent Gallup Organization survey conducted for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reported that nearly one in 10 married woman indicated that the economy was a factor in their decision to postpone a planned pregnancy. That same survey found that one in five women is more concerned about having an unintended pregnancy than a year ago and about one in five women is more conscientious about using birth control.