The regime of violent terror and surveillance being unleashed by red states in the wake of Roe being overruled is bad for everybody, but needless to say poor women feel the particular brunt of it:
A Texas mother of a toddler, scraping by on her husband’s income, was desperate to return to work but struggling to afford child care. A young Florida warehouse worker had barely left behind a turbulent past of homelessness and abuse only to be mired in debt.
When both women learned they were pregnant, they came to the agonizing conclusion they couldn’t go through with it.
“When you try to discuss the alternatives, you find the problems. If we could do this, where is the baby going to stay?” said Alyssa Burns, the warehouse worker who makes $16 an hour and was sharing a two-bedroom apartment with her boyfriend and another couple when she found out she was pregnant last year. “We both work full-time jobs. My mom works. We can’t afford child care.”
There are wide-ranging reasons why women may seek to terminate their pregnancies but for those struggling to make ends meet, finances are inevitably part of the calculation. Now many of them will be thrust into a circumstance they can’t afford as abortion bans and restrictions take hold in half the country after the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling guaranteeing abortion rights.
Three-quarters of women who seek abortions were low-income, meaning they had a family income below or up to double the federal poverty level, according to a 2014 study by the Guttmacher Institute, a science-based research group that supports abortion rights. More than half already had children and many worked in physically demanding roles with fewer labor protections and less flexibility than higher-wage jobs.
“A salaried employee with benefits is the type of person who generally does find a way with or without their employer support,” said Caitlin Myers, an economist at Middlebury College who studies reproduction and the economy. “We are talking about a really economically fragile group of workers, often hourly workers, often shift workers with very unpredictable schedules for whom this becomes really overwhelming.”
Don’t worry, though. Anti-abortion scholars have a “solution”: pure delusion about the American anti-abortion movement wants:
Many anti-abortion advocates say the answer is not to make it easier to terminate a pregnancy but to widen the safety net and make it easier to have children. They argue Roe v. Wade hurt working women by discouraging employers and the government from enacting more generous benefits for parents.
“Abortion has been the privileged response to female poverty and the plight of low-wage workers in this country,” said Erika Bachiochi, an anti-abortion legal scholar who believes more pressure should be applied on conservative states to strengthen policies around parental leave and child care.
Hahahahahahahahahahaha right. If only there were only some states where opponents of legal abortion had more influence than others, or there was one major political party in the US that was fanatically opposed to abortion, so we could test the thesis that legal abortion was undermining the American welfare state.
Once again, you have to hand it to Douthat on this one:
Contemporary advocates of anti-abortion feminism like Erika Bachiochi have linked their critique of abortion to the views of 19th-century feminists and suffragists, portraying an abortion rights politics as a fundamental evasion of society’s true responsibility to women.
At the same time the anti-abortion movement’s many critics regard it as not merely conservative but as an embodiment of reaction at its worst — punitive and cruel and patriarchal, piling burdens on poor women and doing nothing to relieve them, putting unborn life ahead of the lives and health of women while pretending to hold them equal.
When the anti-abortion movement’s many critics point out that counting on opponents of abortion to expand the safety net to help pregnant mothers and parents would be like basing your retirement plans on roulette and scratch-off lottery tickets, they sure are 100% right.