By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The poor economy is being blamed for a surge in the number of women seeking abortions and men requesting vasectomies because they can’t afford to have more children. Pro-life groups say the family planning industry is exploiting the situation to promote their business.
According to a report by the Telegraph.co.uk, the president of a Florida Planned Parenthood clinic, Barbara Zdravecky, said abortions in her area have risen by 14 percent in the first two months of this year compared to the same period in 2008.
“Some women are taking a long hard look at the situation they find themselves in and deciding to terminate their pregnancies because of the economy,” Ms. Zdravecky said.
“If they have a husband who’s just been laid off and lost his health insurance and a couple of kids already, they may well feel this is not the time to have another child. This is the really tough choice that a lot of families are facing it right now.”
Planned Parenthood regional offices report similar increases in abortion across the country.
Vicki Saporta, president of The National Abortion Federation, said there had been a significant increase in calls to the organisation’s hotline because of the economy – including many from women struggling to afford the cost of an abortion.
One of those calls came from Gloria Browne, 33, a bank clerk from Cleveland, Ohio, is married with a three-year-old son. Her husband Tom lost his job as a chauffeur two months ago, in the same week that she discovered she was pregnant.
After several days of agonising, the couple reluctantly decided they could not afford to add to their family at this stage. “It was a really tough and sad decision,” she said. “We always wanted more kids and I never thought I’d have an abortion as a married woman. But this is just not the time to have another child. We can barely pay the bills as it is.”
However, not every couple is allowing the economy to pressure them into abortion. Brooke Holycross, 25, of Port Orange, Fla., told Fox News she was offered financial assistance for an abortion and went to the clinic this month, but changed her mind after seeing a sonogram of the 15-week-old fetus.
Holycross already has three daughters, and her common-law husband has been laid off.
“We’re in a spot where we’re scared,” she said. “Babies are expensive. . . . I’m just praying to God I did the right thing.”
Meanwhile, clinics are reporting an increase in the number of men seeking sterilization because they fear losing their jobs and want to use their insurance to pay for the procedure while it’s still possible.
Dr. J. Stephen Jones, a urologist at the Cleveland Clinic, told Fox his monthly caseload of vasectomies has risen from about 45 to more than 70 since November.
He said most of the men were married and had kids but decided they couldn’t afford more, especially not if they lost their jobs.
“Several articulated very forcefully that the economy was the motive,” Jones said. “I have a long discussion with them and ask if there’s any chance they still might want kids. They say they know it’s time.”
Pro-life and religious groups are accusing the family planning industry of capitalizing on the economic crisis to promote their cause. “The abortionists often put their clinics in poverty-stricken areas so they can prey on people who are confused and don’t know what to do,” said Tom McCluskey, a vice-president of the Family Research Council.
“Now they are taking advantage of the economy and people’s uncertainty. They have even sent out fundraising emails trying to raise more money by highlighting the increase in abortions because of the economic situation. We want women to know that they do have alternatives such as adoption, even now, but they won’t hear that from Planned Parenthood.”
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