Published: May 31, 2022
Abortion rights are an inescapable topic in the news right now, as the Supreme Court’s leaked document shows Roe v. Wade, a 1970’s ruling protecting women’s liberty to have an abortion, may soon be overturned. While the abortion debate often centers around ethical, political, and even emotional issues, financial resources, or lack thereof, are often a crucial part of a woman’s decision.
We surveyed 1,250 American women who have had an abortion to find out how much health insurance and financial constraints affected their choice.
The costs of having and raising a child in the U.S. are extremely high, especially for those without health insurance. According to Business Insider, the average cost of giving birth in the U.S. is about $10,000, though this amount varies depending on which state the mother lives in and how the mother gives birth, as C-sections are more expensive than vaginal deliveries.
Noor Ali, MD, and healthcare advisor stated that “Options [for expecting women without health insurance] include cash payments for all services rendered, payment packages at a local hospital, private birthing services with natural birthing centers and doula-assisted home births, health sharing plans, and non-profit organizations.” While some of these alternatives could be viable for some women, the cost is still a significant factor.
There are many other costs involved with having a child beyond just the delivery. For example, without health insurance, prenatal care costs around $2,000, average infant child care is about $216/week, and the average total cost of raising a child through age 17 is about $233,000. It’s no wonder that one-third of American women who have gotten an abortion did so because of financial concerns.
The cost of giving birth and receiving prenatal care goes up greatly if the mother does not have health insurance. For example, in California, the cost of a C-section with insurance is about $11,000, but without insurance is about $19,000.
One in six of the women we surveyed said they did not have health insurance at the time of their abortion, and of this group, 28% say not having insurance somewhat affected their decision to have an abortion, while an additional 28% said it majorly affected their decision.
In addition to financial and healthcare costs, respondents cite a number of personal factors that also affected their decision. 34% said that they felt mentally and/or emotionally unprepared to have a child. 22% say they felt pressure from their friends and/or family to have an abortion, and more than a quarter say they were pressured by the father of the child.
“Oftentimes the intention of abortions may not be medically indicated, but simply a matter of personal choice…” added Dr. Noor Ali. “Access to services is more of a primary determining factor for seeking care. In that regard, women tend to seek trusted resources that value privacy and safety such as Planned Parenthood,” she finished.
Because finances weighed so heavily on respondents’ decision to have an abortion, we wanted to see if this continues to be a concern for their future plans to grow their families. It turns out, of the 1,250 women surveyed, more than one-third said that while they wanted to have kids in the next year, they have decided to wait. When asked why 34% again said that they were financially unprepared to have a child.
While deciding to have an abortion is, of course, an emotional decision, survey results show that the financial difficulties of birthing and raising a child in the U.S., especially for those without health insurance, should not be overlooked.
This survey was commissioned by AffordableHealthInsurance.com and conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish on May 13, 2022. In total, 1,250 participants in the U.S. were surveyed. All participants had to pass through demographic filters and screening questions to ensure they were currently age 18 or older, identified as female, and had had an abortion.
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