Bonnie Erbe, writing at U.S. News & World Report, thinks abortion is a good response to the recession:
The recession is driving American demand for contraception. And for abortions. The media have been rife this past week with stories about the rising number of couples and single mothers doing the math and deciding this is no time to bring a child into the world—not when the economy is depressed, jobs are scarce, and family incomes are dropping.
The media have also been rife with stories portraying this trend as something of a tragedy. Let me propose a counter view: It is not.
Nothing like good, old-fashioned utilitarianism to help make life-and-death decisions.
The Associated Press ran a story on March 25 that read as follows:
The pregnant woman showed up at the medical centre in flip-flops and in tears, after walking there to save bus fare.
Her boyfriend had lost his job, she told her doctor in Oakland, Calif., and now—fearing harder times for her family—she wanted to abort what would have been her fourth child.
“This was a desired pregnancy—she’d been getting prenatal care—but they re-evaluated expenses and decided not to continue,” said Dr. Pratima Gupta. “When I was doing the options counseling, she interrupted me halfway through, crying, and said, ‘Dr. Gupta, I just walked here for an hour. I’m sure of my decision.'”
Yes, it’s sad that this unwed, pregnant mother of three had no money for bus fare. It’s terrible that her boyfriend lost his job. It is heart-wrenching that she fell to tears in the doctor’s office. But in the long run, can we not agree that an unwed couple’s decision not to bring a fourth child into the world when they are having trouble feeding themselves and three children is no tragedy? It’s actually a fact-based, rational decision that in the end benefits the three children they already have and society as well.
What I see here is a couple that deliberately decided to have a child, and then decided to make that child pay the price for their unfortunate economic circumstances. It would have been possible, using the resources of the government and/or charity, for this woman to have brought her pregnancy to term without any cost at all. That child could then have been given up for adoption, and given the opportunity for life that its parents intended. There are a lot of folks, from Catholic Social Services to crisis pregnancy centers, that would have been thrilled to help. Instead, it has been sacrificed on the altar of economic expediency–this child’s parents “re-evaluated expenses” and decided the child should die. And intellectual enablers such as Bonnie Erbe think that a “fact-based, rational decision.”
How long do you suppose it will be before the Bonnie Erbes of the world will be applauding parents who decide that supporting three children is too expensive, and that one of them needs to die to enable them to make ends meet? Not long, I suspect:
The decision benefits society in two ways. It allows the couple to focus more time, energy and resources on their three children, giving each child a better life and a better chance of growing up to contribute to society. It also lessens the chance the family will have to rely on scarce public resources (food stamps, TANF) to raise their children.
So if the dollars dictate, the inconvenient (unborn children, old people, sick people, depressed people, disabled people, etc.) with just have to die. Society (read: those who have) is the winner. The dead will be the losers, but they’re not really of any consequence are they. Useless eaters, all.