The global economic crisis has challenging implications for families. How do we pay for college tuition? Can we make that old clunker in the driveway last another year? Do the kids really need new basketball shoes? Do we pay the electric bill or the gas bill on time? What do I do know that my 401K turned into a 101K?
But while millions of people are worrying about these issues, the Chicago Tribune last week reported on the impact on family planning of the weak economy. Let me summarize: woman can’t afford contraception. That means they get pregnant. Of course, that makes them pregnant with a child they can’t afford. That means they have to get an abortion. But it takes a long time to save enough money for the abortion and by that time the procedure has become risky.
In other words, the lousy economy leads to more abortions and risky abortions. In fact, the paper (which once bravely called itself the “World’s Greatest Newspaper”) reported that Planned Parenthood of Illinois performed its all-time record of abortions in January. (Planned Parenthood didn’t report the actual number, but I doubt because of a sense of humility.)
Well…I have news for the Tribune. First, there are options to costly contraception drugs and devices. People can use natural family planning and even, I’m serious, abstinence. Abstinence is really cheap.
Another news tip for the newspaper: virtually any child ever conceived will be difficult to afford. Frankly, that is especially true for Catholics and other religious groups who send their children to private school. Add up tuition, books, uniforms, commuting, food, shelter, medical care and insurance and you quickly discover that children are not economically feasible for anyone but the independently wealthy (which certainly excludes this writer).
Throw in use of the family car, college tuition, casual clothes for the weekend, eyeglasses, braces on the teeth and summer camp and you realize that a child is an outright assault on economic peace and security.
But this economic lesson doesn’t justify abortion. It anticipates sacrifice.
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