For decades, pro-lifers have repeated the mantra that abortion is bad for women and bad for children, while pro-choicers have maintained that access to abortion give women better outcomes. It looks like science continues to back the pro-life position.
Apart from the well-known health impact on women seeking abortion (and its obvious and tragic impact on their children), there are other consequences for women as well. In the Boston Globe’s “Uncommon Knowledge” column on Sunday, June 19, 2016, we see a small item on a new study that backs up the results of a two-decade-old study showing that where access to abortion and contraception is restricted, we find less single motherhood and more cases of mothers living with the fathers of their children.
“The results showed that women in states that removed public funding saw decreased single motherhood and increased cohabitation among women giving birth. Estimates showed a 13 percent lower chance of being single following a birth in a state where funding was removed. This policy impact is substantial. If the entire sample were to experience a removal of abortion funding, these estimates would imply that the probability of cohabiting or marrying among low-income mothers would increase by between 12 and 18 percentage points conditional on giving birth. These estimates mean that among the children of low-income mothers, the fraction of children living with both biological parents at the time of birth would rise by 10 percentage points.”
It seems counter-intuitive, perhaps, because you would think increased access to abortion would result in fewer women giving birth, but as most pro-lifers know abortion doesn’t reduce the number of “unwanted” children. It just creates a vicious cycle of crisis pregnancies.
The reason why the decrease in single motherhood is significant is because of the well-attested data that shows single motherhood is a leading indicator for poverty for both women and children, that children who grow up in single parent homes are at risk for poor school performance, criminal behavior as both juveniles and adults, psychological and emotional difficulties, and more. (This isn’t to say that all children of single mothers end up this way, but that there is increased risk.)
As time goes on, it becomes more and more apparent that abortion breaks down the family and that the breakdown of the family causes a breakdown in the fabric of our society.