Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Problems with the "Abortion Roadblock"

Twenty-six states have now imposed a mandatory waiting period between the day when a woman first visits an abortion clinic and the day she is actually allowed to get an abortion, according to an article in The Atlantic entitled "Waiting Periods and the Rising Price of Abortion," written by Olga Khazan. This ends up raising the overall cost of having an abortion, because women must make now arrangements twice in order to have one. As Khazan puts it, it is just "another attempt by pro-lifers to bring about the end of abortion by a thousand restrictions."

It brings up a point we discussed today in class. To what extent can the government get involved in the choices that people make? For instance, the government regulates the restrictions on tobacco, creating a sort of "sin-tax" (a heightened price on the product in the hopes to discourage people from "sinning"). The "sinning," in this case, would be getting an abortion. It is clear that these pro-life lawmakers imposing these laws feel this way, based on their language alone. In The Atlantic article, Missouri state Senator David Sater said he is "sure that the unborn child would like to see an extra 48 hours for the mother to decide on whether or not to have the abortion." He turns it around on the woman, questioning her right to make the decision herself.

This waiting period is yet another hurdle women are now forced to go through. A woman who goes to an abortion clinic has already made an incredibly difficult decision. She does not need yet another hurdle in her way. If she has other children, she must make arrangements for them, like childcare. She would have to take off from work, most likely losing pay for that day. She would also have to make arrangements to get to the clinic, which can be hours away, and expensive to travel to. Once she actually gets to the clinic, she is told to think about it and come back in 2 or 3 days, having to endure it all over again, which is emotionally and financially draining. This waiting period "made abortion more expensive by 48% for poor women" (Khazan). Abortion now has a sin-tax that is affecting women, especially poor women, who have even more trouble getting past these financial hurdles.

Aside from the financial part or this issue, are women gaining anything from this mandatory delay? 75% of women said they "couldn't name a single benefit of the waiting period" (Khazan). I would argue that the majority of women who seek out and travel to an abortion clinic have already come to their very difficult decision. But that decision gets questioned as soon as they walk in the door. Shouldn't this just be a choice a woman gets to make?

1 comment:

  1. Becca,

    How can you make this more of an American issue? Why is this happening where and when it is? An analysis/explanation of selected quotes might make this stronger.

    Overall, I like the implications you listed of these kinds of laws, especially regarding the effect on low-income women.