Sunday, March 25, 2007

An Abortion, or $500?

Via Reuters/

A Texas legislator has proposed that pregnant women considering abortion be offered $500 not to end their pregnancies.  Republican State Sen. Dan Patrick, who also is a conservative radio talk show host, said Friday the money might persuade the women to go ahead and have babies, then give them up for adoption....

"If this incentive would give pause and change the mind of 5 percent of those women, that's 3,000 lives. That's almost as many people as we've lost in Iraq," Patrick said.

Patrick has filed legislation to make the payment state law, but the legislature has not voted on it.  His proposal calls for giving any woman going to an abortion clinic the $500 option, to be paid no more than 30 days after the baby is born and given up for adoption.

Critics say the proposal would violate Texas and federal laws against buying babies, which Patrick rejected as "the typical ridiculous criticism."

Read the bill. One has to hope that this proposal will falter beneath the mountain of "ridiculous criticism" that it merits.  But I would like to focus on just one aspect:  Like so many proposals that aim to stop women from choosing abortions, this one targets those who have the least "choice" to begin with -- women trapped in a cycle of poverty.  The "choice" offered here is not even to have the baby and keep it, but to place the baby for adoption.  It's troubling enough that the economic policies of this country effectively leave many low-income, pregnant women with no choice but to terminate pregnancies they might otherwise carry to term if they could only afford it.  But attempts to coerce them to have and then give up their babies for a cash reward only add insult to injury. 

Read more about punitive policies toward low-income, pregnant women at the website of National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Pregnancy & Childbirth, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink

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I agree. If a requirement of this is placing the baby for adoption then it's really the same root problem with a conservative fix instead of a liberal one. Both leave the underlying issues about the santity of life, and the hardships of those in poverty, totally and completely unaddressed. Both options are just a bandaid while the real issues are ignored.

Great post!

Posted by: jodi_a4givensinner | Mar 26, 2007 8:07:46 AM

I agree, great post. This is yet another example of the anti-abortion movement focused on polarizing politics instead of actually preventing unintended pregnancies or supporting families. As Donna Hall from Women Donors Network writes at RH Reality Check, Americans care about a range of reproductive health issues (not just abortion). So why don't politicians?

Check it out:

Posted by: Tyler LePard | Mar 27, 2007 12:06:09 PM

This is so sad that it is even being considered. I just don't understand why that money couldn't go to sexual health education. No matter how much I read about the conservative perspective I can't rap my mind around it. None of it makes any sense to me.

Posted by: Emily | Mar 30, 2007 8:45:47 AM

I cannot deny that where a 'wanted' unborn child needs medical attention to live, $500 would be totally negligible. If all we ever had to pay in such cases was $500 we would be very fortunate. With this perspective it is easy to draw parallels between saving life and choosing not to end another.

I feel that, while this legislation favors the preservation of life in the interest of morality, in the interest of the economy, and in the interests of childless parents who desire to adopt, I cannot accept it. It undermines abortion laws, favoring one right over others. We can do better. There are other ways.

I cant help but wonder if an incentive like that goes on to represent the views of the whole state; the views of a society. How much could this come to play a role in their decision? To what extent could delayed abortions be attributed to this kind of legislation?

If it's a question of consideration, regardless of the outcome, we would be talking about legislation which provides money to women across the board (as Emily mentioned) to encourage them to think about a life as parents and to weigh the consequences and advantages of their options.


Posted by: ND | Mar 31, 2007 3:16:22 PM

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