"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.'"
..Dr. J. Stephen Jones, a urologist at the Cleveland Clinic, said he has seen a surge of men seeking vasectomies, with his monthly caseload rising from about 45 to more than 70 since November. He said most of the men were married, had kids, decided they couldn't afford more and opted to get a vasectomy while they still had job-related health insurance. "Several articulated very forcefully that the economy was the motive," Jones said.
...Dr. Anne Davis of New York City, medical director of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, said one of her married patients recently became pregnant with what would have been her third child. Because the husband was self-employed, the couple could afford only a low-cost family health policy without maternity benefits, Davis said. They estimated the birth would cost at least $30,000 and reluctantly opted for abortion.
What strikes me most about this article is that there is no mention of "other choices" available when finances are tight and a baby seems like an overwhelming financial responsibility. Abortion is presented as a sad, but absolutely necessary choice for couples in very difficult financial straights. The article even mentions the serious doubts of one married woman who chooses not to get an abortion after seeing a sonogram at the clinic.
I'm sure the widespread societal acceptance and financial assistance available for abortion services helps perpetuate these attitudes. And this brings to mind a couple at my parish who recently adopted two children from Poland. Poland, a nation with strong Catholic roots, has very strict abortion regulations, making it very difficult to have an abortion.
This couple from my Parish adopted their first child from Poland and were told he was the youngest of 7 children, and his parents lived in such dire poverty that they just couldn't afford to raise him. His birth parents loved him and wanted him to have a better life, so they placed their son in a loving home, with wonderful parents, parents who had been waiting a long time to raise a child. Shortly after their arrival home, the adoption agency informed them that the birth parents were expecting another baby, and they were asked if they would be willing to raise the new baby as well. They were overjoyed, and returned to Poland a year later to adopt their son's baby sister.
I'm sure the Polish birth parents of these children suffered terribly in their very hard decision to allow someone else to raise their children. They knew the joys and struggles of parenthood, and they knew their current circumstances were not conducive to raising another child. But instead of choosing to end the life of their children, they gave them life--and a life of love. It wasn't a natural choice, as in the right order of things no parent would have to part from their child because of financial difficulties, but it was a choice made in love. The adoptive parents informed me that their adoption story wasn't that unique. This happens often in Poland. I have to believe the strict abortion laws in Poland were partly responsible for the very life of their two beautiful children.
Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood is using the current economic crisis, and the stories of the couples in the article, to increase their funding base.
If there is an upside to the current sobering trends, say family-planning advocates, it may be that federal and state policymakers will boost public funding of contraception. "We're seeing a receptivity among our legislators to hear about prevention policies," said Lori Lamerand, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan. "Folks who wouldn't have opened the doors to a Planned Parenthood representative are now willing to talk to us."
And so now, more than ever, it is important to support pro-life and specifically adoption ministries. Let us not forget that even in these difficult economic times, there are plenty of couples out there praying and waiting for a baby. And if a woman finds herself in a dire financial situation, I hope and pray she will put her baby into the loving arms of a couple like this, rather than into the knife of an abortion doctor.