Will Today’s Younger Generation End Abortion?

Every year there is an anti abortion rally in Washington, DC.  This year’s was poorly attended, bad weather was blamed.

The young people attending in recent years is touted as evidence this generation will stop abortion.  Anti abortion advocates also cheer statistics showing fewer abortions each year.  And, state governments keep adding little harassment laws to make abortions cost more.

In the overarching picture, however, there isn’t much progress toward ending abortions.  The number of abortions is dropping, but mostly among teenaged women because of improved “morning after” medicines. Older women earn more so they have more to lose from unwanted pregnancies.  Expect a strong push back from them.

As anti abortion political operatives make small gains in state regulation of abortions, medical research makes even bigger advances in nonsurgical abortions.  These advances make it harder for anti abortion protesters to focus an abortion doctor, a clinic or a young woman.  Without something to demonize, cache is lost.

Seldom mentioned are economic variables hovering above abortion.  The simple one is the $250,000 cost of raising a child to age 18 and time off work for births.

Another is the longer lives of people in retirement and the system we have of young workers supporting the retired.  If anyone thinks elderly will not notice children compete with them for the limited resources available, you are nieve.

Anti abortion operatives need come up with something to talk about besides ultrasounds. I’d suggest they talk about economic realities.

Until the economics change, abortion is here to stay.


33 Responses

  1. Henry

    Jon:“The number of abortions is dropping, but mostly among teenaged women because of improved “morning after” medicines. “

    That is abortion, too.

    Jon:“Another is the longer lives of people in retirement and the system we have of young workers supporting the retired. If anyone thinks elderly will not notice children compete with them for the limited resources available, you are nieve.”

    Sacrifice the unborn for the elderly? And instead give the elderly the formula and baby food?

    1. Henry 1:06 “Sacrifice the unborn for the elderly.”

      Among Eskimos, where there were always just enough food to get by, I understand it was common in some groups for the elderly to go out in a storm and not come back. I’m just making the point I don’t expect elderly in our society to do that. Do you?

        1. Henry 3:47 “Jon, I don’t see the need for that explanation on either end of the age spectrum.”

          I’ve noticed most right to life people do not like to discuss the economic circumstances that push the demand for abortions. It is to their peril, I believe, because as long as economics pushes the demand for them, there will be abortions. Change those circumstances and there will not be abortions.

          1. Henry

            What you suggest is to in effect, set a price on a person’s head. What do you want to fix the price at? $50G? $5G? I’d like to know. Your economic background gives you insight most don’t have.

          2. Henry 4:32 “..set a price on a person’s head.”

            Please, Henry, I did not say I, myself, put a price on a fetus. I’m trying, unsuccessfully so far, to teach you that poeple do put prices on decisions about children. They always have, they always will. It shows up in family decisions and ultimately in politics.

            Some generations back, rural couples had more children than urban ones. This, because children contributed to the family’s income by their farm work. When women did not work outside the home, the economic loss from urban children was not as large. Wives were not earning an income anyway, so the loss was just paying the costs of an additional child.

            Now, women work outside the home. In some circumstances, it is the only family income. Do you think she/he do not calculate the lost income from a pregnancy to decide whether or not they can afford it? And, of course, pregnancies are somewhat dangerous, so there is the risk of not returning to work at all. If you are interested in the dollars involved in a pregnancy, you can add them up. Start with the $250,000 for raising the child, add the woman’s lost income and risk, and you will have it.

            On a macro basis, one has to calculate the costs to social security of say millions of births, etc. I’m sure someone has written a PhD thesis about this or a journal article somewhere. The reason economists study such seemingly “heartless” topics is because it is part of human behavior. The reason anti abortion people get angry at such discussions is they want to pretend a child is “priceless”. It turns out this has never been the case. Even the anti abortion Cathoic church says, in effect, “To control the cost of children in your family finances, learn about the female cycle. That way, you will have only the number of children you need.”

          3. josh

            Kind of like how the Nazis used economics to determine what was the most effective way to kill the jews, gypsys, liberals, environmentalists, and mentally ill.

          4. josh 1:02 “the Nazis used economics to determine what as the most effective way to kill the jews…”

            If you are married, you have made some calculation about how many children to have. Your parents did the same thing. All humans do this, they have since there have been humans. To think otherwise is to have your head in the sand. As I point out in my reply to Henry, even the anti abortion Catholic church gives people advice about how not to ruin a families money circumstances by having too many children.

            You are welcome to rank on about nazis and gypsies, human behavior in family decisions and on a national basis in politics will go on as it always has.

          5. josh

            Not really, we had children until we felt we’d had enough. Money wasn’t even a factor. Throughout the third world money isn’t a factor either. People have babies left and right. Their children are their economic security. the reason I mention the Nazis is because you seem to have the same cold lack of empathy that they had for human life in your judgement of the children being aborted everyday. Their not just a”piece of human tissue” as I’ve heard you say in your most distasteful tone. They’re a living being that deserves to live and not be murdered.

          6. josh 3:55 “Throughout the third world money isn’t a factor either. People have babies left and right. Children are their economic security.”

            I hope after you wrote this, you recognized you had contradicted yourself. The term you used “Economic security”, is money. As I pointed out in my blog and comments, people make decisions about how many children to have based on money. In economics, rural children are called “producer goods” because they produce more income to a family than the money the parents pay out for raising them. In cities, children are called “consumer goods”, they cost more than they produce in income. Children compete with other consumer goods like houses and boats. More of one means less of another.

            Even in poor illerate rural areas, where children are thought of as producer goods, it is obvious the number of children is carefully calculated and limited to what a couple needs. Through a simple statistical technique called regression analysis, the number of children can be compared to other variables like income, literacy and education, holding each variable constant while changing one at a time. Then, you can calculate the number of years women can bare children. Women even in the poorest most illiterate areas do not have as many children as they can–they practice family planning.

          7. Wolfy32

            I do believe abortion is wrong except for some pretty severe situations. However, I also believe that if we’re going to eliminate abortion as a possibility, we need to fill reason for abortions with an alternative. Just saying abortion is wrong, and ending it is not going to solve a problem. It’s very short sighted and irresponsible.

            It’d be similar to saying “All processed foods are illegal” And take all processed food off grocery store shelves. Grocery stores would be nearly empty. McDonalds would have to shut down, and we’d have this probably close to a trillion dollar industry as a black hole in our economy..

            We would need to fill that void with something. For abortion does that mean subsidizing adoptions and subsidizing the mother’s medical bills for the pregnancy?

            Does that mean investing in science to transfer the fetus to a mother that will be raising the child? I’m open to a ton of alternatives to abortion that allows the child to live. The problem is no one is asking for alternatives. Everyone just wants to argue about abortion.. For politicians it’s awesome. They know that nothing will change with abortion, and therefore they can argue whatever side they’re on until they’re blue in the face and get the votes and funding they need….

            No politician in their right mind knows they couldn’t do away with or fully legalize abortion beyond where it’s at today and remain in office.

            Slowly phase out support for abortions and redirect subsidies, scientific funding, and invest in therapy management for mothers and families, and provide them with the support they need to succeed as moms. Stop buying weaponized robots and put a few hundred billion into supporting moms in the country, and lets see who cares about an “abortion” issue in 5 years?

            I guarantee most people would find the concept apalling if there were viable alternatives that replaced it.

          8. josh

            No, I did not contradict myself. The children they produce do not produce money but are there to take care of the parents when they are elderly. They produce no money. They may help to tend the water buffalo or pull some rice, but they have a net zero effect on the family except to give mom and dad a break when you consider their consumption of family resources.

          9. josh 12:27 “No, I did not contridite myself…they may tend the water buffalo or pull some rice but they have zero effect on the family…”

            All the things you mentioned have economic value. The word “money” in used in place of the phrase “economic value”. Tending water buffalo and raising rice is what such families do for a living. If children raise and harvest more rice than they eat, they benefit a family’s economy. If the eat more than they raise, they cost the family. Each couple calculates the return. Then, they calculate how much rice (money) they need in their old age. That, in turn, goes into their calculation of how many children to have.

            Eskimos killed babies when their return was negative. Please don’t tell me native people, and current people, do not make economic calculations. Statistically, its obvious they do, even if they deny doin it.

          10. Henry

            Jon:“Eskimos killed babies when their return was negative. Please don’t tell me native people, and current people, do not make economic calculations. Statistically, its obvious they do, even if they deny doin it.”

            Jon, you still haven’t answered. What is the price on one’s head? Awaiting your economic evaluation.

          11. Henry 2:45 “Jon, you still haven’t answered. What is the price on one’s head? Awaiting your economic evaluation.”

            Actually, that’s a very good question. Unfortunately, I can only give you a tiny bit of information about that.

            There is a way to calculate the value of a life, its done in courts everyday. When a survivor sues a doctor or a car company for the “wrongful death” of their parent or spouse, there is an method approved by courts to calculate that. You take the amount the person would have earned and what the survivor would expect to share of it. Then, using standard life expectancy tables and projected income, add it all up, then treat that amount for future inflation and discount it to its present value and there you are. I’ve done that in court cases.

            With family members you personally would say to youself I’m sure, my children/grandchildren/wife/parents are worth so much I can’t envision what that is. But people do compare having children with time and money they want for other things. In addition, economists have a term, “high quality” versus “low quality” that couples consider, though they would never use these words. It refers to whether they think they can/want to send future children to college. The fewer the children the less likely there will be family money for college.

            Now, it is not the economists who are the heartless mercenary people in looking at this, it is the behaviors of the people they are observing. When we study census data, we can see patterns emerging that tell us people are making decisions based, at least largely, on costs and benefits. Even though, if you asked individual people, they would deny this had anything to do with their decisions about family size.

          12. Henry

            Thanks, Jon. I am aware the courts already place a value on one’s head. The decedent’s condition of health at time of death can also be a factor. A P/F determination of the decedent’s value seems a little creepy.

            As far as college, there are many ways parents can approach this, and none may be wrong. I was a little weird and saved my meager HS earnings and applied towards college. I also worked through college. Most of my summers consisted of working 60-70 hour weeks at one job during the workweek, and working an additional 16 hours on the weekend at another job. I had no debt leaving school. When at school, I was able to focus on school. I may be mistaken, but I think I may have been able to stay awake in one of your econ classes with that laser-like focus. I think the students need to be personally invested in college instead of getting a free ride. Personal investment can be in many forms: academic and/or athletic scholarship or personal money used to pay for school. The number of kids in a family with this consideration does not limit or set family size.

          13. josh

            Sorry Jon. I cannot put a price on my children’s heads, I’m not that cold. I didn’t have them based upon any economic considerations. To me they are priceless.

          14. josh 12:41 “I cannot put a price on my children’s heads.”

            I can’t put a price on my childrens’heads either. We knew when we were in the baby making period if we had had more, we would not have had as much time to devote to each nor as much money to help each one along their ways. In the final analysis, economics influenced our decision.

            I’m sure it plays the same role in almost every family’s decision about the number of children they have.

          15. Wolfy32

            Jon, great points. I have several friends that have two kids, and they were still young enough to have more, and made decent incomes, I asked when’s the third one coming to each. They said, umm, we can’t afford a third one!! Day Care alone is breaking us at $600 a month per child, that’s $1200 a month (at a minimum depending on the age of the children). When considers that a house payment is around $1000 a month, and 2 kids $1200 just for day care. And consider the average middle income to be around $4,000 a month gross, $3,000 a month net, that leaves $800 for gas, food, toys, and clothes. one more kid, would break an average family into needing to rely on hand out programs for food assistance, housing assistance, etc…

            On the other hand, I have a friend that can’t handle money, the wife doesn’t work but takes care of the kids, they have older cars so no car payments, and are having their 3rd kid and want a 4th even though they are living off of credit cards and just barely surviving with what they have.

            As to Henry’s question of the price of a child… Many studies have indicated the average cost of raising a child from 0 to 18 without any college tuition is around $250,000 per child. That’s food, school clothes, day care, toys, medical bills, and so much more.

            A family with 4 kids could be paying close to a million dollars over 18 years. Yeah there’s a cost to having a family. If the same family only had 2 kids, that would leave them with an extra $500,000 to invest in savings for college tuition for each child, or to having a little larger house, or a lake cabin, etc.

      1. entech

        It is still going against the will of God (as interpreted by his representatives here on earth) if god meant you to get pregnant then you must get pregnant, even if it was incestuous rape or something equally horrific.

        1. Of course, if god decides you shall die with a heart attack, it is perfectly OK to intervene and have that heart stent inserted. The will of god is so flexible in it’s intent. 🙂

          1. entech

            He must love atheists then, I had a huge heart operation last years and 13 months later – healthier than ever. 😆

  2. pk

    Jon, Is roughly 400,000+ people a poorly attended March compared to the 5-600,000+ people usually in attendance? Perhaps you should fly out to Washington DC some year for the March?

    1. pk 4:36 “…400,000+ people a poorly attended compared to 5-600,000 people usually in attendance?”

      Glad to hear from you again.

      If it was 400,000 that is a big number. I just read it was down–and–like I said that may have been due to weather. My point is all that effort will not end abortions because of economics and technology. A woman can compare the cost of an abortion, $500, to raising a child, $250,000.

  3. Anti-abortion activists would get a much better return on their investment if they concentrated instead on making sure that any women or man could get contraceptives if they need them. Education of sexually active teens would go a long way in preventing pregnancy. These causes are opposed right along with abortion by activists because they really do not want to get rid of abortion. They really just want women to live the way they did before it was possible to prevent pregnancy. Why, I don’t know. But it is clear that if reduction of abortion is the goal, then making contraception the number one priority should be the most logical course of action.

    1. entech

      Strange that those most against abortion seem to be most against education, education means abstinence till married, obviously a man written code with the main motive being that they know that they can’t standup to any form of comparison – when the stallions ready back the mare up that’s all they need to know.

      If they can’t find someway to call that actually a form of abortion then it is defying the will of God. What more proof do we need that the whole bunch of phony boloney is written and modified by males for their own benefit.

      Education for women and effective birth control is the main thing needed in developing countries, it wouldn’t go far astray in some so called developed countries either.

  4. Adam Heckathorn

    I’ve always been troubled by abortion. I had a young black Man call Me during an election on behalf of The Republican Party and tell Me how I ought to vote based on My views on abortion. I told Him “don’t be offended but from the sound of Your voice I thought You might be an African American” To which He responded “why yes I am”. I went on to tell Him How I had attended John Muir elementary school where I was one of six white kids and the rest were African American. Years later as I was taking care of dairy cattle I thought to Myself we’re taking much better care of these cattle than those African American Children. I concluded by saying “these people You would have Me vote for seem so concerned about an unborn Child but don’t seem to care if that same child falls off a cliff after It is born”. He agree’d with Me wholeheartedly.

    1. Adam 5:37 “these people you would have me vote for seem so concerned about an unborn child but don’t seem to care if that same child fall off a cliff after it it born.”

      As former Barney Frank once said, “The right to life political wing cares about children up until the time they are born.”

      That’s the whole thing about the economics of giving birth. Some countries subsidize pregnant women to make the financial burden much less. We could do that in the U. S. and there would be fewer abortions. But, right-to-life politics is more about the marriage with big business, no taxes and smaller government. The smaller government ideal trumps the right-to-life ideal. I think a lot of right to life people don’t see the contradiciton.

  5. Adam Heckathorn

    Your preaching to the choir.” Don’t see the contradiction” goes back to believing two things that are mutually exclusive.

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