Thursday, June 14, 2007

Abortion: The Magical Problem Solver (well, not really)

The Nation's Katha Pollitt (of how-dare-the-Supreme-Court-use-a-term-I-used-a-year-ago fame) has a new blog and in the first entry she discusses an e-mail she received from the Equal Access Fund of Tennessee, an organization which raises money for women in Tennessee to get abortions. Katha forwards the information about one woman who wants money to help pay for an $850 second-trimester abortion
"She's a single mom with a 19 month old; co-conceiver skipped town; no child support because that dude skipped town; she is clinically very depressed and extremely desperate. She makes less than $800 a month working fulltime. She makes too much to get any state aid and definitely not covered by TNCare. She becamse pregnant after her birth control failed to prevent her pregnancy.
After reading this - my first thought is what are the real problems in this woman's life? Is it that she's pregnant? Or is it that she's in a difficult spot financially, she's clinically depressed, and the man in her life has abandoned her?

The second thing I thought was - does getting a second-trimester abortion do anything to solve her financial, emotional, and relational problems?

Notice the ridiculous assertion that the woman can't get child support because the father skipped town. Does Tennessee have some kind of "skipped-town" clause which frees men who father children from providing child support if they move 30 miles away? Doubtful. The real problem is she probably doesn't have a lawyer or someone to help her use the legal system to force the father to pay child support.

It seems that the real way to help this woman would be to put her in contact with an attorney who does pro-bono work and who could help garnish part of the father's wages. Or maybe find an organization which would be willing to help provide her and her child with health care.

What I find truly amazing is how Katha ends the post without any thought to how this woman will live after her abortion. No thought to the fact this woman will go back home to same difficult situation (single mom with a low wage job, no health care, and absent father). Who cares about those huge financial, emotional, and relational hurdles? She just had an abortion so the real problems in this woman's life mystically disappear because she's no longer pregnant. It's so convenient how abortion solves the big problems of life, isn't it? It must be so nice for people like Katha to give a little to the Equal Access Fund of Tennessee (and similar organizations), pat themselves on the back for not spending that money on a Starbucks latte and muffin and go on their merry way without any thought as to how desperate women with enormous problems will cope with life after an abortion.

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