Another Reminder That The Anti-Choice Movement Is Class Warfare

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 13:30 EDT
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If having more puppies than you can afford is a burden, imagine having more kids than you can afford.

In my work, I focus a lot on the sex-phobia and misogyny underlying the anti-choice movement, but in a very real way, it’s also about limiting the opportunities that lower income and working class Americans have to improve their economic lives. Bluntly put, forced childbirth is a great weapon for keeping poor people poor, both by making it harder to earn money and by making it harder to save money. Unsurprising then that most anti-choice strategies tend to work by making it more expensive to avoid unwanted childbirth. Tara Culp-Ressler has a post at Think Progress chronicling the financial roadblocks to abortion that anti-choicers focus on. A sample, though you should read the whole thing:

– Placing restrictions on the abortion pill. Non-invasive first-trimester abortions — in which women can safely terminate an early pregnancy by taking the RU-486 abortion pill — are the most common type of abortion care. The pill is an important reproductive resource particularly for low-income women who live in rural areas, and may not be able to travel to a clinic that offers surgical abortion procedures. Some states are attempting to improve those women’s access to abortion care even further by allowing them to use video technology to take the pill while supervised remotely by a doctor. But anti-choice lawmakers are waging a coordinated campaign against this practice, which they decry as “webcam abortion.” Just last week, Mississippi became the latest state to impose additional hurdles for women taking the pill, when Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed a measure requiring the physician to by physically present to prescribe RU-486 and the women to make an in-person follow-up appointment.

– Driving up the cost of the abortion pill. When lawmakers place unnecessary restrictions on the abortion pill, they don’t just force disadvantaged women to figure out how to make a potentially expensive trip to a clinic. They also often drive up the cost of the pill itself. Several of the measures designed to make it harder for abortion clinics to prescribe RU-486 actually require clinics to adhere to an outdated FDA standard for the pill. The old standard requires a higher dosage, and that higher dosage necessitates a higher price. Medical experts, including the World Health Organization, agree that there is no real health benefit to increasing the medication’s dosage.

She also notes that closing clinic doors adds travel expenses and forces women to get more expensive abortions later in pregnancy. They also attack insurance coverage of abortion and, of course, there’s the Hyde Amendment. All this is primarily about reserving abortion for those who can afford not just the doctor’s fee but the gas and the hotel and in same cases, the last minute airline ticket.

You’ll notice, too, that the attacks on contraception are mostly focused on making it less affordable, from trying to eliminate subsidized clinics where women can get cheap contraception to throwing a massive fit about mandatory contraception coverage in insurance packages. They’re working for a situation where the cost of not giving birth if you don’t want to is minimum $50 out of pocket a month and, if you get pregnant and need an abortion, it runs you at least $1,000, sometimes more. The point is to price the right to control your fertility out of the hands of lower income women. Since having babies you don’t want costs you a fortune in child care and lost opportunity costs, it’s basically a massive wall between lower income people and building better futures. If you remain confused about how the misogynist right fits in with the economic right, that there is your answer.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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