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Economy DOWN = Abortions, vasectomies UP

Economy DOWN = Abortions, vasectomies UPThough it’s too early to produce long-term research, anecdotal evidence is linking the struggling economy with more abortions and vasectomies. Why? People simply can’t afford more kids right now.

Former president of the American Urological Association and practicing urologist Lawrence Ross said the number of men seeking vasectomies had remained consistent over the years–about 500,000 a year. But in the last six months or so, he has seen a 50% increase. His patients’ reasons make sense. If you’ve been thinking about it, and now you are worried about losing your job and insurance benefits–get it done while you still can.

Ross also says men who weren’t previously thinking of vasectomies have new motivation. “A lot of them are saying that we’ve decided to limit our family, the costs of education and raising kids is so high.”

Vasectomies may have remained at constant levels. But abortion rates definitely fluctuate. (The numbers of tubal ligations or other female sterilization procedures may be a better comparison. But such data was not compared.) In 2005, when the economy was great, abortion rates were down to their lowest numbers since it was legalized. Now, they are up again. One woman interviewed for the initial report said, “I felt I had to go through with the procedure because I cannot afford another child.” The 32-year old woman is a registered nurse, but she is single and feels her job is not secure.

The president of an abortion hotline says their phone has been “ringing off the hook.” She says some of the issues that low-income women have always cited as reasons for abortion–their husbands or boyfriends are unemployed, uninsured, or are afraid of losing their home–are now affecting middle-class women.

I do not personally support abortion. But I can absolutely see why some people would choose to limit their family size right now. I know that economics was part of the decision when my husband and I started talking about having another baby. This was a few years ago. And at the time, the nation’s economy was doing great. But my personal economy was more the issue. How would we make it financially if I took a year off? Of course, my husband said if you wait until you can afford kids, you’ll never have them. He’s right, of course. But I was still nervous. I’m glad we expanded our family when we did. I’m not sure I would have wanted to make that decision today.

What about you? Is an uncertain economy a factor in expanding (or limiting) your family size?


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