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Why Abortion in America has become a Social Problem

"Conflict theorists emphasize the inevitability of coercion, domination, conflict, and change in society. The conflict perspective is based on the idea that society consists of different groups who struggle with one another to attain the scare societal resources that are considered valuable, be they money, power, prestige, or the authority to impose one's values on society. For the conflict theorist, a social problem exists when a group of people, believing that it's interests are not being met, or that it is not receiving a sufficient share of resources, works to overcome what it perceives as a disadvantage.

Before 1973, abortion was illegal in America unless the woman's health was threatened. If medically contraindicated, a woman could choose to not carry the baby to term, a doctor could perform the abortion, and it would not be a crime.

In March of 1970, Jane Roe, a single woman who was residing in Dallas County, Texas, instituted this federal action against the District Attorney of the county. She sought a declaratory judgment that the Texas criminal abortion statutes were unconstitutional on their face, and an injunction restraining the defendant from enforcing the statutes.

Jane Roe alleged that she was unmarried and pregnant; that she wished to terminate her pregnancy by an abortion "performed by a competent, licensed physician, under safe clinical conditions"; that she was unable to get a "legal" abortion in Texas because her life did not appear to be threatened by the continuation of her pregnancy; and that she could not afford to travel to another jurisdiction in order to secure a legal abortion under safe conditions. She claimed that the Texas statutes were unconstitutionally vague and that they abridged her right of personal privacy, protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. By an amendment to her complaint Roe purported to sue "on behalf of herself and all other women" similarly situated.

So you can see that the original idea was that women who truly did not want a baby, should not have to have one. While pregnancy may be a blessed act when planned or wanted, forced pregnancy, like any forced bodily invasion, is anathema to American values and traditions. In the same way that it would be unacceptable for Government to force a man or a woman to donate bone marrow, or to compel the contribution of a kidney to another, or to compel women to undergo abortion or forced sterilization, our Constitution protects women against forced pregnancy.

So the Supreme Court looked hard into the facts and evidence at the time, and decided Jane Roe was right, and that this infringed upon her right to privacy as an American, and decreed that women had the right to a legal abortion on demand. Modern thinking women everywhere were overjoyed by this decision. It was seen as a large step forward for women's rights. It is 25 years since Roe vs. Wade, and abortion remains one of the most contentious issues of our time. As a symbol of women's rights, the 1973 Supreme Court decision was almost as important to women as the suffrage amendment of half a century earlier, and almost as controversial. It has freed women from fear, from dependency, from the threat of injury and ill health, and it gave them a new power to shape their own lives.

The social ramifications of Roe, as well as the medical and moral ones, have continued to galvanize both sides. Those who thought the historic 7-2 decision settled the issue once and for all were, it turns out, naively optimistic. Abortion has become the most emotional, most explosive political topic of the decade.

Abortion was available in the years before 1973. The difference was that when women decided they needed an abortion before 'Roe vs Wade', they risked death, pain, serious injury, sterility and criminal prosecution. Since the legalization of abortion, the procedure has become much safer, cheaper and more commonly performed.

As legalized abortion has become an everyday part of American life, a different side to it has emerged. Where women once were aborting because they 'did not want a child', the reasons being given now are becoming very different. Abortion has turned into something that women are being coerced into from boyfriends/husbands unwilling to be fathers, out of fear of the financial pressure, out of panic from losing their jobs, out of panic from having to quit school, or become homeless, or out of fear of their parents kicking them out into the street.

Abortion for these reasons can lead to Post Abortion Stress Syndrome. P.A.S.S is a type of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which develops when a woman is unable to work through her emotional responses resulting from the trauma of an abortion. P.A.S.S. can have many serious side effects, ranging from depression to eating disorders, to as severe as suicide. There are women who abort and do so completely of their own free will. These women have no regrets, no remorse, and are happy they had this choice available. But a growing number of women are speaking up about how abortion affected them adversely.

Women who need help when they are pregnant and poor are labeled "Welfare Mothers" and have a stigma attached to them. The fathers who helped in the conception of these pregnancies don't have the same discrimination. They may be referred to as 'deadbeat dads', but they still are gone, leaving the woman to care for the child alone. Women are left with the ultimate responsibility, both physical and economical. Child support can be pursued and received, but this oftentimes antagonizes the male even more towards the unwanted pregnancy and can create an atmosphere where he chooses to avoid the child completely, out of anger and frustration from the whole situation.

Many women report that they were directly threatened by the father of the baby, insisting that they abort. Underage women report that their parents 'made' them have an abortion, telling them "Abort or leave the house". To a young woman still in high school, staying pregnant and becoming homeless is very scary and overwhelming. These young women abort, because they feel they have no other choice.

Do men really do this? Do they push or threaten a woman into an abortion? The following article discusses how a pro-choice male could view abortion.

"By vesting all reproductive responsibility in the woman, a pro-choice male creates a situation in which men can easily rationalize their irresponsibility toward women who choose not to abort. As Daniel Callahan puts it, ``If legal abortion has given women more choice, it has also given men more choice as well. They now have a potent new weapon in the old business of manipulating and abandoning women.`` Given that 80 percent of all abortions are sough by single women (according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute) the advent of reproductive rights has created a situation in which a man can coerce a woman to have an abortion by denying his responsibility towards her, or even abandoning her when she gets pregnant and ``chooses`` to carry the pregnancy to term.

According to feminist legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon, ``Sexual liberation in this sense does not free women, it frees male sexual aggression. The availability of abortion thus removes the one remaining legitimized reason that women had for refusing sex besides the headache.``

The anecdotal evidence for this interpretation is compelling. Consider an encounter captured in the CBS documentary ``The Vanishing Family: Crisis in Black America`` shown on January 26, 1986. The scene is a ghetto in Newark, New Jersey and journalist Bill Moyers is speaking to Timothy, a man in his early thirties who has fathered six children to four different women.

MOYERS: People out there watching are going to say, ``Why didn't he think about this [his responsibility] before he brought six kids into the world?``

TIMOTHY: Well, the mother had a choice. She could have an abortion or she could have the child. She decided she wanted to have the child, so therefore, I guess its not sweating her.

MOYERS: So do you think it's her fault she got pregnant?

TIMOTHY: Well, maybe, maybe not. I say, ``Mamma's baby, Papa's maybe.`` Ya know what I mean?

MOYERS: (later in the interview) Would you have had all these kids if you had thought about it?

TIMOTHY: No.

Empirical studies have also demonstrated that male coercion and pressure play a sizable role in many women's abortion decisions. A survey from the Medical College of Ohio, for example, examined 150 women who ``identified themselves as having poorly assimilated the abortion experience.`` Of the 81 women who responded, more than one-third felt they had been coerced into having an abortion. Fewer than one-third initially considered the abortion themselves.

In cases where women initially chose to bear the child, their male partners were opposed to the decision by a margin of eight to one. In all of these cases, the man withdrew his support for his partner ``thereby eliminating that alternative.``

Even in Carol Gilligan`s famous study _In a Different Voice_, not all of the women's abortion decisions she recounts were independent. Male coercion played an important role in about one-third of the cases cited. The men in the women's lives were unwilling to provide their partners with the moral and material support for pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing. As one of Gilligan`s respondents noted, ``He made me feel I had once choice to make and that it was to have an abortion and I could always have children another time, and he made me feel if I didn't it would drive us apart.``

In all these cases, the logic goes something like this: since the man was willing to pay for an abortion, and since the woman had a constitutional right to get one even if he wished to prevent it, by her failure to obtain an abortion she took sole responsibility for the child. Therefore, the reasoning concludes, the man should not be liable for any child support.

Permissive abortion policy has created a climate where men can enjoy sexual relations with little or no concern for their consequences. Abortion is often misrepresented as solely a women's issue; clearly, however, it is a men's issue as well as long as men are interested in protecting their sexual liberty."

From my posted survey results, here are some excerpts of what some women said. These are women who had abortions, and now are suffering from P.A.S.S.

Sierra, age: 24
He was willing to support either decision but also was pressuring me towards an abortion. So I felt I had no choice. I had the abortion. Within a month and a half, I lost approx. 20lbs. We were on and off for two months following then had a huge fight over nothing and didn't speak for 6 months. We have tried working things out on a friendship level but there is too much anger still there., I know of women who have had abortion and have said it was "No big deal", like it's a rite of passage in to womanhood or something. This has been a very big deal for me. It has been a little over a year, and I still think about it everyday, a couple of times a day. You don't really ever hear much about the after affects in all the counseling that they tell you about.

Annette, age 18:
I was only 16 and was already having a hard enough time trying to keep a job. Throughout my whole life, my dad would always say that if I ever got pregnant young then it would ruin my life. Also, my boyfriend was not there for me emotionally. He pretty much told me that I had to get one. The first thing the father of the baby said when I told him was, "You have to get an abortion." "I'll have to talk to you later." and hung up the phone. He told me that he didn't want this to ruin his life or mine. I didn't want to get it, and tried to come up with other resolutions like adoption, but he wouldn't allow me to do that. He kept telling me that he wouldn't let me. That it was the wrong thing to do. Also, he didn't want it to ruin our lives. So I had the abortion. And now I am devastated, depressed, constantly sick and hating myself. I wish I could go back and keep my baby. After my birthday, I broke up with him. I want to know if I am suffering from something, and if I am, I want to get help because it is making my life real difficult right now. I feel like I should have never been born, and I wish to die sometimes. I also feel that the whole world is against me. Ever since I got pregnant, the father of the baby changed dramatically.

Eve, age 45:
He just refused to have anything to do with the child. It's been nearly 13 years. Not a day goes by that I don't think about it. I turned to alcohol soon after, and began drinking on a daily basis, so I didn't have to think about the abortion. I lost jobs, lost my apartment, and my life became a shambles. I have suffered from nightmares since the second year after the abortion. It's always the same, and always twice a year. A child--a boy--stands with his arms open. I can't reach him. He looks at me and sadly keeps saying...why? Why? Why? I wake up usually soon after. The dreams end after a few days and return during the weeks of April 15th (the date of the abortion) and December 15th (due date)...I never forgave him (boyfriend) for convincing me to abort. It ruined my life.

May, age 23:
It was a decision that I was coerced into. He was scared but happy until his family found out. Then they decided what was best. it was not until there were other people involved that he started pushing for an abortion. He said his family was right, that he would have no future and it was ruining his life. I could not believe I went through four months of pregnancy, planning, and doctors visits to hear him say that. He even had his mother take me from my house to the clinic and make sure i did not leave. His family only saw the monetary impact that having a child would have on their son. I used to just drink on New Year's Eve, but now I drink heavily on the weekends and once a day on the weekdays. I used to get sick in just the fall but now I constantly feel like I have the flu. I think I eat more now. I have gained 30 pounds since then and I know I eat more junk-food when I am depressed. ( which has been off and on, the majority on, for three years) Sex is painful now. I can't become aroused and it is emotionally devastating. I would rather not ever have sex again but my husband, I love him dearly, does not feel the way I do. I felt violent towards my husband and suicidal towards myself. I am extremely upset that the counseling given at these clinics is so pitiful. And the sheet of paper that they make you sign saying you are not being forced into the abortion is signed in the lobby in front of the people that may be forcing you. Further more when a young woman goes in there crying hysterically and saying it hurts so much, and that she does not want to do this, the doctors should sit down with that individual and counsel her, without anyone else, well maybe a nurse, there. The counseling process should start from the time the appointment is made and continued after the procedure is done.

From Kate, age 25:
My husband threatened to leave me if I didn't. I was hurt, very angry, and upset. I was so scared at the time, and felt I had no choice. How could I survive, financially, if I left my husband? So I stayed, and had the abortion.
Then I was obsessed with becoming pregnant again. We lasted six more months before we broke up, and now I feel guilty, angry, upset and depressed about the abortion. I am with a new man, and pregnant with a new baby, but it is not helping with the abortion. If anything, I feel MORE guilty about what I did.

From Elizabeth, age 27:
I wanted to save the relationship with my boyfriend and he was really against having a the baby. I made the choice of my own free will but he convinced me. He was got really angry when I told him that I didn't know if I could go through with it. If I could do it over- I wouldn't have had it. After taking RU-486, I bled for eight weeks and just gave him oral sex during that time at his urgings. I felt like a whore and didn't feel sexual at all- but I was emotionally needy after the abortion and was afraid he would leave. I was so depressed and resentful of his pressure to have the abortion. I have turned to alcohol, and sometimes drugs. I cannot function normally at all anymore. Letting him push me into the abortion was the worst thing that I ever did in my life.

From Rosalind, age 27:
3 years after , I don't see how anyone could go through this experience more than once! Once nearly destroyed me and 7 years after the fact I still think about my loss and am very angry and depressed from time to time. If my ex-boyfriend had not pushed it as an option I would be a young parent today, Not that I'd be in better shape or happier, but at least I may be able to live with myself! It's also hard in that I didn't tell anyone, therefore I had no support except for the baby's father who did not think it was a big deal at all! It just made the problem go away, no effect whatsoever except for maybe relief on his part. He pulled away from me when I needed the most support of all and he all but called me crazy when I brought it up after the fact!!!!!!

From Anna, age 31:
We have always had a difficult relationship, but it has become worse in that it is more poignant. I basically did it for him - I had no choice - and now I feel he has abandoned me too. We first broke up within the first month after the abortion. Then got back together and broke up again after about 3 months, I wish I had been able to talk to people about it all more rationally. It would have been nice to have had familial support. I felt very alone, I was very ill with morning sickness and depression. I found out I was pregnant at the start of my world trip and as a result had to come home secretly to have the termination since Matt was so adamant that is what should happen. I am bitter that I had to pay for half of the expenses. I am angry that he made me lots of promises and didn't keep any of them. I am pissed off because I have suffered enormously over the last 12 months and as a result of my depression, most have my friends have disappeared from view, unable to cope with me. More counseling at the time would have helped and more realistic information about being a single mom. The thought of being on welfare in was too horrific! I regret all the heartache the situation caused and the turmoil it has caused in my life. I think he has used it as an excuse. Because I am depressed, he finds it difficult to cope with me.

I believe much of the conflict arises because of economics. Men who are having difficulty supporting themselves become overwhelmed at the thought of suddenly increasing their financial problems by having a woman and child to support. A current and tragic example is the case of the father who injected his 11 month old son with the AIDS virus, to avoid having to pay child support. The stress of being threatened with desertion by the male who cannot handle the financial and emotional pressure that an unexpected pregnancy puts on him, pushes these women into abortion. It's much cheaper, faster, and then the problem is 'gone'.

Public opinion towards low income women who need help is not very positive. Witness the "Welfare Reform Act of 1996". This act mandated that any woman receiving welfare be working 35 hours a week or more at a wage paying job. So for a young woman of low income in college, pregnancy means she must abort, or drop out of college and work a wage paying job and take the baby to daycare all week. Since she was in college, we can assume her wage will be around the minimum wage level, so she will barely be able to support herself. When will she have the time to finish her education, and get a career that she wants, or that pays a decent wage? Probably in 7 years, when the child enters full time school. Provided she has no more additional children in that time period. So what does this say to young women? Our society wants you to have an abortion. The Welfare Reform Act also cuts off benefits for any additional children born after the recipient begins receiving welfare benefits. What does that say? Have an abortion, or lose money. There is a public perception that 'Welfare Mothers' are continually having children. However many states with high welfare benefits have lower fertility among welfare recipients than states with low welfare benefits. (Rank, 1994). In addition, women on welfare actually have a lower birthrate than nonwelfare women of equivalent age and social standing. As for the argument that welfare breeds dependency and increases poverty, political scientist Sanford Schram (1991) presents data showing the opposite: when welfare spending declines, the poverty rate tends to go up.

How about in employment? Is being fired because you become pregnant a real threat anymore?

Consider the case of actress Hunter Tylo, who became pregnant while preparing for her role on the television show "Melrose Place". The producers decided to fire her, when she refused to have an abortion. The show claimed that she could not fulfill her role as a 'seductress' while pregnant. I don't know about you, but I have occasionally watched 'Melrose Place", and other 'soap operas'. They come up with ludicrous, plot-hole filled stories all the time! So they are trying to tell me they couldn't think of any story line that could still utilize Ms. Tylo while pregnant? Her planned story was to steal one woman's husband away from her. It would have been easy to write it in like this:
The husband and wife, 'Peter' and 'Amanda', have a stormy relationship anyway, with frequent fights. They could have created a flashback where Peter went out one night after a fight, and ended up sleeping with Ms. Tylo's character, and then Ms. Tylo could show up pregnant, with the child from that 'one night stand'. That would be just as interesting. It seems clear that the producers of the show were angry with Ms. Tylo's unexpected pregnancy, and more angry when she refused their instructions to have an abortion. The court decision for this case is listed below.

Hunter Tylo Awarded Damages For "Melrose Place"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A jury Monday awarded actress Hunter Tylo nearly $5 million for emotional distress and economic loss after finding that she was fired from the TV show "Melrose Place" because she became pregnant. The jury found that the show's producers breached their contract with the actress and that she would have been able to perform her role as a "vixen" on the night-time soap opera even though she became pregnant after being hired. "All I wanted to hear (from the jury) was that pregnancy is not a bona fide occupational (dis)qualification," a delighted Tylo told reporters outside the Los Angeles Superior Court. "I wanted to hear that yes, indeed, I could, and can do the job." One of her lawyers, Gloria Allred, said Tylo would make "a substantial contribution" to women's rights efforts "to help pregnant women discriminated (against) on the job." The jury of two men and 10 women -- one of whom is pregnant -- deliberated for more than four days in the case. It awarded Tylo $4 million for emotional distress and $894,601 for economic loss.

Tylo, who was fired from "Melrose Place" in April 1996 after she told producers that she was pregnant and before she appeared in a single episode, was seeking at least $2.5 million in damages for her claims of pregnancy discrimination, wrongful termination and breach of contract. Lawyers for Spelling Television and Spelling Entertainment Group, both run by Hollywood mogul Aaron Spelling -- said they would appeal the verdict. They had contended during the trial that Tylo's condition would have made her too fat to play the role of Taylor McBride, a "vixen" bent on seducing star Heather Locklear's on-screen husband. They argued her contract forbade a "material change" in her appearance. In closing arguments last week, Spelling lawyer William Waldo told jurors that Tylo, star of the daytime soap opera "The Bold and The Beautiful," filed her lawsuit as a negotiating tool and to gain publicity. REUTERS

So we can see that there is pressure for women to abort, both from unwilling partners, economic difficulties, and discrimination. But how serious is Post Abortion Stress Syndrome? Much more serious than the public realizes.

I have been researching this with my web site, and have found out some interesting things about why woman have been aborting, and how they handle it afterwards. When a woman chooses to abort for reasons other than a true desire to NOT have a child, serious emotional complications can arise. They can range from general depression, physical illness, and avoidance of anything baby-related, to alcohol and drug abuse, over-eating or under-eating, irresponsible sexual behavior, to complete disruption of a woman's life, and even suicide. Some women become obsessed with 'replacing' the aborted baby with a new pregnancy. Many are unable to deal with or take care of their existing children. Here is a news article about a tragic case of a mother who aborted a child for the boyfriend's wishes, and then tragically broke down when he changed his mind afterwards.

Abortion Leads to Infanticide in Tragic Colorado Case

DENVER --
A neighbor says Erika Arroyo and her son were inseparable, and by all accounts she never was a child abuser.
But then came the day that Ms. Arroyo allegedly set out to kill the 3-year-old boy.
Police say she fed the boy a cocktail of prescription and over-the-counter drugs cooked up in a saucepan. When that didn't kill young Armando Villalobos, she drowned him in the bathtub, according to homicide Detective David E. Neil. Prosecutors are set to argue that she killed her son Sept. 4 because her boyfriend gave her an ultimatum: Stay with him, or with me. Ms. Arroyo, 22, will be arraigned Monday in Denver District Court on charges of first-degree murder. The delay came because she initially was arraigned in county court, then bound over to the higher court. Prosecutors want her sentenced to life in prison without parole if she's convicted.

``I've never had a case where the defendant was so outspoken and clear on what she was doing and why she was doing it,'' prosecutor Sheila Rappaport said. A mother who kills a child often has been abusive before and takes it a step too far in a fit of rage. But the coroner found no signs of previous violence. And there are no records of abuse complaints against Arroyo in Denver or in El Paso, Texas, where she lived before fleeing Armando's father.`To me she looked like a very good mother,'' said Anita Gonzalez, manager of the building where Ms. Arroyo and new boyfriend Cesar Barajas, 23, rented an apartment in June.
``The kid was always well dressed, his hair combed all the time,'' said Gonzalez, who lived down the hall from their dark basement apartment, which contained a small black-and-white TV and ``not a stick of furniture.''

``They were always together, the mother and son,'' she said. ``And then on weekends you'd see the three of them going out together, Patricio and the little boy and the lady.''Things changed a week before Armando died.
Ms. Arroyo aborted Barajas' child, both she and Barajas have said. Barajas, who hasn't been charged, said that afterward he told Arroyo the sight of Armando -- another man's son -- would always remind him of his unborn child. According to Neil, ``Cesar said, `Well, I'll accept you back, but I will not accept your child. You rejected mine so I'm rejecting yours,' Barajas said he meant only that Ms. Arroyo should give Armando to the boy's father or to her parents.

Ms. Arroyo's public defender would not comment. Rappaport and the other prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Deann Conroy, said they expect her to plead innocent by reason of insanity. Conroy said the premeditation allegation would make an insanity defense difficult. But some who knew Ms. Arroyo feel that's the only possible explanation. ``I really think she did go crazy there for a while,'' said Gonzalez. A combination of stresses can spark deadly violence in a parent who has not been abusive before, said Dr. Patti Rosquist, a pediatrician with the Kempe Child Protection Team in Denver who is not involved with Ms. Arroyo's case.``The boyfriend's ultimatum, the isolation, the abortion -- all of them are risks that are common, but here it seems they all came together,'' said Rosquist.


That is an upsetting story! One woman who wrote me about my site told me that it is 'wrong', because I am blaming the abortion industry, or America, for things that women should find out about for themselves. "All the information is out there", she stated, "and if women let themselves be pushed, or didn't look up all the facts first, then it's their own fault, and they have no one to blame but themselves! No one held a gun to their heads, and MADE them abort. They walked into that clinic of their own free will." I wrote this to her, in response:

"As I listen to the States and normal people compile longer and larger cases against the Tobacco Industry, it intrigues me. You could look at smoking, and say "Well, if you look for the facts, they are out there; that smoking is addictive, that it causes many health problems. Smoking can cause physical and emotional problems, you can have trouble with your family, if they want you to stop smoking, and you don't want to... But why blame the "Tobacco Industry" for something that is your own fault? Nobody put a gun to your head, and made you smoke, did they? You knew what you were doing! Why blame the Tobacco Industry for something you did, something that you chose to do?"But the United States Government is saying that you can. They have joined up with private citizens, to sue the Tobacco Companies!

So just like people can blame Tobacco companies for the smoker's problems, I believe we can blame society for the increased pressure on young women to abort. I believe we have to reawaken our society, and realize we must take a hard second look at what we are pushing our young women into. By denying easy availability of health care to average income Americans, by not providing high quality, free/low cost daycare for children, by not giving more financial/housing/food stamp assistance to young women/young mothers in need, we are putting the gun to their head, and telling them to get an abortion! We are saying, in essence;

"Your gift to the future of Society, of a child, is unimportant. We only want children from people who are well off enough to afford them themselves. Anyone with low to average income could not possibly have a child that would benefit our society. Abort it or pay for it yourself. So you can't afford $125 a week for daycare for an infant? Too bad. So you have no Health insurance? Not our problem. Get a better job, and keep your legs closed next time. Yes, you will pay taxes that benefit everyone, but when it comes to pregnant women and children, we draw the line. Your worth as a woman in America is defined by how much you do for yourself. If you need assistance, then we will make life difficult for you. After all, you chose to have that baby. You did the 'selfish, irresponsible thing' by keeping it. You should have just had that easy, 'relief' inducing abortion, and made life easier on all of us!"

Americans feel like people should take care of their own lives, the government should not be too large, or intervene too much, and people are increasingly worried about their taxes, and 'entitlements'. But consider this:
The government of the United States admits there comes a time when some of it's citizens cannot provide for themselves, and need help. These people need money from the government, in order to provide themselves with food, clothing, shelter. The government recognizes that it would be almost impossible for these people to survive without help. The government pays these people to stay home and not work, to take care of their special needs.

What am I talking about? Social Security. The government realizes that elderly people reach a point where they can no longer work. These people have contributed over the years, through tax money from their jobs. So now, when they need help, the government is there for them. So why is our government not willing to be there for our young women, when they become pregnant? Is a young woman and her unborn infant less valuable than a man who's 65? Shouldn't a pregnant woman be considered valuable? Shouldn't her act of bearing and raising a child be important? Just as our government is willing to help an elderly person for many years, shouldn't they be just as willing to help the woman and her infant for a few years? Wouldn't it be better for America if we would honor and respect women's miraculous ability to bear children, and keep humanity going? Would it be too much to ask, for the government to help out women who want to stay home with their children for the first 5 years? Considering one elderly person may live 30 years after retiring, for the same cost, you could allow 6 young women to have a baby, and care for it themselves until the child is ready to start school. Now of course the wealthy or 'well off' in America won't like this plan. Why? Because this dilemma does not exist for them. If their daughters or sisters become pregnant, they can afford to take care of them, let the girl live with them, pay her medical costs, pay the baby's expenses, pay for a babysitter if their daughter wants to go back to school, or work. The wealthy people of America are making sure that their children don't suffer, that their children are well taken care of. You won't find many rich young women suffering from Post Abortion Stress. That's because they had a real choice, and not an economic one.

For thousands of years, women have become pregnant in their teens and early twenties, and the babies they bore grew up to be the next generation of the human race. They became the Doctors, Bakers, Scientists, Carpenters, Teachers, Politicians, Leaders ect. of their generations. However in the last 25 years, our society has changed. Should young women who are pregnant have to give up their schooling if they want to continue it? No. Should the government provide the daycare? Yes. Should the government pay if the woman wants to stay home and care for her baby herself? Yes. Why? Because a mother takes the best care of her child. A mother who wants to be with her baby, but can't be, will be having a very difficult time at work.

I can see the childless, single person right now saying "Why should the government use my money to pay women to stay home with their babies? I'm not getting any benefit out of that!" Well yes, you are. Because the babies of today become the adults of tomorrow who will run the world that you live in. The child of that "Welfare Mother" may just grow up to be the scientist who finds the cure for cancer, which may save your life. When you are older, they will be the doctors who take care of you, the clerks who sell you food in the grocery store, the farmer who grows the food, the mechanic who fixes your car. The government is already 'giving your money' to elderly people, both men and women. Because of the way our social security system is run, we are always a little behind. We need the young people of today , who are working and paying taxes, to keep being able to pay the elderly people who are getting payments now. So is it out of line to put some government money out now, to help pregnant mothers and infants? If given a good start, these children will grow up to be productive adults, and that small investment when they were in utero and infants will be more than paid back later as they contribute to society as adults.

The conflict comes because the politicians and mainstream society thinks that it is easy, and acceptable, for women to 'abort' any child that they cannot support themselves. They are not admitting that there is a large emotional and physical toll being taken on these young women, who are aborting not because they 'don't want the child', but because they feel desperate, and forced into the decision. What about other modern, industrialized countries? How do they view women, pregnancy and abortion?

"Regarding families and children, social policy in the Unites States has historically been very laissez-faire, leaving people to get by on their own with little assistance from the government. This contrasts sharply with virtually all other advanced industrial nations, where social policies are based on a consensus that everyone benefits when families and their children are supported.(Kammerman, 1991; Kammerman and Kahn, 1991). These nations take responsibility for protecting children, providing good early childhood education, serving children with special needs, supporting mothers' desires to continue working, maintaining family income during and after the birth of a child, and encouraging a birth rate that at least maintains the current population size.

To achieve these goals, most industrial nations make publicly funded preschools universally available to children beginning at age three, and continuing until the child enters school, irrespective of the parents' income or work status. In France and Belgium, for example, the preschools are publicly financed and operated as an integral part of the educational system. All children are eligible, beginning some time after their second birthday, and the schools are free, with parents paying only for things like lunch or certain after school programs. Similar programs are found in many other countries, including Israel and Hungary. In Sweden and Finland, preschools are separate from the school system, and are heavily subsidized by the government, although parents do pay some fees if they can afford them.

All children are eligible for these programs until compulsory school attendance begins at age 7, and the government enforces strict standards regarding such things as staff-child ratio, and teacher qualifications. Such preschool education is coming to be viewed as many of these European nations as a 'right' of citizenship, just as one has a right to basic education. Almost all advanced industrial nations also provide some level of maternity or parenting leave that enables one or both parents to stay home with their infant for a period after birth. These programs permit the parents to receive some level of their previous income while on leave and protect their job until they return to work. In France, for example, women are given a six week leave before delivery, and ten weeks after delivery, all with pay, and business leaders seem unconcerned about it's effects on worker productivity or corporate profits. French parents can also take two years off after having a child without worrying about whether their job will be there when they return.

While child care programs are much more limited in these countries than are the infant and preschool programs, child care is increasingly being seen as a public responsibility, and an entitlement for children. In addition to these programs, most industrial nations also provide publicly funded health care and housing allowances to families, paid leave to care for sick children, and sometimes even the direct subsidization of family incomes to reduce the economic disparity between those who choose to have children, and those who choose to remain childless."

So it's obvious that the United States stands alone in their view that pregnant women and parents with infants and young children should take care of all their needs themselves. My solution to this conflict is that our government take a more 'European' view of childbearing and care of young children, and increase support in this area. If we do not take steps to provide more support for our young women, and their pregnancies and childbearing, I believe that Post Abortion Stress Syndrome will rise to the level of a national epidemic, with serious consequences for Society as a whole.




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