Will an abortion make them magically wealthy? Will an abortion end her employment in the sex trade? Will an abortion find them child care arrangements for their other children? The majority of unplanned pregnancies are red flags that a woman’s life, not just her pregnancy, isn’t going the way she planned.
It seems that abortion proponents are happy to overlook this blazing neon sign, and instead believe that lower income women just aren’t educated or don’t have enough access to birth control to prevent a pregnancy from happening. But does sex ed and birth control at an early age really break the cycle?
Teenage pregnancy is linked to several risk factors. Being poor, living in a single-parent household, child abuse, and risky behaviors such as drug abuse and early or unprotected sex are all predictors of whether a teenager will become pregnant (Kirby 1997*; Dillard*).
It seems that being poor doesn’t just lead to more unintended pregnancies but also to an earlier age of sexual activity. And if this isn’t desirable for us as a society, then birth control is not the answer. Something fundamental must change, especially as poor women are at a higher risk of sexual violence.
Poor women and girls may be more at risk of rape in the course of their daily tasks than those who are better off, for example when they walk home on their own from work late at night, or work in the fields or collect firewood alone. Children of poor women may have less parental supervision when not in school, since their mothers may be at work and unable to afford child care. The children themselves may, in fact, be working and thus vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Poverty forces many women and girls into occupations that carry a relatively high risk of sexual violence, particularly sex work. It also creates enormous pressures for them to find or maintain jobs, to pursue trading activities and, if studying, to obtain good grades all of which render them vulnerable to sexual coercion from those who can promise these things. Poorer women are also more at risk of intimate partner violence, of which sexual violence is often a manifestation.
The answer is not to sterilize these women and children so that their exploitation doesn’t lead to an unintended pregnancy, the answer is to stop and condemn the exploitation and violence.by