Many women in the United States live in poverty and financial insecurity everyday. One of the less talked about causes of this is inadequate access to abortion and family planning services.
Women’s access to family planning, contraceptives and safe, legal abortion services is vital not only to their individual health and human rights, but it also plays a large role in a women’s socioeconomic status.
If there are little to no family planning and/or abortion services available , or if a low-income woman can’t afford to pay for a procedure or to travel to reach a free service, then she must face the repercussions of an unplanned pregnancy. These include preventing women from furthering their education and careers, which will ultimately affect her future income.
In Northern Ireland women have been prosecuted for having abortions when they lacked the funds to travel elsewhere in the country to legally terminate a pregnancy, clearly this demonstrates that link between financial resources and restricted access to services are having serious and disturbing ramifications for women in the UK too.
Women are much more likely to be poor than men. The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) points out that one in seven women in the US, and four in every 10 single-parent families headed by a woman, live in poverty. More than 18 million people in total, with 45% of those classified as being in “extreme” poverty.
Increasing access across the county to safe legal abortion and family planning services can decrease the poverty rate in the United States.