Mothers and the Market

by BRIAN J. FOLEY

Conservatives, God bless them, refuse to apply their beloved “market theory” to the issue of abortion.  They say they want to save unborn children, but they give pregnant women little incentive to carry a baby to term.

An abortion is inexpensive, at least relative to the cost of raising a child. Even if conservatives make it hard for women to abort safely – such as by enacting laws that force them to travel great distances; to notify parents or spouses (who might be abusive); make them watch fetal movies – a woman’s enduring these things is easier and less costly than raising a child.

Consider that without health insurance, a woman must pay thousands of dollars to have her baby in a hospital.  Ditto for prenatal care and health care for the mother and child for years to come.  Even Catholic hospitals don’t provide free heath care for a mother having her baby!

Food isn’t free.  And conservatives actually ridicule people who need food stamps.

Childcare isn’t free. This despite that most church basements and playgrounds are empty during weekdays. Churches could easily set up free childcare programs.  One conservative Catholic I asked about this said that his parish wouldn’t do it because of “insurance issues.” Surely the Vatican can cough up some of its jewel-encrusted gold chalices to buy insurance?

Why aren’t conservatives without children and conservative empty-nesters providing free childcare? Or arranging to adopt (or subsidize) the unwanted (or unaffordable) babies of pregnant women?

Education beyond high school isn’t free. The Catholic Church makes having children even more of an economic burden by charging tuition for elementary schools.

Many conservative laws criminally punish breast-feeding in public.

Conservatives often claim that people are motivated primarily by economic self-interest.  Why don’t they “incentivize” women to have their babies? Why isn’t motherhood made appealing economically, instead of a hardship?

Conservatives need to become more principled. They need to become hard-nosed realists.  They need to come down from their Ivory Towers and adopt a stance on abortion that coheres with their economic notions.

The solution, as with all things conservative, is a “market-based approach.”

Stay tuned for conservatives lobbying for free health care for mothers and children, free food for families with children, free education, and the right of mothers and babies to breast feed in public!

Then again, maybe conservatives don’t really want to save the unborn but just want to punish women for having sex.  (Or, like religious fundamentalists of all stripes, maybe they just hate women.)  We’ve all heard countless conservatives tell women, “Sex has consequences,” meaning negative consequences, meaning a baby is a bad thing.  Anyone who thinks that way can’t really love children – born or unborn.

Conservatives seem OK with being called heartless.  What might rile them up, though, is pointing out that when they try to stop abortion without stopping their war on women and babies, they reveal they’re truly clueless about how the “free market” actually works.

Brian J. Foley is the author of A New Financial You in 28 Days! A 37-Day Plan (Gegensatz Press 2011). He can be reached at:  brian_j_foley@yahoo.com

Will Falk moved to the West Coast from Milwaukee, WI where he was a public defender.

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