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Roe v Wade Overturned: The Financial Consequences

If a nation wanted to protect babies, you might believe that they would provide universal healthcare, affordable childcare and paid time off for parents after they have given birth. Instead, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to rescind the federally protected rights of Roe v Wade and deny people the ability to decide what they will do with their bodies, when to have children and whether or not they can control their health. Not only did this decision come with a huge emotional toll for people across the nation, but it is also expected to affect the financial health of the country.

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Caring for children financially

Caring for children is an emotional role as well as a financial one. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, raising a kid costs the average middle class, married family about $233,610. These costs can be burdensome to someone who was not prepared to take on the financial costs of parenthood. In fact, not being prepared has even greater consequences. According to a Turnaway Study, people who can’t obtain abortions see a spike in household poverty for at least four years after giving birth (when compared to those who can’t). In the U.S, the costs of childcare have risen dramatically in recent years and often require parents to take more time off from work to handle the demands of parenthood.

Many people falsely believe that the financial consequences will only affect those who get pregnant and are forced to carry a baby to term. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The partners of people who get pregnant will have to assist financially and that can be voluntary or involuntarily. In many states, the penalties for failure to provide child support include fines, jail time, and garnishment of wages. Being forced to care for children that people are not prepared for will affect everyone.

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Labor force participation

One way that everyone will be affected is through the labor force. The U.S has been struggling with a labor shortage in recent years and this reversal by the Supreme Court will likely make that struggle worse. People who are not prepared to have children often don’t have the funds for childcare. This means that many will have to temporarily or permanently leave the workforce to care for children.

The labor force has a strong demand for educated individuals. A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that young men who were involved with a pregnancy and whose partners had an abortion were nearly four times more likely to graduate from college than those whose partners gave birth. The link between earnings of those who graduate from college compared to those who don’t has been well documented and lower earnings will affect the nation as a whole. A 2014 study by the think tank Third Way found that mothers experience a “wage penalty” of 4% for each child. The impact is higher for low wage earners as opposed to higher wage earners.

Increased cost for safe abortions

It is worth noting that access to safe abortions will not be restricted across the country. Instead, it will be available in some states and not others. Not only will this cause many people to seek unsafe abortions, but those who do seek a safe abortion will have to travel and bear an increased financial burden to obtain one. Traveling for access to a safe abortion may also cause an increased need for time off. The right to choose is not only a fundamental right that should be guaranteed to everyone, it is also an economic right required to ensure equality.

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