Abortion in America: How The Right to Choose Became a Billion-Dollar Business | Opinion

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How abortion, once an emergency procedure, became a trendy, ridiculously profitable one.

It looks increasingly likely that Roe v. Wade will be overturned. If it is, then abortion will become illegal in at least 13 states. In response, a number of powerful companies, including the likes of Citi, Apple, Yelp, and Amazon, are offering to pay for employees to travel to access abortion care. However, if Mitch McConnell has his way, those looking to have an abortion will have to leave the country. In a recent interview with USA Today, the Senate minority leader said a national abortion ban is not out of the question.  Asked if a nationwide abortion ban is “worthy of debate,” McConnell responded, yes, “it’s possible.” If the leaked opinion becomes “the final opinion,” he said, “legislative bodies — not only at the state level but at the federal level — certainly could legislate in that area.”

Obviously concerned by McConnell’s comments, women across the country are scrambling to obtain abortion pills “in case they get pregnant,” according to CBS. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, and if a national ban does materialize, the effects will be profound. Even during the strictest of Covid lockdowns, states like Washington and Massachusetts declared abortion an essential service.

Why? It’s rather simple. Abortion is big business. Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England received $500,000 in federal money. From 2015 to 2019, the country averaged roughly 890,000 abortions per year. According to a recent Heritage Foundation report, Planned Parenthoods is a billion-dollar abortion business; it oversees the vast majority of abortions carried out in the United States. At the same time, as the researcher Melanie Israel has noted, “prenatal services at Planned Parenthood” have declined “by nearly 50% since 2013 and an astounding 90% since 2004.” In fact, Planned Parenthood “is providing less than a third of the cancer screening and prevention services it reported performing two decades ago.” Abortion is now its primary focus.

Telemedicine abortion startups are also profiting. Take Abortion On Demand (AOD), a new startup that, we’re told, “uses innovative technology to provide abortion pills to patients by mail in early pregnancy at an affordable price.” AOD now operates in 20 states and Washington D.C. In some states, telemedicine regulation is, at best, questionable; this explains why 19 states have already banned telemedicine abortion.

Nevertheless, as Politico recently reported, women across the country are reaching out to telemedicine companies, desperately seeking “advance provision” abortion pills,”  stocking up now “in case they need them later.” Moreover, concerned mothers are also placing orders “for their daughters in case the pills are needed later. ” The shelf life of abortion pills vary, with some expiring after 24 months, and others lasting as long as 6 years.

Abortion, it seems, has become something of an afterthought for many Americans. Numerous articles discuss the ease at which an abortion can be carried out, and how a woman can be back to “normal” after as little as 24 hours. Women even throw abortion parties now – you know, with DJs, alcohol, and tasty treats. Make of that what you will, but it shines a light on where society is at — and, more importantly, where it could be going.

However, to know where we’re at (and where we are heading), it helps to know how we got here in the first place. Rollo Tomassi, a best-selling author who has dedicated much of his professional life to researching trends in the world of dating and mating, told me that abortion has become a “failsafe for women’s poor reproductive decisions.” “Why do women fight so hard to keep abortion legal?” he asked. “The fact that all stigma of abortion has been replaced with pride and celebration” should be enough to illustrate that abortion has become “the lynchpin of women’s socio-political control.”

To some, I’m sure, his comment sounds crass. However, I contend, his points are entirely valid. Victims of sexual assault aside, the vast majority of sex that occurs in the US is consensual. If it takes two to tango, it also takes two to create another human being. Moreover, as I have stated elsewhere, American women now find 80% of American men unattractive. They don’t, under any circumstances, want to have their children. This, perhaps, helps explain why 1 in 4 women will have an abortion by the time they turn 45. The vast majority will be white, affluent, and college-educated. Abortion is now a “lifestyle choice,” and an increasing number of women (many of whom are white, affluent, and college-educated) are choosing their careers over motherhood. Sophie’s choice has become a no brainer.

Where should we draw the line?

In the US, abortion has become a zero-sum issue. Many on the left believe it should be legal across the country, available to all women, no questions asked. “My body, my choice,” they shout.  Many on the right, on the other hand, are in agreement with Mitch McConnell. If we are to draw a line – a hard line that most people on both sides of the political aisle can agree on – then it needs to be drawn at late term abortions, which take place anywhere between week 13 and 26 of a pregnancy. For those in favor of late term abortions, and for those who say a fetus doesn’t feel pain until at least the 24th week of pregnancy, let me point you in the direction of a 2020 study. Aptly titled “Reconsidering fetal pain,” the study was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Unlike other studies with clear, partisan agendas, this particular study saw a pro-life and a pro-choice researcher work together. Although the researchers disagreed on the morality of abortions, they both agreed that fetal pain does exist early in the pregnancy — as early the 12th week, to be precise.    

When discussing abortion, nuance is required. Unless you happen to live under a rock, you’ll notice that nuance is in short supply. As the aforementioned Tomassi told me, “abortion needs to be tackled from a pragmatic, empirical perspective.” Whatever your thoughts on abortion, it’s clear that it has gone from a procedure once accessed out of pure desperation to a somewhat glamorous, ridiculously profitable one. The way we view abortion is in need of a radical rethink.


Op-ed by John Mac Ghlionn 

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