Abortion empowers women. Abortion allows women to pick the time at which they choose to have children. Abortion allows women to pick the partner who will co-parent the children they have. Abortion results in children having better educated, more emotionally grounded, and more financially secure parents.
Stress during pregnancy is thought to be one of the causes of developmental delays for infants. Stress during pregnancy contributes to babies born underweight and/or pre-term. Post partum depression has long term effects on mother-infant bonding and can also contribute to developmental delays. Older children have lower IQ's if their mothers experienced depression in the first few months after pregnancy.
Approximately one out of every three women will have an abortion.
About one quarter of all pregnancies in the US end in abortion.
That is 1.3 million pregnancies per year. It is unlikely that, if abortion were made illegal, so many annual pregnancies could be absorbed by families and/or single persons looking to adopt. This would result in babies being raised by unwilling parents, or raised by the state, in foster care or the resurgence of group homes/orphanages (there are already approximately 150,000 children in foster care who are not likely to be adopted). A disproportionate number of these surplus unadopted babies would be non-white and/or non-healthy.
Here is an analysis by Craig Duncan, a philosopy & religion professor at Ithaca college discussing what the absorption rate of currently aborted babies might be into families who are seeking to adopt:
the supply of unwanted babies would surely increase dramatically if abortion were made illegal. Just to make things concrete, suppose that increased abstinence and increased care with contraceptives led to 20% fewer unwanted pregnancies a year, and that of the unwanted pregnancies that still arise, fully 1/3 of the pregnant women decide to keep their babies. Starting from the current baseline of 1.2 million abortions a year, these changes would still mean an increase of 640,000 babies put up for adoption per year, in addition to the 120,000 that are already put up per year. Would there be enough demand to handle 760,000 unwanted babies a year—over 6 times more than there are now? If we rely on the (somewhat optimistic, I think) figure from above positing 400,000 adoption seekers a year, that still leaves 360,000 babies—almost half—left over per year.
The analysis does not consider that, under current law in most states, birth fathers have the same legal rights as birth mothers. A pregnancy can result in sex between a woman and a man whom the woman believes she does not want to raise a child with (the man could be married, or incarcerated, or violent, or an alcoholic, or be the woman's father/uncle/priest/brother, or he could have raped the women
). But in most states, if a woman becomes pregnant and such a man is the father, if abortion is not an option, the woman has to either co-parent the baby with the birth father, or she has to relinquish the child to the sole custody of the father (and presumably pay child support) if the father will not relinquish his parental rights.
Each year, an estimated 32,000 women in the United States become pregnant as a result of rape. Of those women, many decide to terminate their pregnancies, rather than cope with the psychological torment of going through the pregnancy. Many others, for just as legitimate reasons, decide to carry the pregnancies to term. Most would assume that in this latter situation, the rapist would have no legal parental rights to the child. Sadly, this is not the case. For many women in this situation, there is a high likelihood under state family laws that the rapist could, indeed, gain parental rights. That risk is heightened for women receiving public assistance benefits.
Women who plan for and welcome their pregnancies, preferably with a partner who will help share the work and the joys and the disappointments of child rearing, women who feel as though they are ready to have a child and who can afford the great costs associated with child rearing (from birth to age 17, $130,000 for parents with incomes below $40,000, to $261,000 for parents with incomes above $68,000, 2003 numbers) will experience less stress during pregnancy, and less post-partum depression after pregnancy, and their children will be better off.
For a woman who gives birth, the nine months that come before a baby is born are easy compared to the 45+ years that are spent after the baby is born. Raising a child is a job that is unbelievably hard, requires a huge amount of financial and emotional resources, and even Republicans tend to agree that this is a job it is important to do properly. We continuously hear "Our children are our future." Do we want our future to be the product of recreational sex in our teens? Do we want our future raised by a single mom who can't afford the time to finish high school, much less college, because she is caring for an infant?
Or do we want to give women time to get their education, find a life partner, and haveour future to be the product of a committed relationship where the child has had the best start possible, and the best resources to help him during a life that begins only after that first nine months has ended?