The United States Is Way Behind the Rest of the World When It Comes to Abortion Funding
The United States may be one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but it falls drastically behind many other nations when it comes to funding abortions. According to a study published in Contraception, the U.S. is seriously lagging behind other countries where abortion is legal.
Of the 80 countries analyzed, 11 provided no government funding whatsoever for abortions. An additional 10 nations funded abortions only under certain circumstances, with the U.S. being one of them (the U.S. will fund abortions only when the patient is a victim of rape or incest and when the mother's life is at stake). This compares to 25 countries that partially fund abortions no matter what the situation and a plurality of 34 countries that fully fund them.
America's limited abortion funding can largely be attributed to the Hyde Amendment, which prevents anyone on Medicaid and other government programs from using health insurance to pay for abortions. On top of that, 23 states prohibit private insurance companies from covering abortions in most cases.
Abortions can cost as much as $1,500 during the first trimester and $3,000 during the second, and many women end up having to scrounge for these funds themselves. In fact, one study by the Guttmacher Institute found that 18 to 37 percent of women on Medicaid have given birth because they could not afford to terminate the pregnancy.
"Nearly half of countries with liberal/liberally interpreted abortion laws had public funding for abortion, including most countries that liberalized their abortion law in the past 20 years," the authors of the Contraception study concluded. "Outliers remain, however, including among developed countries where access to abortion may be limited due to affordability." The U.S. is one such exception.
For a country that prides itself on being advanced, we're woefully backward on this front.
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