The Cost of Sarah Palin’s “Choice”


(Part 1 of 2)

Abortion is the only topic more controversial than politics and religion, perhaps because it involves both. Sarah Palin is a staunch supporter of the right-to-life movement.  She is not supportive of abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger.  Even in the case of rape or incest, Palin opposes abortion.  As early as her race in 1996 for Mayor of Wasilla, Palin made abortion a part of her campaign. Until that time the race for the position as Mayor had been compared to a friendly intramural contest among neighbors. Even if you didn’t know who Sarah Palin was before the night of the Republican Convention, as of that evening Palin made sure everyone watching would know that she had a special needs child. Trig has become a constant reminder of Palin’s position on abortion.

Palin often gives speeches, for which she is, paid $100,000, and in which she suggests that abortion should not be a choice. In those same speeches Palin has advocated the importance of balancing the budget; she has opposed Obama’s health care initiative, referring to it as “Obamacare”and “nonsensical”. Thus people pay Sarah Palin $100,000 to tell us that we should insist on balancing the budget that we should oppose virtually all forms of abortion, and that health care should not be provided as a service to those citizens in need of it.  As Palin gets wealthier, our country goes further in debt.  For a minute, disregard the philosophical issues of abortion, and simply consider just how unrealistic it would be to prohibit abortion, balance the budget, and limit the cost of health care.

First consider the cost of an abortion compared to the cost of delivery.  In Dallas, Texas, the cost of a routine abortion is less than $500.00.  A normal vaginal uncomplicated delivery costs $5,000-$8,000.

The cost of raising a child only to 18 years old, EXCLUDING college, is between $125,000 and $250,000.

In 1976 Congress passed the Hyde Amendment which excludes abortion from the comprehensive health services provided through Medicaid.   Under the new health care law recently passed, federal funds are only available in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

In 2006 there were 4.3 million child-birth related hospitalizations of women costing an estimated $14.8 billion in hospital costs.  Forty-two percent of the costs associated with maternal-childbirth related hospital stays ($6.3 billion) were billed to Medicaid.

Approximately half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned.  When considering the cost of having an unwanted child it is essential to consider the cost to society during the child’s lifetime.  Additional considerations should include:

Women who gave birth as teenagers make up nearly half of the welfare caseload.  This group of women is less likely to have high school diplomas, and they are more likely to have larger families.  Both of these characteristics increase the likelihood of being among the poorest welfare recipients.

Teenage mothers may have the hardest time earning their way off welfare and becoming self-sufficient.

Teenage mothers make up nearly half of the AFDC caseload.

Teenage mothers are less educated, have larger families, and are more likely to have never married.

Teenage mothers are more likely to have incomes below 50% of the poverty line.

The strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison was that the criminal was raised by a single parent.

70% of inmates in state detention centers serving long-time sentences were raised by single (never married) moms.

When children born after Roe v. Wade reached their teenage years, the crime rate dropped.   Legalized abortion led to less crime.

The five states, New York, California, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii which embraced a woman’s right to an abortion for two years before Roe v. Wade, realized an earlier 13% drop in their crime rates than the rest of the nation (Dubner and Levitt 141).

The states with the highest abortion rates in the 1970’s experienced the highest crime drop in the 1990’s (141).

In the 1990’s there was a clear downward trend in the numbers of teen pregnancies.  The trend has now reversed, and 7% of teen girls got pregnant in 2006, which is an increase from 2005. Given these incontrovertible statistics, we know that more teenage girls are getting pregnant, and the mothers and their children present an increasing financial burden on the U.S. economy.  This burden includes not only the cost of the delivery of the baby, welfare, Medicare, education, criminal court costs, but also the cost to society of additional crime and the cost of a dramatic increase in the prison population.  Given the growing concern over the national debt it would seem that voters would choose either reduction of the national debt or anti-abortion as primary issues, but not both.  The two are unquestionably inconsistent.  It is clear that when the government gives a woman the opportunity to make her own decision about abortion, she generally does a good job figuring out if she is in a position to raise a baby well (145).

The incontrovertible conclusion must be that the cost to our country of reversing Roe v. Wade would be dramatic.  When our politicians or a commentator with Fox News suggests that they are proponents of over turning Roe v. Wade, they are necessarily advocating an increase in governmental expense for entitlements, for prisons, for education, and they are guaranteeing an increase in crime in the United States.   That’s a guarantee I don’t want.

22 thoughts on “The Cost of Sarah Palin’s “Choice”

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  1. Malia, Thank you for having the courage to write this. I’ve always thought that this was obvious. Fiscal conservative legislation and social conservative legislation do not belong together because they are mutually exclusive. Social liberals do a much better job of managing their own lives than the social conservatives who want to dictate to others as studies have shown.

    Another point that I think is obvious and is missed by most is that teen girls plan their pregnancies and they are hailed as heroes. I have no doubt that Bristol Palin thought she was in love and wasn’t terribly ambitious and thought that having a cute little baby was a fine idea. Bristol has managed to make a lucrative business out of her pregnancy but teens who choose life should understand that they are imposing on every member of the community to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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  2. And now we have Bristol Palin making $35,000 per speech about avoiding sex till marriage.
    Isn’t this rewarding Brisol for having pre marital sex? She did not get married like palin did when she got pregnant. She has an Escalade, a condo a job and child support. She is one of the lucky ones. Will young girls choose to have a baby out of wedlock when they see what she has?
    Remember the right wingers went nuts about actresses having babies when not married? It did not set a good example for impressionable girls?
    Whose idea was it to reward Bristol for her out of wedlock pregnancy?

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    1. Diane, I couldn’t agree with you more, and that is why I mentioned that I will be doing a second post, but before that one, I wanted to feature this one that is purely about the cost. Malia

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  3. Wow, red-hot topic to start off a Monday morning.
    Roe v Wade, is dividing this nation as slavery must have done in the mid 1800’s. Be it states rights versus federal rights, what constitutes a “person”, or when does life begin.

    I am pro-choice. A woman; married, divorced, single is responsible for her own reproductive rights. It is her physical body, her decision to get pregnant or not. Birth control has always been a female responsibility, other than surgery no birth control method is 100% effective.

    Each woman must weigh an unplanned pregnancy and choose the best decision for them. As a final comment, whatever medical procedures go on between a Doctor & patient, it nobody else’s business.

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    1. Enjay, Yes, I knew that writing about abortion would generate lots of emotions, but my hope is that if we can get people to focus on the cost of reversing Roe, we might have a better chance to get people to be a little more open minded about a woman’s rights. Unfortunately, it seems that civil rights are not as important to many people as their bank accounts. Maybe if they look at the cost of preventing abortion, they will be more open to considering the civil rights of the woman who wants or needs an abortion. malia

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    1. Paula, Thanks again, and I have sent it to Huffington Post, but if it makes it, it probably won’t be for several days, and I just sent another article re the recent information from Patrick at Palingates re the fee paid to Palin for her speaking fee for the June appearance. I’ll post a notice today if it makes it in. Thanks, Malia

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    1. Paula, I hadn’t seen this, and thanks for sending it my way. I plan to do a part two on the abortion issue, so this may be very helpful. Thanks Malia

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  4. Thanks for a great post. I applaud your choice of focusing on the monetary costs to individuals and to society. Showing people how a policy hits their wallets or pocketbooks (what an old-fashioned that word is, eh?) is a surefire method to get their attention.

    I really think we’ve done our society an injustice by not allowing sex education classes because we need to take reproductive issues and look at them objectively, not emotionally or solely on religious grounds. Churches historically have been for large families because it increases the number of believers and therefore their monetary and power base, plus it could afford built-in help for families living in an agricultural-based economy (more hands at the ready to work to help a family stay afloat).

    However, most of us want to consider quality of life issues now. Reproduction is no longer a numbers game. It is a quality issues – can we afford the time, the energy, the monetary costs of raising children in a way that will afford the best foundation for the children, the family, and the community. If you care about your children, your spouse and yourself, you are going to care about making careful, informed choices.

    Most, not all, but most religions tolerate birth control now. Only the most fundamentalist do not. Some congregations even promote birth control and responsible sex because they care about the health and welfare of their members.

    Seems to me, these are issues vital to a healthy, vibrant society. Thank you for taking this on and providing rational information.

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    1. ks, I must be getting a little immune to criticism to be taking on God, abortion, and guns. I was raised cathloic, so I certainly understand the belief that every life is valuable and should be protected. Yet, I so strenuously object to people like Palin who preech “morality” but they feel no sense of responsibility or obligation to the unwed mothers and their children who are so financially impaired that they turn to crime just to eat. My hope is that by doing this first post on the cost of overturning Roe v. Wade, that people who might be on the fence about the abortion issue will realize that it has everything to do with money. They may think that abortion will never affect them because they are “responsible” but it does affect everyone in this country, because we each pay the price of preventing a woman from making the best choice for herself. Malia

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  5. When I saw the title of your post, I thought it was about the cost to society for the raising of Trig. I know this is REALLY politically incorrect, but I would like to know how much Sarah’s “choice” is going to end up costing Alaskan tax payers.

    As for your actual post, if you listen to these people, it’s as if they see themselves in a birthing raise with the rest of the world. They want to save all those white Christian babies for Jesus.

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    1. midnightcajun, I would love to get specific information on the cost of raising Trig, but I don’t know how to get that. Certainly that is something we can all speculate about. Yet the numbers and information in this article are verifiable, and difficult to refute. Even those kids born who are not ‘special needs” kids may cost the us taxpayer a lot, and people should consider the cost of their morality. Malia

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  6. The Fraud Sarah doesn’t even believe in abortion when getting pregnant by the neighbor while the husband is off working on the north slope. (lucky for Track)

    How in the hell could someone that is suposed to be so pro life have people on her payroll (while she was a part time governor) dragging tiny little Wolf Pup’s out of there den and executing them by shooting them in the head and/or spraying poisonous gas into there den’s…

    While at the same time some of her employee’s are slaughtering the Mommy Wolfs from Airplanes and/or helicopters…

    Chopping off there feet and cashing them in at the State of Aklaska for a $150.00 reward…

    I can not wrap my head around her logic!…

    I happen to be pro choice when it comes to what a woman does with regards to her body…

    I know of NO woman that gets pregnant on purpose just so she can have an abortion…

    and only Palin woman can go from abstinance to pregnant to virgin again (and she bitches about Dems being in the snake oil business)

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    1. That is known as protecting the species. The government promotes the ellimination of overpopulation of animals that exceed the available food and resources of their habitat to support them. Otherwise, the ALL starve to death…a terrible painful death…and the species is extinct. If you want to complain about it…first learn the facts. The GOVERNOR merely supported state law by the killing of the animals, and the cutting off of the foot of a dead animal (they cut the hooves off of your hamburger’s meat donor also)…did not cause any pain…it was dead…and that is how they prove that an animal was not bounty paid several times or fraudulently

      Worry about a wolf, but no worry about a living child that is chopped out of the womb, or suctioned to death in an abortion clinic….what hippocracy!!

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  7. This is excellent. Huffpo get on it! Thank you so very much for all your fine work.
    I am nauseated with the trend Palin wants for women and our youth.

    Btw, it was on the Heartbeat International’s Facebook that they did NOT pay re-virgin Bristol any money when she was in Orlando.
    They did not mention travel expenses. I think that needs to be corrected in MSM. Like the virgin Tim Tebo, she did sign with Single Source Speakers and she is NOW AVAILABLE for Abstinence, Conference, Fundraiser, Pro-Life, Special Event/Holiday, Women’s, Youth. SSS are out to sell her as a “flagship client.” To my knowledge no one bought her yet.

    Bristol exclusively told Radaronline she is “excited to go to Orlando and meet the hundreds of pregnancy support providers from around the world that will be attending.”
    http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2010/05/exclusive-bristol-palins-new-job-30000-speech
    “She also looks to be the relatively new bureau’s highest-profile speaker to date, except perhaps for Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints.”
    She did not give a speech in Orlando, what she did was called an “interactive interview session.” The MSM needs to be corrected and give the real story.
    When a Virginia driver purchases a specialty “Choose Life” anti-abortion license plate, $15 of the $25 processing fee goes to Heartbeat International, a Christian group that distributes the money to pregnancy resource centers located across the state.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/19/AR2010011904462.html

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    1. oops! Here is the Facebook link: Bristol Palin at Heartbeat International Conference
      (Contrary to published reports, Heartbeat did NOT pay for Bristol’s appearance.)
      http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=170671&id=24844979499&ref=mf

      It is at the bottom of Like Daughter, Like Father, Chuck Heath Gives Wildly Inappropriate Speech at Colony High Graduation.
      http://theimmoralminority.blogspot.com/2010/05/like-daughter-like-father-chuck-heath.html

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  8. I love that you decided to focus on the cost than just about Palin. I am truly over seeing the dozens of posts that are out there. This was a nice, refreshing difference. I commend you for that!

    Isn’t it kind of ridiculous for a teen mother to be preaching about abstinence? I find it a little hypocritical. The fact that she is making so much money from it just makes it all the worse.

    I am a strong believer that every person has the right to choose what they do with their own body. I don’t particularly agree with abortion, but that’s for me. Not for everyone. Every human being should have their own say about what goes on with their own body.
    http://2byoungandpregnant.wordpress.com

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  9. why not just sterilize the women who are going to create unwanted pregnancies…that too is cheaper in the long run….or maybe, just exterminate the women that get pregnant with unwanted kids to keep that mentality from becoming an expense to the government. lots of ways to look at preventing unwanted pregnancies if the woman chooses to get herself pregnant….funny how mostly women want to get abortions, but they go ahead with sex and promiscuity anyway. If they are nuts, why should society pay anything for their inability to have mature relationships?

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