What, Exactly, Does The GOP Plan To Do About All The Babies They Want To Force Us To Have?
Perhaps orphanages could make a comeback?
We're only a few days into the Trump administration, and the GOP is already making it quite clear that the days of having reproductive rights are now behind us. Planned Parenthood is likely to be defunded, and we don't know how long abortion will continue to be legal. Congress is currently trying to push a bullshit "Heartbeat Bill" (a misnomer given the fact that the heart doesn't even develop until 22 weeks) that will make abortion illegal six weeks after conception. They are also currently pushing a "Personhood Bill" which would overturn Roe by legally mandating that "life begins at conception."
It's scary as hell, for sure. But I'm not here today to talk about how fucking scary it is that all of this is happening, I'm not here to talk about the impact of this on uterus-havers across the country -- because lord knows they don't give a fuck about that. I'm here to talk about the one thing Republicans seem to understand -- MONEY. And, of course, fiscal responsibility!
If the GOP gets its way, Planned Parenthood will be defunded and abortion will be illegal. On top of that, spending for Title X, which provides funds for family planning, cancer screenings and STD tests for people making under $25,000 a year, will also probably be gutted. In 2011, the GOP called for a $300 million cut to the program, which was quite a lot given that the 2010 budget for the program was $317 million. The charge to do that, by the way, was led by one Mike Pence, who is the current Vice President of the United States of America.
Each year, Planned Parenthood prevents nearly 600,000 unwanted pregnancies, by providing birth control through Title X programs. This means that, next year, we'll have about 600,000 pregnant people who did not want to be pregnant, and, very likely, cannot afford a child.
Now, in the year 2013, there were 664,435 abortions reported to the CDC -- many fewer than in previous years (in 2008, there were 827,609 abortions), largely due to the prevalence of affordable birth control. But hey, let's go with that number, just to be nice.
So, now we have 1.2 million children being born to people who do not want and very likely cannot afford a child. Possibly more, if they defund Title X! In 2006, it is estimated that Title X funds prevented 1.94 million unwanted pregnancies. So, possibly, 1-2 million children being born to people who do not want and likely cannot afford to have a child.
For the sake of fairness and "Oh, maybe they won't defund Title X ENTIRELY," let's say only one million of those people definitely cannot afford a child, and have to get Medicaid for said child. The average cost of that, per person per year, is $9,990. This would cost us $9,990,000,000 a year. About ten billion dollars. For literally just one year of no Planned Parenthood and no abortion, and possibly no Title X. The next year, it's $20 billion, the year after that 30 billion, and so on and so on! Assuming they all stay on Medicaid and the cost of that doesn't change, in 18 years we'll be spending $180 billion a year, which is $80 billion more than we spent on Education in 2015. And that's just Medicaid! And that is assuming all of those babies are healthy -- which, unfortunately, may not be the case.
What about the cost of educating these children? On average, it costs $11,009 a year to educate a student for a year in America. So, in five years after all this starts, we're talking an additional $11-12 billion a year! In six years, $22-24 billion! And so on and so on! Plus the Medicaid shit!
And let us not forget, we've still got that giant stupid wall to pay for!
Oh, by the way -- pregnancy costs a hell of a lot of money as well. That many unwanted pregnancies could be quite a drain on the Medicaid system. And for the uninsured, which there will be a lot of very soon, having a baby without insurance can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 that they probably do not have. So they'll be in debt for somewhere close to forever.
But what about ADOPTION, right? They can just give the babies up for adoption! To a family that can take care of them! Well, at any given time, there are about 415,129 children in the foster system -- 107,918 of whom are waiting to be adopted. And sure! There are people out there who want to adopt. But probably not a million to two million of them a year.
Of course, most Republicans would certainly not be OK with increasing our budget for entitlement programs that much. Many, in fact, would love to see them eliminated entirely. In that case, again -- what the hell are they going to do about all those babies? Are they just going to let them starve or die or not get medical care? How, exactly, do they plan to work that one out?
And let's just note here, that the GOP is also opposed to legally mandated family leave and subsidized day care! So you're gonna have a bunch of people who have to choose between making money to care for their child, and leaving a baby by itself while they go to work?
Not to mention the fact that even if every one of these people could afford a baby, we almost definitely cannot handle that much of an increase in our population. How will we employ all of them when they're grown up? Right now, we do not have enough jobs that pay a living wage for everyone in this country, and adding 1-2 million a year is going to make things even harder. To boot, many of these children will be raised in poverty by people who did not want to have them in the first place, which does not always lead to a lot of success later in life. Allow me to note as well that these are the same people who insist that undocumented immigrants -- who are not legally able to get welfare of any kind, by the way -- are a drain on our system, and are taking our jobs! But apparently they are totally fine with increasing our birthrate by 27%, which is what happened when Texas defunded Planned Parenthood.
Now, let's backtrack a bit here and say... best case scenario they just defund Planned Parenthood, and they leave Title X and abortion alone for the time being. That is still 579,000 unwanted pregnancies a year. That means either a fuckton more abortions -- which we know they don't want -- or a fuckton more babies in the system that the nation must find a way to take care of lest we have babies actually begging in the streets.
The GOP insists that there are enough "community health centers" to handle the additional burden. The problem is, of course, that these community health centers say they are barely able to handle the patient loads they have now. Also, too, a really big percentage of them do not have any ob-gyns on staff. In fact, most ob-gyns do not take Medicaid, because Medicaid pays them less than private insurers do. Planned Parenthood is one of the few options many women on Medicaid have to get gynecological services. In fact, 20% of women who go to Planned Parenthood because they take Medicaid have no other option anywhere near them.
This, of course, calls into question the argument that federal funding for Planned Parenthood somehow funds abortion by "keeping the lights on" at clinics. Most of the "federal funding" Planned Parenthood receives comes not from Title X, but from people using their Medicaid -- which, as I just noted, pays so much less than private insurance that most ob-gyns are unwilling to take it. These are people who could make a lot more money if they did not take Medicaid -- to "keep the lights on," as it were -- but choose not to because the cause of helping those in need is more important to them.
As far as Title X goes, Planned Parenthood traditionally gets about 25% of that budget. Currently, that budget is $327 million, meaning that PP gets about $81 million of that money. $81 million dollars is significantly less money than it would cost to not prevent all those pregnancies.
"Wait, wait, wait," you are maybe saying now if you are a conservative and/or an idiot. How about these people just not have sex unless they want a baby? How's about that, huh? Why don't they start taking personal responsibility by just never having sex?"
To you, I say -- THAT HAS NEVER AND WILL NEVER HAPPEN. It's why abstinence-only programs are a failure! It's why states that have them have higher rates of teen pregnancy than states that do not!
So, what are they gonna do, exactly? What is their plan? Because while they love to wax on and on about how glorious it will be once they get to defund Planned Parenthood and outlaw abortion and cut Title X by $300 million and force all the sluts to give birth against their will, they don't exactly seem to have any kind of plan in place from dealing with the ramifications of doing that.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse