Why Can't These 'Pro-Life' States Stop Killing Infants All the Time?
Last night, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, who is well past the age where an unwanted pregnancy might be a concern, signed a bill outlawing abortion entirely, except in the case of the "life of the mother." It is -- so far -- the most restrictive ban in the country, following several six-week abortion bans popping up in Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky and Mississippi.
While legislators in these states are very excited for the chance to see Roe v. Wade overturned—which it will be, why even pretend anymore—and to see abortion banned entirely, that does not seem to be what the majority of people in this country, even in their own states, want. In fact, there is not a single state where more than 20% of the population actually wants this.
But banning abortion is not the only thing these states have in common. They also all have sky-high infant mortality rates, maternal mortality rates, or both.
Source: America's Health Rankings
Neo-natal mortality? Not great.
JEEZ. It is almost as if the very people who go around falsely accusing Democrats of murdering babies right after they're being born, for funsies, are the ones from the states where said infants are more likely to actually die soon after being born. What gives?
General child mortality rates are not looking too good either.
Wow! It sure seems like there is some kind of correlation between reproductive rights and reproductive care! Who would have thought, except for everyone on earth who pays any attention to this kind of thing at all.
Another fun thing these states have in common is that they also have far higher than average teen pregnancy rates.
And high rates of unintended pregnancies in general...
Source: Guttmacher Institute
They're apparently not doing too well on chlamydia, either...
I am not pointing this out to be judgy about STIs: The problem here is really that chlamydia is pretty simple to treat if people have access to antibiotics early on. It really shouldn't be spreading this much. The other problem is that untreated chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to a host of problems, including ectopic pregnancies.
Treatment for a whole lot of things is difficult, as many of these states are also dealing with very serious primary physician and ob-gyn shortages, particularly in rural areas.
More than half of the rural counties in America do not even have a hospital where one might give birth.
Now, while there are probably lot of reasons for the doctor shortage in rural areas, pay is not one of them. Rural doctors are actually likely to make far more money than their urban or suburban counterparts.
You know what's also a problem in these states? The opioid crisis.
And that's a problem because in states like Ohio and Alabama, the foster care system is already overburdened as a result of said crisis. They do not have enough people to take in all the kids who are being taken away from their opioid-addicted parents.
These states also have very low ranking public school systems. (Hover over the states to see their public schools' ranking.)
In Alabama, the state is currently $35 million short of the budget they currently need to provide healthcare to children. Twenty-six percent of children in the state live in poverty. Thirty-one percent of children in Mississippi live in poverty. Georgia and Kentucky, 25% each. They, quite literally, cannot and do not take care of the children they have now.
Let's consider another chart, shall we? How about a chart demonstrating that education, even more so than gender, is the most reliable predictor of support for abortion rights.
Hey, you know what group of people tends to be pretty well-educated? Doctors! The exact people these states need to move into them. Maybe I am an idiot of some kind, but it sure seems like a really bad idea to pull this kind of shit when people in your state cannot go to the doctor without driving an hour. Especially since the increase in unwanted pregnancies would obviously mean that your state would need an increase in ob-gyns.
These laws are not just going to make it so doctors are less likely to move to these states. They are going to make it really difficult for businesses to move to, open up or even stay in these states. If you own a business, one of the things you need to consider is your ability to attract the best employees for that business. It is going to be hard to do that if the only people you can attract are anti-choicers willing to give up their reproductive rights and their children's reproductive rights. It's a smaller pool of people. No one needs to officially "boycott" these states for there to be some pretty serious economic consequences.
Then you've got colleges. How many kids are gonna want to go to college in a state where they have no reproductive rights? How many smart kids raised in Alabama and Mississippi with the ability to leave are gonna decide to just stay in a state where they have neither reproductive rights nor a whole lot of job opportunities? In states that just recently came in second and third in a list of the worst states to live in? Not too many!
What they will have are a bunch of young women who didn't graduate from high school or go to college because they got pregnant.
I am not saying all or any of this for the purpose of schadenfreude. I am not so vindictive that I am sitting here thinking, "You know what? Fuck them. Let them screw themselves here. Let them live out their pathetic Handmaid's Tale fantasy until it fucking destroys their economy and kills them all, I don't care anymore."
OK, fine, I am thinking that, but only about the assholes who wanted this. I certainly don't feel that way about the people these laws are actually going to hurt most. Because the people who are going to be hurt most by these laws and their effect on the state's economy and tax base are the poor. They're people who are already economically disadvantaged and aren't able to leave the state for whatever reason and don't want to lose their reproductive rights. Shit, a big chunk of the people these laws will hurt the most cannot even vote yet.
And given how far these states have just let things go in other areas, it doesn't seem like they'll change their minds and decide the costs of these laws are too much after all.
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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. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse