The Uncounted Costs

Normally I keep my blogs supportive and inspiring, there's more than enough negativity in the world. But today I want to comment on something that is on everyone’s mind right now. Each of us in entitled to our opinions and this is not to try to change minds, but to bring awareness to consequences that aren’t being talked about.

The recent Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade has everyone taking sides on women’s rights and the rights of the unborn. No one seems to have considered the long-term consequences that will impact us all. The United States is not ready for what it will face in the coming years now that this decision is official.

Let’s put emotion aside for the moment and take a hard look at the situation we will soon face. Here are some facts to set the stage:

Some will say money shouldn’t be the first consideration, but ignoring its impact on the situation would be a huge mistake. If our governments are going to force women to have babies, they have to be aware of and prepare for the unintended consequences. So let’s do the math.

Most American families make less than $100,000 a year before taxes and other deductions. They simply do not have the financial ability to care for a child to adulthood, especially if they have inadequate or no medical insurance. That means the vast majority of these babies will not be raised by their birth families, who will either give up custody voluntarily or by force when social services realizes they can’t adequately care for them.

The orphanage system hasn’t existed in years, replaced by the foster care system, which is already overburdened. Based on the above statistics, there could be an influx of more than 900,000 children into the foster care system over the next year. Here are the potential consequences:

  • More than $6 billion added to foster care operational costs.
  • Requiring either spreading more than 1.5 million children between less than 220,000 licensed foster care homes — placing at least seven children per household — or adding more than 500,000 licensed foster care homes to the current system in less than a year to accommodate the coming increase.
  • At least tripling the staff in the foster system and social workers to provide adequate monitoring of these households to guarantee the safety of the children placed in them.
  • Employers (and their employees) will have to pay more in insurance costs to cover the increase in maternity expenses when the insurance companies make up their losses through higher premiums and fees.
  • Women and families with inadequate or no medical insurance will be forced to take on debt they can’t afford or to file for bankruptcy.
  • As far as I have seen, none of these anti-abortion laws require the men who get women pregnant to provide financial support or penalize them in any way (see this May 2019 Washington Post article). The laws force the women to carry the financial and emotional burdens alone. In 2021, 80% of households with children were headed by single women, and many of them lived in poverty (see article). This will push even more women and children into poverty.
  • Woman with health issues like diabetes and heart disease forced to carry a baby to term will risk deterioration of their conditions, even death.
  • Hospitals will not have enough rooms, nurses, or doctors to adequately care for the women who will come to them for prenatal care and to give birth. It will take years to educate/hire/train the people to fill the increased staffing needs and to build the new hospitals and clinics that will be required. All of which will mean increasing what they charge patients across the board to cover salaries and construction costs.
  • The huge influx of children into the system will require us to provide more daycare, build more schools, and graduate more teachers.
  • Local churches, shelters, and other non-government services will see the demand for what they can provide grow exponentially, and probably beyond their ability to supply.
  • We will have to incentivize real estate investors to create affordable family-friendly housing, as opposed to the current trend of high-end apartments for singles who can share the expenses with roommates, to accommodate the coming increase in households with children.
  • While there may be one million households that want to adopt right now, that doesn’t mean that they all qualify. Even if everyone who wants to could adopt, the numbers of children available for adoption will be continually growing. We will run out of families able and willing to adopt before we run out of fosterlings.

The impact won’t end after the first year. Every year after there will be more babies conceived, increasing the need for more people to help bring them into the world, a need to expand the capacity of the foster care system to take them in, more need for housing, schools, etc., and all the costs these entail. In eighteen years or less all of these children will need jobs, housing, etc. Some will be raising families of their own. Rinse and repeat every generation.

This “brave new world” will require adding and expanding social services to support these women and children, to care for the ones who survive with compromised health, to take over if the mother dies and leaves behind a newborn orphan (and siblings in many cases). Based on past behavior, our politicians will not respond quickly to deal with this. When they do, our state and Federal governments will have to somehow find the funds to pay for it all, which will mean raising taxes. And that burden will likely not fall on those who can afford it.

So if you think this Supreme Court decision doesn’t affect you personally, think again. The anti-abortion crowds on TV have been claiming victory as if their job is done. If they truly are pro life, they have also accepted the responsibility to step up and help women and our country deal with the fast-coming consequences — something I doubt anyone on either side has seriously considered yet.

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