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The Economics of Abortion and Contraception, Part I and Part II
Human Life International ^ | 4-2002 and 7-2002 | John Clark and Marlene Gillette

Posted on 08/02/2002 2:02:11 PM PDT by Salvation

The Economics of Abortion and Contraception, Part I
by John Clark and Marlene Gillette


In one of the greatest economics books ever penned, "Economics in One Lesson," author Henry Hazlitt begins his work with the claim that “Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man.”  This may never have been truer than in the case of the economics of and .  Fearing the political fallout surrounding abortion and contraception, economists have rarely commented on its long-term monetary effects.  

The One Lesson

Hazlitt’s “one lesson” is simply this: “The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”  Therefore, at this point in the debate, economics owes it to itself to consider not only the short-term, but the long-term effects of infanticide.  The main argument consists in this: Although abortion apologists may claim that abortion is an economic boon for society, their argument is fallacious because the positive monetary effects of abortion are short-term in scope, immediate in nature, and financially deleterious over the long term.  In short, abortion and contraception equals bad economics.

First and foremost, it must be stated that abortion and contraception are industries in the United States, or more specifically, are service industries, just as legal or financial services are industries.  The abortion and contraception industries could be classified as a subheading of the healthcare industry, but they certainly generate enough revenue to have their own major subheadings.  This point is often overlooked, but is crucial to understanding that abortion and contraception, as industries, have significant macroeconomic implications.

Short-Term Analysis

Abortion proponents waste no time in attempting to point out economic benefits to abortion and contraception.  First, doctors who specialize in abortion and contraception often make serious money.  Although there is not enough data available to provide a median income for the typical doctor who specializes in abortion, some projections are possible.  A doctor can perform a first- abortion in less than five minutes, and it is not uncommon for an abortion specialist to perform as many as 20 abortions per day, which totals roughly 5,000 abortions per year.  Approximating the average cost of an abortion at $350, it amounts to a “get rich quick” enterprise. This financial standpoint provides a compelling reason to choose this specialty over other medical specialties. The perceived economic “benefit” to society is that the doctor takes the money from the mothers and/or fathers and spends or invests it—on cars, houses, vacations, stocks, etc.

And because abortion and contraception are industries, they increase the immediate financial gains of related industries, such as pharmaceuticals that specialize in contraceptives and companies that manufacture suction machines.

These are all short-term economic goods, however.  Short-term economics is much easier to understand, but is almost irrelevant to an economist.  If a man robs a liquor store and runs down an alley with a satchel of cash, that is a short-term economic good, at least for him.  The long-term effect of his crime, however, will be five years in C-Block—hardly a long-term economic good for himself, his family and society.  

All of these hypothetical economic gains are short-term in nature and benefit very small groups of people to the detriment of the rest of society.  First, the abortion and contraception specialists may earn millions of dollars, but they create no wealth.  It is simply a case of wealth transference, as the father and/or mother no longer have the $350 to spend on real economic needs and wants.

Second, the healthcare industry realizes short-term economic gains, but in doing so, kills the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg.  By promoting abortion, the healthcare industry has become involved in what can be termed none other than financial cannibalism.  From the viewpoint of economic utilitarianism, killing future customers is a strange, irredeemable practice.  A baby in the represents one of two things to the healthcare industry: something that can be killed for a quick profit, or something that can be born and represent thousands of dollars just in the first year of life.  If the baby is born, the healthcare industry will realize 20 times the revenue than in aborting the baby, beginning with baby delivery costs.  The United States Department of Agriculture conducted a study in 1992 establishing other relevant data.  Using figures adjusted for the 1998 Consumer Price Index, the average family spends $10,830 on healthcare for a child in the first 18 years of life, not including birth expenses!  The abortion industry pre-empts healthcare profits.  Thus the long-term perspective points to very different conclusions than the short-term perspective.  

A Question of Numbers

It is said that abortion is a $500 million per year industry. But the study by the Department of Agriculture cited above presents a much clearer picture.  Taking into account costs of housing, food, transportation, clothing, child care, education, etc., the study estimates that the cost of raising a child for 18 years is approximately $157,000. An aborted baby might represent $350 in revenue for an abortion provider, but it also represents more than $150,000 of lost revenue to healthcare, clothing manufacturers, baby food companies, diaper companies and so forth.  Try to multiply that figure by 40 million babies aborted since 1973, and you will need the kind of calculator you cannot buy at a convenience store.  The total comes to almost $6,267,600,000,000—essentially $6.26 trillion, give or take a billion.  That number is almost the size of the current United States national debt.  Contemplating $6 trillion in lost revenue takes the shine off the abortionist’s new Jaguar. But these numbers don’t tell the whole story.

A Life of Crime?

As any student of mathematics understands, one can determine an answer to variables if one is provided enough data with which to work.  But some sets of variables are undeterminable.  In the case of the abortion industry, the financial costs are so numerous and multi-faceted that some variables will inevitably be left undetermined.  Despite this fact, many still attempt to arrive at a figure.  And some even try to suggest that there are other financial benefits to abortion.  

The May 2001 issue of the Harvard University Quarterly Journal of Economics published a piece titled, “The Impact Of Legalized Abortion On Crime,” by Stanford University professor John J. Donohue III and University of Chicago professor Stephen D. Levitt.  Their conclusion: abortion lowers crime rates.  They make the argument that in 1991, 18 years after abortion was legalized, the crime rate dropped.  They argue that unwanted babies are most likely to grow up and commit crimes, and abortion eliminated many of those most likely to commit crime when they would have turned 18 to 24 years old.  Donohue and Levitt claim that the benefit to the economy may be as much as $30 billion annually. Planned Parenthood Federation of America now posts this research on its website, presenting this argument as if it were one more way that abortion helps society.  

This argument unwittingly points out the faulty nature of their view of economics.  How could one hold that the absence of 18- to 24-year-olds from an economy could so drastically drop the crime rate and simultaneously say that the absence of this same demographic category does not hurt the overall economy?  There is no logical way to support this argument, unless one claimed that all aborted babies should be seen as potential criminals and could not be seen as positive potential components in economic society.  

This argument does not take into account what economists call “human capital.”  How much wealth society gained or lost by these children who never had the chance to be born will never be known; but it is disturbing, purely in terms of economics, that the human capital they may have brought into the world is not even taken into account by these economists.  

Each human being born into the world automatically becomes an economic component of society. Whether a child born becomes another Beethoven, a lawyer, blue-collar bricklayer or stay-at-home mother is irrelevant. Each human being born into the world has the capacity to do much good for others, no matter the field of society they may serve. Eventually, society will economically benefit from their personal dedication, hard work and adherence to natural law.

(See next month’s HLI Reports for Part II of “The Economics of Abortion and Contraception.”)


John Clark is the president and CEO of Paladin Financial Group (registered representative of LaSalle Street Securities, LLC) in Front Royal, Va.  Marlene Gillette is an Associate in Development at HLI.

(April 2002 HLI Reports)


04/24/2002
Copyright © 2000-2002 Human Life International.


TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: abortion; catholiclist; contraception; populationcontrol; russia; unitedstates
Getting Part II
1 posted on 08/02/2002 2:02:12 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: Salvation
The Economics of Abortion and Contraception, Part II
by Marlene Gillette


Modern economies can be seen as a house of cards.  One cannot simply remove a layer of cards and expect no repercussions in other areas.  Unfortunately, this is what the United States and pro- countries around the world have experienced in recent years.
The financial effects of abortion and should not elude serious economists.  But one can be sure that the monetary cost of abortion and contraception has been radically underestimated because those that have commented on the economic consequences of abortion and contraception have ignored long-term effects.  

Abortion and Contraception—A Costly Damage to Society

At times reality does point to a poor economic condition in a society that lacks respect for human life.

In his book The Cost of Abortion, published in 1995, Lawrence Roberge, a biotechnology consultant and information broker, has traced the effects of cumulative abortions over the years with slow economic growth in the United States since Roe v. Wade: “[R]eal GDP [gross domestic product] growth continued to slow down as the cumulative effect of abortion becomes more apparent…[even] during…the 1980’s, a time normally associated with growth and prosperity…. GDP growth will continue, but will continue to spiral downward as the cumulative effect of abortions becomes more apparent.”  Roberge adds, “Fewer births mean fewer laborers to produce goods and services…[and] less consumption of goods and services. With a decrease in laborers and consumers, the eventual result is a decrease in economic activity.”

John Mueller, an economist for a private company that engages in financial market forecasting, authored the article “The Socioeconomic Costs of Roe v. Wade,” published by the Family Research Council in March 2000. In his study, Mueller states that in the United States the “three-quarters of a million abortions that occurred in 1973 cut the annual growth of the labor force by up to 400,000 workers beginning in 1989. Now nearly one million fewer workers enter the labor force annually because of abortions sixteen years earlier, which means fewer goods and services produced and information processed as well as less money earned.”

Various statistics back up these statements. For example, in a March 1996 article titled “Two Few 25-year-olds May Put a Crimp in U.S. Economy,” The Detroit News reported that “demographic studies show that the number of 25-year-olds—whose spending on consumer goods historically drives economic growth—next year will reach its lowest level since 1973, the last deep consumer recession.”

Population Decline as a Factor in Economic Decline—Who Benefits?

HLI researcher and author Brian Clowes, PhD, in his study titled The Demographic Impacts of Abortion, makes an interesting connection between low birthrates and economic poverty: “…[A] smaller and smaller clientele will be accumulating and concentrating a greater share of [a] nation’s wealth as time goes on. This ‘poverty gap’…will result in a smaller, more competitive, and more lucrative market for luxury goods and a larger and less competitive market for staple goods….”

A good example of this premise is Russia. For decades, Russia has encouraged abortion. In a report from the Russia State Statistics Committee dated May 2000, it is said that there is one live birth for every two abortions, meaning that approximately 66 percent of pregnancies in Russia end in abortion. Under a free Russia, the present government appears to be committed to developing a market economy. Yet what has arisen is an oligarchy of power and money, with these “New Russians” investing their money in foreign endeavors. Standing behind Russia’s rich and powerful is a small middle class who must pay high prices for food. In addition, there is little investment in manufacture, which means no work for the labor force and thus no generated income. In July 2000, President Vladimir Putin addressed the Russian Parliament, saying that “low population growth and population control was putting Russia in peril for its very survival,” adding that economic development in Russia had stagnated.

Most economists agree that while a significant percentage of gross national product (GNP) growth is attributable to specialization and technological progress, it is also true that a very significant percentage of GNP growth is directly attributable to population growth—and vice versa.

Population growth alone does not bring about immediate national economic prosperity, but it is a start.  In a 1999 study made by the National Autonomous University in Mexico on the connection between population and economy, it was shown that national economic activity increased where there was a strong economically active population sector, enhanced by contributing factors such as employment opportunities, higher education and health improvements.

A society that accepts and promotes abortion and contraception is killing off its own people, who constitute its daily business market. Eventually, that society will become economically sterile. Before it is too late, nations must reject the economics of death and embrace the economics of life.


Marlene Gillette is an Associate in Development at HLI.

(May/June 2002 HLI Reports)


07/12/2002
Copyright © 2000-2002 Human Life International.

2 posted on 08/02/2002 2:06:42 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: *Catholic_list; father_elijah; nickcarraway; SMEDLEYBUTLER; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; attagirl; ...
A society that accepts and promotes abortion and contraception is killing off its own people, who constitute its daily business market. Eventually, that society will become economically sterile. Before it is too late, nations must reject the economics of death and embrace the economics of life.

Discussion Ping! What do all of you think?

Please notify me via Freepmail if you would like to be added to or removed from the Ping list.

3 posted on 08/02/2002 2:38:43 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: Salvation
The pope pronounced our doom in similar words a few years back as quoted in the Tablet (UK catholic paper). Have never been able to find the exact quote.
4 posted on 08/02/2002 2:54:49 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: Salvation
Any thoughts on the people about my age (post Vatican II, post-baby boom, but pre-Watergate) who are childless because we can't find spouses?

I could just be all that time I spent working my way through school and in practice modules, but...
5 posted on 08/02/2002 2:58:02 PM PDT by Desdemona
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To: Salvation
This is very good article. There was another article that appeared in the current Human Life Review discussing this, focusing on the economic and cultural effects of the population collapse. The article was entitled A Foundering Civilization, by Robert de Marcellus.

He points out that in addition to the truly dire economic effects, one of the cultural effects is that in countries like Spain and Italy, which have the lowest birth rates in Europe (about 1.2), this means "that in every generation the native population will be nearly halved." Surely, this will have a profound effect on life these countries (particularly since almost all members of their respective immigrant populations are Muslims).
6 posted on 08/02/2002 3:22:37 PM PDT by livius
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To: Desdemona
I'm sorry. I shouldn't pop off that way, but it makes me so mad that people give up children in this manner. It's very painful. It's like arrows to the heart.
7 posted on 08/02/2002 3:47:24 PM PDT by Desdemona
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To: Salvation
The utter basic Truth of this statement is simultaneously simple and complex. Socialists like H. Clinton who want to give free nationalized health care to everyone, simply don't understand the basic economics of their juxtapositioned beliefs.....WHO WILL BE ALIVE TO PAY FOR IT ????
8 posted on 08/02/2002 4:32:53 PM PDT by Litany
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To: Litany
Socialists like H. Clinton who want to give free nationalized health care to everyone, simply don't understand the basic economics of their juxtapositioned beliefs.....WHO WILL BE ALIVE TO PAY FOR IT ????

The wicked queen can decide that when socialized health care becomes a fait accompli. That's why we must fight it with everything we've got. First they went after the tobacco companies, then the fast food companies, then (once again) the gun manufacturers, then the liquor companies, sports car and motorcycle manufacturers, etc.

Socialism is a great deception. The end game is to control population.

I know I'm off the subject somewhat but I wanted to throw that in as well.

9 posted on 08/02/2002 5:42:18 PM PDT by attagirl
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To: Aliska
Was it? "A Nation that kills its children is a nation without hope."
10 posted on 08/02/2002 6:04:05 PM PDT by victim soul
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To: victim soul
That was the thrust of it, but those weren't the exact words, I don't believe. Sure wish I'd copied it down.
11 posted on 08/02/2002 6:13:13 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: attagirl
Dittos....and the REAL societal evils that they refuse to champion e.g. homosexuality, extramarital sex...are significant factors in the soaring STD / HIV infection rate.
12 posted on 08/02/2002 7:04:31 PM PDT by Litany
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To: attagirl
"Socialism is a great deception. The end game is to control population."

Absolutely true. Thank you Margaret Sanger (/sarcasm).

How can people not see through this? Birth rates are too low, at least in the developed nations. The privilege of being a parent is regularly sacrificed for comfort and convenience. It hurts to think about it.
13 posted on 08/02/2002 7:18:55 PM PDT by Desdemona
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To: Desdemona
it makes me so mad that people give up children in this manner.

It's as if our society has abandonded that which makes us human.

14 posted on 08/02/2002 7:54:50 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler
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To: Salvation; Al B.
In my opinion it's the Rooseveltian Social Security scheme that accounts for this, and not birth control per se. If parents had to rely on their kids for their upkeep in their old age, as they used to, their perspective on their children would be radically different. Right now you almost have to be a fool to have many kids, and also pay into social security, knowing full well that your kids will pay for others' who didn't have kids' retirement. There is no doubt in my mind that the number of kids with ADD and other illnesses born of emotional neglect would plummet if parents didn't feel insulated from the consequences of such foolishness. Measuring GDP accurately is an exercise in futility, but, I think, changing retirement schemes such that parents have every incentive to maximize their progeny's happiness and success would add at least 1% to GDP growth annually, or $100 billion a year.
15 posted on 08/02/2002 9:59:04 PM PDT by a history buff
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To: livius
Surely, this will have a profound effect on life these countries (particularly since almost all members of their respective immigrant populations are Muslims).

You got it!

16 posted on 08/02/2002 10:03:48 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: Litany
the REAL societal evils that they refuse to champion e.g. homosexuality, extramarital sex...are significant factors in the soaring STD / HIV infection rate.

Resulting in every-dropping populations of native countrymen all over the world.

17 posted on 08/02/2002 10:06:03 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: a history buff
If parents had to rely on their kids for their upkeep in their old age, as they used to, their perspective on their children would be radically different.

You've got a good point here. Is that why I have five kids? LOL!

18 posted on 08/02/2002 10:07:32 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: Salvation
I recommend George Gilder's book Sexual Suicide (please don't confuse it with his Men and Marriage). In it he explains, as a sociologist, that a society which adopts contraception and abortion spoils the behavior of men and women in their relationships, and that such a society will ultimately commit "sexual suicide."
19 posted on 08/02/2002 11:54:04 PM PDT by Dajjal
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To: Desdemona
"I could just be all that time I spent working my way through school and in practice modules, but..."

There is a guy out there looking for a gal like you. Maybe you are both looking in the wrong places. Hope you both can find the right place. God Bless.

20 posted on 08/03/2002 7:51:18 AM PDT by ex-snook
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To: Salvation
Thanks for ping. As American population dwindles, we apparently need influx of immigrants. Sadly, many of most intelligent, educated American women decide to be "child free" or delay giving birth until their 40s, when they may not be able to conceive, even with fertility drugs. Meanwhile, vast majority of immigrants come to our shores in dire straits, uneducated, unhealthy. Of course, many succeed in pulling themselves up, but a great many are just another drain on the economy. Thank you, Feminazis.
21 posted on 08/03/2002 10:04:22 AM PDT by PoisedWoman
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To: ex-snook
"Maybe you are both looking in the wrong places."

I know I'm looking in the wrong places.
22 posted on 08/03/2002 1:35:00 PM PDT by Desdemona
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To: a history buff
If parents had to rely on their kids for their upkeep in their old age, as they used to, their perspective on their children would be radically different Brilliant observation! Bravo!
23 posted on 08/03/2002 7:22:33 PM PDT by attagirl
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To: a history buff
If parents had to rely on their kids for their upkeep in their old age, as they used to, their perspective on their children would be radically different

Brilliant observation! Bravo

24 posted on 08/03/2002 7:26:34 PM PDT by attagirl
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To: Salvation
"That's why I have 5 kids "
I'll see your 5 and raise you to 12 .
Of course, it took 12 to get only 5 grand children .
We weren't as successful as we hoped to be in handing down our values .
Now, when I see someone with 2 kids, I point out that, since they are doing as much as they possibly can, then the third one is FREE . Since they can't possibly work any harder .
25 posted on 08/03/2002 8:55:49 PM PDT by dadwags
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