April 22, 2009

Rise In Abortions, Vasectomies Linked To Recession

Experts say the recession may be a factor influencing more Americans to opt out of parenthood with abortions and vasectomies, although no current data suggests such a trend, Reuters reported.

One 32-year-old single mother in Syracuse, New York, told Reuters the ailing economy became a factor in her decision to have an abortion.

"More so now that we are in a recession ... I felt I had to go through with the procedure because I cannot afford another child," said the woman, a registered nurse who spoke on condition of anonymity.

She cited her worry over job security during the recession as a major contributing reason behind her decision.

"People say, 'You're a nurse, you'll always have a job.' I think it's not as true as people think it is," she suggested.

But several experts say there is some anecdotal evidence that would-be parents are factoring the rough economic times into the most personal of reproductive choices.

The Guttmacher Institute in New York, a nonprofit group focusing on reproductive issues, said the U.S. abortion rate in 2005 fell to the lowest level since 1974.

But Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, a hotline for women seeking abortion information, said the phones there have been "ringing off the hook."

She said they are currently getting more calls from women who report that they or their partner have recently lost their job or are facing eviction.

Saporta said that as more and more women and families are struggling due to the crisis, it's affecting more than just low-income families.

"Now more middle-class and working class families are facing the types of problems that we've heard from low-income women," she added.

Abortion assistance groups are being inundated with requests for aid just as funding is drying up "” a problem affecting many nonprofit groups at the moment.

The New York Abortion Access Fund increased funding for abortions 60 percent from a year ago in the first quarter of 2009, and it doubled the number of women receiving assistance.

The recession also seems to be influencing the reproductive decisions of men as well.

Urologists have noticed a roughly 50 percent increase in vasectomies in the past four to six months, likely attributed in part to the ailing economy, according to Lawrence Ross, a urologist and former president of the American Urological Association.

Ross said about half a million U.S. men opt for vasectomies each year, a number that has remained flat over the years.

He said many of them are afraid that they are going to lose their jobs and their health insurance, so they're quickly opting to get the procedure done while they still have coverage.

"A lot of them are saying that we've decided to limit our family, the costs of education and raising kids is so high," he added.

However, urologists have also seen a drop in the number of men seeking vasectomy reversals.

The vasectomy procedure typically costs from $1,000 to $1,500, but a reversal costs roughly ten times as much.


On the Net: