The right to legal abortion was established by the Supreme Court in 1973. Prior to this, women, desperate to terminate unwanted pregnancies, resorted to several illegal methods of abortion. So many times the consequences were severe complications, compelling them to spend time in hospital receiving prolonged and expensive treatment.
When abortion became legally permitted it also became medically safe and less expensive. In fact, abortion costs had halved in 1990s as compared to the 1970s! Well qualified personnel can now be approached for termination of pregnancies in a well-run health care environment. Except for a mere 10 percent, most abortion cases today are within the 3rd month of pregnancy, thus reducing the risk of complications.
The cost of abortion is determined by the following parameters
Where the surgery is conducted (hospital, physician’s clinic and so on)The procedure adopted for surgery
The type of anesthesia to be administered
For women who opt to terminate their pregnancies within the 10th month of conceiving, the abortion expenses the cost would amount to $500 at the physician’s premises and about $150 less of conducted at the hospital facility. The prices keep spiraling as the duration of pregnancy increases. For instance, if a woman opts for abortion when she is 5 months pregnant, she will have to spend more that $1000, while a woman who is four months pregnant will have to pay about $700 at the physician’s clinic and about $650 at the hospital facility.
For reasons of anonymity, of the woman opts to get aborted in a different town, then she will have to spend some more for travel, pre operation counseling, post operation counseling, boarding and lodging, besides the cost of the procedure.
Today, termination of pregnancy and paying for it has become much more convenient as compared to what it was decades ago. There are several financial options, making abortion affordable for women. Women in the upper income and middle income groups can supplement the expenses with any of the several medical insurance options or with health care plans of the HMO (Health Maintenance Organization). HMO health care plans are usually less expensive than private insurance, though treatment options are lesser.
Medicaid, pays for medical funding for people of low income group. However, since 1978 (as per the Hyde Amendment) federal funding for abortion, through Medicaid is allowed only in instances of (a) incest (b) danger to the life of the woman (c) rape. 23 states of the US use their own funds to cover abortion costs beyond the Hyde Amendment restrictions.
When funds are inadequate for an abortion, the problems a woman faces are
She may be forced to deliver the child even if she may not be ready to be a mother
She may try to abort the child by herself leading to
Pregnancy not being terminated successfully
Possibility of infection and other complications
Erroneous methods that could be fatal for her
She may be able to bear the cost at a later stage of pregnancy when the operation becomes more expensive and complicated
When there is a constraint in public funding for abortion there is a much higher drain on allocated health funds as prenatal care and is much more expensive than abortion. People now feel that the right to continue or terminate a pregnancy should not be denied to those who depend on public funding for the procedure.
The right to abortion was legalized in 1973 and since then the procedure has become both safe and less expensive. The cost depends on where the operation is conducted and how advanced the pregnancy is. When women are not able to abort due to lack of funds, there are certain risks they face due to lack of basic facilities. It is important that all women, irrespective of whether they can afford the costs or not, should have the right to decide whether they want to continue or terminate a pregnancy.