The Poverty and Abortion Correlation

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard the news: The Supreme Court of the United States has overruled both Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) with the landmark decision of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. As soon as the ruling was announced, my social media accounts were almost instantly filled with emotional posts. All kinds of opinions were posted, reposted, liked, and shared. People on both sides of the debate cited data to justify their opinions. Here is some of what I learned from the information that was presented: 

  • Several studies show a strong correlation between low-income women and increased abortion rates. These studies also tell us that most mothers considering abortion say that they cannot afford a child. One study showed that 73% of women undergoing an abortion said not being able to afford a baby was their reason for having the abortion. This number rises to 81% for women below the federal poverty line. Abortion activists use this data to justify the need for abortions. The Guttmacher Institute (a pro-abortion think tank) says “Women denied an abortion who subsequently had a child were more likely than women who received an abortion to be unemployed, receiving public assistance and living below the federal poverty level one year after their clinic visit—despite the fact that there were no economic differences between the women a year earlier.” Essentially, they’re saying that mothers who choose life experience a higher likelihood of being stuck in poverty.  
  • Financial stress experienced by the mother can take a severe toll on a baby’s health. A study (from The Archive on Women’s Mental Health) showed that women who feel anxious or stressed about finances during pregnancy are more likely to have babies with a lower birth weight. All types of stress can affect an unborn child, but financial stress is, by far, the most impactful. In a data set of 138 moms, women who reported experiencing financial stress were more likely to have babies with a low birth weight, compared to women who did not demonstrate the same level of financial hardship during pregnancy.

This research led me to ask: What are we to do with this information? If we know that fear of the financial unknown is one of the most cited reasons for abortion, and if we know that financial stress can negatively impact a baby’s health, how can we, as a Catholic financial discipleship ministry, help expectant mothers experiencing unexpected pregnancies? 

We know that financial literacy has a positive impact on wealth. We also know, for those experiencing poverty, financial security involves connecting an array of resources with financial literacy and motivational tools to equip individuals to thrive.

In response to USCCB’s call to action to provide support and resources to pregnant women, especially those seeking the assistance of pregnancy centers, Compass Catholic Ministries intends to create a financial literacy course specifically designed for pregnant mothers (and dads) who experience unexpected pregnancies

This course will include:

  • A curated list of local, state, and federal resources to help with housing, food, utilities, baby items, etc.  
  • How to develop a budget that includes available resources.
  • How to be a smart consumer when purchasing baby items.
  • Avoiding debt and developing a personal financial safety net.
  • Insurance needs and necessary documents for parents of young children.
  • Balancing financial needs and financial goals.
  • Motivational videos that feature other individuals who experienced similar issues and emerged successfully. 

We plan to partner with pregnancy centers to offer this course to their clients. The course will be available in an App format so the expectant parents can access course material at their convenience. Additionally, expectant parents can be paired with a trained Compass Catholic Money Coach so they can ask questions in a confidential setting and create an accountability plan. As an incentive, we are seeking partnerships with financial institutions to open and deposit funds into bank accounts for those who complete the course. 

We estimate a budget of $40,000 to get the course developed and distributed. Two generous donors have each stepped up with a $5,000 matching donation each. This means that we are close to our goal if we can count on your help! Your donations will be used to create the content for the course, fund the curriculum-based app, and market the course to crisis pregnancy centers. 

In partnership with these donors, every dollar you donate will have double the impact! We ask you to prayerfully consider contributing to this initiative so that “every woman has the support and resources she needs to bring her child into this world in love.” You can donate directly to this new program by clicking here.

We can’t think of a higher calling than supporting the moms and dads who choose life for their unborn child.

Mark 9:37 tells us “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” 

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