Abortion & Economics

December 16, 2008 9:30:49 PM PST
Hard financial times are having an impact on non-profit health care centers, like Planned Parenthood. We're not talking about a lack of funding but a significant increase in demand for services.One service Planned Parenthood has experienced a notable increase in is abortions. It could be the first such increase in almost 20 years.

"As people are losing their jobs they are losing their health insurance."

Many of those people who no longer have employer-provided health care or cannot afford their co-payments are turning to Planned Parenthood in big numbers. The non-profit health center has seen an increase in patient visits of eight-percent in the past year.

Planned Parenthoods Patsy Montgomery said, "We have more and more families who need access to family planning ... and to basic reproductive healthcare."

Planned Parenthood clinics in Fresno now see about 140 patients a day...Public Affairs Director Patsy Montgomery says 97% of those patients come here for birth control, annual exams, pre-natal care, S.T.D tests, breast exams, and education services ... but the remaining three-percent are here for abortions.

"That is probably the saddest kind of increase, but they are glad that we're here. It makes up about less than three-percent of what we do, but if you look back a year ago, it made up one-percent," said Montgomery.

The increase, they believe is due to the tough economy.

Theresa Fuentes said, "The economy is making women think just a little bit differently-- the family size, how they are dealing with that and the choices they are making because they don't have enough income."

Theresa Fuentez is registered nurse who counsels women who choose to abort ... More of them are now in their 30's and 40's.

"They have their partner, they have their families, they have their children and they're just having such a hard time with making that decision," said Fuentes.

"If this is true-- this would be the first time that we've seen an abortion increase since 1990," said Josh Brahm.

Right to Life Central California Director Josh Brahm is not surprised by the increase, but says help is available for women whose finances are pushing them towards abortion.

"There are so many different programs that people have no idea about that can help them in these tough times-- so we would like them to know about that so that they don't have to make this choice to help their wallet," said Brahm.

Planned Parenthood offers referrals and resources to women-- no matter what option they choose, whether to have the baby, abort or give the baby up for adoption. Right to Life Central California refers women in financial need to "Pregnancy Care Centers"-- they have an office in Downtown Fresno that offers a variety of free health care services.

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