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Fam Plann Perspect. 1986 May-Jun;18(3):111-8.

Public benefits and costs of government funding for abortion.


In state referenda to end public funding of abortions for poor women, one of the most successful tactics of abortion foes has been to charge that abortion funding increases the burden on taxpayers. A state-by-state analysis by The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) shows that the opposite is the case. For every tax dollar spent to pay for abortions for poor women, about four dollars is saved in public medical and welfare expenditures. The savings are in public expenditures that otherwise would have to be incurred because of the babies that poor women would have borne. On the basis of earlier research, it was assumed that 20 percent of Medicaid-eligible women who could not obtain abortions would give birth. Public costs examined in the AGI analysis include Medicaid expenditures for prenatal care, delivery and postnatal care for the mother, and for newborn care, neonatal intensive care and pediatric care for the child for the first two years of life; as well as expenditures for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), food stamps and the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) during those first two years. The benefit-to-cost ratio varies from about 9:1 in Massachusetts to 2:1 in Hawaii and Pennsylvania. The net savings for the nation as a whole over a two-year period if abortions were publicly funded in every state would total at least $339.6 million.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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