Receiving an in-clinic abortion at Planned Parenthood, during the first trimester of pregnancy, will cost a patient approximately 300 to 950 dollars depending on the pricing scale they qualify for based on their income. For some, that’s not a big deal for a life-changing operation, but for others, coming up with that money isn’t easy. That’s why Sara Tuttle, bowler-turned-activist, is working to raise funds so women with low-income can receive abortions for unintended pregnancy. Recently, Tuttle raised $553,133 by placing fourth in a nationwide bowling tournament in April.
An abortion pill, which avoids any surgical procedure, isn’t actually less expensive, costing the patient between 300 to 800 dollars at any Planned Parenthood location.
Pro-life or pro-choice arguments aside, it’s hard to ignore that only wealthier women are able to receive abortions while those living with lower-incomes simply cannot because of financial constraints. Which begs the question: are women with lower incomes experiencing a higher prevalence of unwanted pregnancies as a result of not having the funds needed for proper birth control?
According to the National Abortion Federation, “Each year, almost half of all pregnancies among American women are unintended. About half of these unplanned pregnancies, 1.3 million each year, are ended by abortion.”
The NAF goes on to explain that misconceptions around abortions, such as the types of women who receive them, are plentiful. “The fact is that the women who have abortions come from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds. If current rates continue, it is estimated that 35% of all women of reproductive age in America today will have had an abortion by the time they reach the age of 45.”
In 2000, the NAF recorded that 57 percent of the women receiving abortions had a college education, 88 percent lived in a metropolitan area, 57 percent were also classified as low-income.
To compared college-educated women with low-income, revealing an equal rate of abortion, dispels the myth that unintended pregnancies are simply the result of lack of knowledge, awareness, or wealth. That being said, not all college-educated women are wealthy, and not all women with low-incomes necessarily have a lesser knowledge in general, they simply haven’t sat in a college classroom.
Other assumptions around abortion include a woman’s relationship status. “Most women getting abortions (83%) are unmarried; 67% have never married, and 16% are separated, divorced, or widowed. Married women are significantly less likely than unmarried women to resolve unintended pregnancies through abortion.”
Nothing surprising there.
The most surprising statistic shared by the NAF is around religion: “27% of abortion patients say they are Catholics.”
Actor Mark Ruffalo recently stepped up to support pro-choice rights for women in the United States by speaking in front of an abortion clinic in Mississippi last Saturday, motivated by the fact that his mother once received an illegal abortion out of desperation when she was younger.
“I don’t want to turn back the hands of time to when women shuttled across state lines in the thick of night to resolve an unwanted pregnancy, in a cheap hotel room.”
Other pro-choice supporters and celebrities include Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman, Kevin Bacon, Lisa Kudrow, and Meryl Streep.
Meanwhile, Tuttle’s work will hopefully go on, because more funds are always needed. ThinkProgress recently reported that over 50 clinics specializing in abortion have been forced to close since 2010 because of state-level regulations and restrictions created and enforced by lawmakers.
Tuttle knows her work will likely never be done as she explains, “Some people fundraise to fight breast cancer; I fundraise for abortion access.”
Written by: Ginger Vieira