'Abortion Care Costs More than Their Monthly Rent,' Professor Testifies

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | January 10, 2014 | 9:10 AM EST

"For many people, abortion care costs more than their monthly rent," a professor testified Thursday in opposition to the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7).

Addressing Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing, George Washington University Associate Professor Susan Franklin Wood testified:

"While it may not seem like a big expense to a Member of Congress, in these tough financial times, for many people, abortion care costs more than their monthly rent, putting it out of reach for their family's pocketbook.

"Studies show that most Americans do not have enough savings to cover a financial emergency, which means they have to borrow, sell or pawn personal items, or divert money from another financial obligation to cover emergencies such as an unexpected health care need. Moreover, cutting off access to abortion has profoundly harmful effects on the public health.

"Based on the experience with the ban that has long been imposed on women who qualify for Medicaid, we know that one in four low-income women who seek an abortion are forced to carry a pregnancy to term due to lack of coverage and cost."

Later in the hearing, when Rep. King questioned Prof. Wood about her "abortion care" claim that "many women" pay more for abortion care than they do for rent, Wood admitted that this was only in extreme, isolated cases involving specific circumstances - and not a recurring expense.

Rep. King: "Okay, then you answer, then, would be that, in exceptional cases it may cost a woman more for a single abortion than it does for her one month of rent check. Is that an accurate way to depict what you said?"

Prof. Wood: "That's correct."

Rep. King: "Okay, because I wonder how many abortions a month does she need to keep up with the monthly rent check."