Make Birth Free

Photo by Christian Bowen on Unsplash

In a new white paper, Catherine Glenn Foster of Americans United for Life and Kristen Day of Democrats for Life of America write:

Today, the American dream is out of reach for too many. Too many couples feel they cannot start or grow their families because of our disordered politics and warped economy. The existing model that erects barriers to family formation and imposes dizzying costs for childbirth is both unworkable and untenable. Now is the time to make it obsolete. To change the future, we need a new model, a better paradigm. Birth in the United States of America should be free….

Maternity care in the United States is uniquely expensive. Childbirth costs far less in other developed countries and comprehensive maternity care is free or cheap for all. Ireland, which boasts one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world, guarantees free maternity care at public hospitals. In Finland, it is “almost free” to have a child and “giving birth is a family affair that emphasizes the mother and baby’s well being.” Unsurprisingly, it is also one of the safest countries for a baby to be born, with extremely low infant mortality….

The U.S. maternal mortality rate in 2020 was 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births, while Canada’s was only 8.3. Tragically, infant mortality rates in the United States are also higher. In 2020, the infant mortality rate in the United States was 5.4 deaths per 1,000 live births, while in Canada it was 4.4. By removing barriers to prenatal and postpartum treatment, physicians will be able to identify and prevent complications earlier, protecting the health and safety of both mother and child. Make Birth Free enables mothers to make the choice for life. Whether pro-life or pro-choice, everyone should agree that no woman should feel coerced into choosing abortion as her only or most cost-effective option. According to several analyses, women rank concerns about financial preparedness as their top reason for choosing abortion. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute asserts that three-quarters of women seeking abortion listed financial affordability as a reason for obtaining abortion.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial Board writes:

Maternal and infant care is far more expensive in the United States than in other developed nations — and outcomes are worse. The U.S. system of pre- and post-partum care is broken. Making birth free to mothers and families would correct structural inequities and liberate women and families from financial coercion in a most intimate part of their lives….

Maternal and neonatal care in America is broken, and the nation has the resources fix it. A solution offered by two anti-abortion groups provides plenty of common ground for people with vastly different views on abortion — if they have the courage and wisdom to see it.