CNBC Should Ask the GOP Presidential Candidates Where they Stand on Reproductive Freedom

Tomorrow, the GOP presidential candidates will meet to discuss economic policy issues. The moderators will ask questions about the economy, jobs, and infrastructure.

But here’s one economic policy they won’t ask a question on (but should): whether the candidates support affordable birth control, paid family leave, and legal abortion.

Reproductive Freedom is an Economic Issue

By the numbers:

  • On average, it costs about $245,340 to raise a child up until age 18.
  • Every $1 invested in public birth control & family planning programs saves $7.09 in Medicaid spending.
  • The Affordable Care Act has saved women $1.4 BILLION on birth control pills alone.
  • The services at publicly funded family planning clinics saved the federal and state government about $13.6 billion in 2010.
  • In 2011, 89% of U.S. counties had no abortion clinic. Only 38% of women live in these counties. That number is even higher today.

Some back-of-the-napkin math — women who live outside these counties may incur these additional costs:

  • $23 for a tank of gas to drive each way to the closest clinic
  • $20 for 2 days of fast food on the road
  • $75 for 1 night in a hotel because of a mandatory 24-hour waiting period
  • At least $116 for 2 days in lost wages
  • $130 for a babysitter to take care of a child at home

And that’s in addition to the cost of having an abortion — which can run anywhere from $500 and $700.

  • 69% of women who had an abortion in 2008 were poor or low-income.
  • Low-income women on Medicaid face an additional cost barrier — the Hyde Amendment has made it impossible for any federal funds to pay for an abortion.
  • 1 in 4 women return to work within 2 weeks of childbirth because they can’t afford to take time off — and taking so little time to heal and bond with a new baby can have severe consequences for the whole family.
  • Parents who decide to take longer unpaid family leave are forced to live without pay for 3 months or more.

The Bottom Line

  • Reproductive freedom and a stronger economy are inherently linked.
  • Affordable, accessible birth control allows women to plan their families and space apart pregnancies — which leads to healthy women & children and enables them to finish school and establish their careers before having a child.
  • Affordable, accessible, safe, and legal abortion care ensures women have the final say over if, when, how, and with whom they decide to start a family.
  • Paid family leave allows parents to take the time they need to heal, bond with their family, and raise happy, healthy families.

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