Abortion and Money

10 Mar

I was having a conversation with a friend who borders on being anti-choice. She might be better described as personally pro-life. She has some misconceptions about abortion that I’ve had a hard time refuting. Generally because she is one of my most important friends, we don’t discuss it. That might seem a little strange but some things are just more important.

The last time we were discussing abortion she was criticizing Dr. Morgentaler because he has all these clinics and he is making money from them (she said). I had been discussing his lawsuit against the New Brunswick government, which is an attempt to force the provincial government to follow the law and pay for abortions at his clinic. She said that the only reason he was doing it was for the money. Somehow making money by providing abortions is wrong. At the time I found myself defending Dr. M saying that he didn’t make money from his clinics. Looking back, I realize that was a stupid argument. Not only did I discredit myself by talking about something I don’t know about, but I perpetuated the problem.

Abortion doctors make money. At anywhere from $500-$1000+ per procedure, they are making money. It is doubtful many of them do it just for the money since many risk, at minimum, harassment, and at worst, their lives. Even if they don’t do it just for the money, they aren’t doing it for free. Some make a living off performing the procedure. In most parts of Canada where the doctors charge the provincial healthcare system for the procedure, they are probably making pretty good money. After all, they are doctors. I think that the pro-choice movement needs to own this. If we in any way concede that it is wrong for abortion doctors to make money for performing abortions, we are implicitly admitting there is something wrong with abortions. We must support the rights of doctors to make a living performing abortions. There is nothing wrong with this fact. We must own it.

The reality is, whether you disagree with what a doctor does, you don’t have the right to demonize them for making a living off of it (unless it is illegal like Gosnell’s clinic). I find plastic surgery for pure vanity reasons to be disgusting. That doesn’t mean that the doctors don’t have a right to make a living doing it. When an anti cries out that abortion doctors make money “killing babies,” we have to stand up for their right to practice medicine. They are doctors. They spent many years in school learning their trade. They are just as entitled to charge for their services as any other doctor. This goes to making sure abortion doctors are in the mainstream. The more they are alienated in the medical world, the more danger they are in. We have to normalize what they do.

I’ve learned my lesson. I’m glad it was with a friend who won’t hold my mistake against me. I am pro-choice and I support the right of abortion doctors to make a living helping women. There is no shame in that.

4 Responses to “Abortion and Money”

  1. Jadelyn March 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    My father, a far-right Teabagger and social conservative, was ranting about abortion to me recently. One of his big points was “Those baby-killers are making a MINT off of it! A MINT, I’m telling you!” To which I looked him right in the eye and calmly said, “Duh, Dad. They’re DOCTORS. Doctors make lots of money, no matter what type of services they’re providing. That’s just how it is.” And he devolved into half-coherent sputtering and dropped it. ^_^

  2. Jane March 11, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Doctors can make their money doing a bunch of other things besides performing abortions. To make the choice to perform abortions in the face of everything that comes with it,from social exclusion to death threats to watching their colleagues be murdered,is illogical if it is “just about the money.” There are easier ways to make a buck. Doctors who perform abortions are “in it” because of their deep belief in women, their belief that women have the right to control their own bodies, and because they are profoundly feminist. Counter that “money” argument with one that says they are moral and ethical people who do this work because they are called to it.

  3. Jon March 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    In a world where corporations can make money on basically anything, I don’t understand why people expect abortion providers to live a monastic lifestyle. Monsanto can sue farmers who crops are contaminated with the Monsanto GMO plants against their wishes, Haliburton can make millions of dollars violating ethics agreements, and Pharmaceutical companies can patent genes that cause breast cancer all in the name of making money. But abortion providers are expected to provide abortions free of charge.

  4. MsC March 26, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    OK, doctors make money off abortions. But they could make even more money if a woman goes through with her pregnancy. Pre-natal checkups, labor and delivery, post-natal care, etc. are going to pay much more than a one-time outpatient procedure. So the doctors are actually forgoing a bigger paycheck to give women the care they want and deserve.

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