By Stephen D. Foster Jr. | 17 March 2015
The cost of having children is high and there are more people than there are jobs, but Kansas Governor Sam Brownback insists that forcing women to have babies is good for the economy.
During an interview on Washington Watch with hate group Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, Brownback claimed that Kansas’ economy is exploding because he has signed 10 anti-abortion bills into state law.
BROWNBACK: “It’s working. What we want Kansas to be is the best place in America to do two things: raise a family, grow a small business. And we are moving that way. I’ve signed 10 pro-life bills, there’s another one moving through the legislature…”
Perkins responded by heaping praise on Brownback for somehow showing that forcing women to carry pregnancies to term and an improving economy are connected.
PERKINS: “What you’re showing in Kansas is that you can have a pro-family agenda and at the same time a pro-economic growth agenda and the two are not — rather than being mutually exclusive, they are entwined with one another.”
Happy that Perkins willingly stroked his … er … ego, Brownback claimed that the economy is lagging because people are not being forced to form families in this country. People who don’t have kids are only hurting their own financial well-being, he said.
BROWNBACK: “They really support each other. Frankly, one of the big problems we have in the country is we’re not forming enough families. And that is hurting our economic work and hurting our economic projection because the best place for that child is within a strong family. And if you’re not forming a family unit, you are also slowing your economic performance. So, these things really tie together. And I think we really do a disservice politically when we separate them.”
Here’s the audio via Right Wing Watch:
Brownback blatantly ignored his own state’s crumbling economy during the interview. Since eliminating taxes on 191,000 businesses across the state, Kansas now faces a massive budget deficit of $1.1 billion and it’s only getting worse, so much worse that Brownback is trying to plug the budget hole he created by slashing education spending.
Clearly, Brownback’s anti-abortion agenda has nothing to do with how the economy is performing, because if we use his own logic, it would appear that all these anti-abortion laws have done to the economy is strangle it.
Furthermore, having kids doesn’t magically improve a person’s economic outlook. Sure, you can take advantage of child tax credits and get a bigger tax return, but on average, it costs $250,000-$300,000 to raise a child from birth to the age of 18. Far more than tax credits provide. And if you have more than one child, the cost to raise your kids doubles. For example, having four kids would cost around $1 million to raise. So while having kids can be a joyful experience, it can be financially crippling, especially for teen girls who get pregnant before they finish school.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, not only does pregnancy have a negative impact on the education prospects of teen girls, it also severely harms them economically.
Poverty is both a cause and a consequence of teen pregnancy and childbearing. Two-thirds of young unmarried mothers are poor and around 25 percent go on welfare within three years of a child’s birth. Low educational attainment among teen mothers affects their economic opportunities and earnings in later years. Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school or college, and are therefore less likely to find well-paying jobs. This reality is evident in the fact that over the past 20 years, the median income for college graduates has increased 19 percent, while income among high school drop-outs has decreased 28 percent.The economic consequences of dropping out of school often contribute to the perpetual cycle of economic hardship and poverty that spans generations.
Only around 20 percent of fathers of children born to teen mothers marry the mothers. Therefore, child support generally represents a vital income source for these single parent families, accounting for 23 percent of family income among families that receive it. However, teen fathers may pay less than $800 a year in child support, compounding financial difficulties for the parent responsible for day to day care. Teen fathers are often poor themselves; research indicates that they are also less educated and experience earning losses of 10-15 percent annually.
Another thing to consider is that the parent or parents may have to apply for state and federal assistance, which drains even more resources from budgets.
In short, forcing women to have babies against their will, especially women who cannot afford to raise a child, only places an economic burden on them and the government. Children are a huge responsibility, which is why easier access to contraception is important. It prevents unwanted pregnancies, therefore preventing abortions as well. If Republicans really want to improve the economy and end abortion, they should support contraception so that young women can seek the education they desire so that they can earn more money and become financially secure enough to make the decision to have a child. But that would require Republicans to get off of their religious high-horse and embrace logic and reason.
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