Along with my wife Alison, I came to the decision to have a vasectomy this fall. Aside from a counseling appointment in which Alison was intensely questioned about if she wants to eventually have children, the process has been relatively simple. And the procedure is fully covered by insurance, meaning a fifty dollar co-pay is all it cost me.
This summer, Alison had an abortion. You can read more about her story in her own words here — but simply put, we did not want to nor was it in the best interests for our family to have a child. As is the case for any reason, it was her constitutional right to seek abortion care.
Largely due to class and racial privilege, the abortion (which, spoiler alert: wasn’t covered by insurance) was not an economic burden for our family. There was no pay day loan taken out, no money lent to us from friends or family. But with an insurance ban on abortion procedures in Missouri and the Hyde Amendment, which denies Medicaid funding for abortion, many are not as fortunate.
An abortion can range from $470 to $1320 dollars. This figure doesn’t include childcare, gas, or lodging costs that can burden someone in a state like Missouri that has a 72-hour waiting period between appointments and only one clinic that provides abortions.
We know that most people who get abortions are already parents with families to support. Although 66 percent of women accessing abortions have some sort of health insurance, it was found that 57 percent paid out of pocket, likely due to insurance denial and the Hyde Amendment, as 31 percent of abortion patients were on Medicaid in 2008.
So if we know that abortion is a legal, human right that is currently economically burdensome tomany seeking access to it, why are we still punishing people for having abortions both financially and in our policy-making?
Every family deserves the right to access affordable reproductive healthcare. This includes both vasectomies and yes, abortion.