Monday, April 4, 2011

Healthcare economics and abortion

Over the weekend I was listening to the Catholic Laboratory podcast. If you've never heard it, check it out on Facebook or iTunes. The host, Ian Maxfield, is in the middle of a great series of episodes on the science behind John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Great stuff!

The episode I was listening to was about IVF, a subject I've blogged about several times. Ian referenced studies by Professor William Ledger, from the University of Sheffield in the UK supporting government funded IVF treatments for women through age 42 as being "cost effective". I also found a study by Dutch scientists claiming government funded IVF was economically effective through age 44. From the (more recent) Dutch article (the UK numbers are consistent):

Evers, a fertility expert from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, based his calculations on figures for Dutch patients, but said similar calculations could also be applied to other developed countries.

Based on an average Gross National Product of 24,320 euros ($31,120) per person per year and an average life expectancy of 76 years, Evers found that lifetime contribution of every person to the Dutch GNP is around 1.848 millions euros ($2.36 million).

He then took away the average costs to society of that person, including childcare and education (640,000 euros), social welfare and healthcare (550,000 euros), and retirement benefits (420,000 euros) and found that the average net contribution of each person to GNP was 238,000 euros ($304,500).

Set against IVF costs in the Netherlands -- which are around 28,000 euros at the age of 35 and 49,000 euros at the age of 40, but rise dramatically to almost 600,000 euros at the age of 45 -- Evers found the treatment paid for itself up to age 44.

"This work shows that society actually receives substantial benefits from each baby produced via IVF, and simply looking at the costs of IVF without looking at the benefits is a false economy," Evers said.

"In addition, we have the joy of the couple in having a child and the benefits of a human life, which you can't simply deal with through this type of calculation."
Think about that for a minute. According to the calculations, each child that comes into the world is a net gain for the economy of about $300,000. By that token how the heck does a government justify paying for abortion and contraception?

Let's work the numbers the other way. Assuming the costs and benefits are similar in America (and I'd expect the benefits to be higher since the government doesn't provide as many public services as the Netherlands', and because we are a rich nation). For each baby aborted in the US, we can take $300,000 out of the US economy that would have been there had that baby lived. Since 1973 we have lost over 50,000,000 children to abortion. That's $15,000,000,000,000 (fifteen trillion dollars)!

Furthermore, as Michael Voris points out in his film "The Cost of Abortion", some of those aborted babies would be having children of their own, which, using US birth figures, would account for another 6.4 million children, or another $1,920,000,000,000 (nearly two trillion collars)!

That's $17 trillion dollars net gain removed from the US economy, and our tax dollars are paying for it! Wanna pay for universal health care? Wanna pay down the US debt? Wanna lower taxes? Wanna have a market for US goods and services? Wanna find a buyer for your house? Want a job? Then we need to stop intentionally shrinking our economy.


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