Abortion providers generally charge less for their services than physicians in other specialties. Not only is abortion care less profitable than most other areas of medicine – including obstetrics – it is usually less-respected and less prestigious as well. The stigma of abortion means that providers are often stigmatized too, even by their colleagues in other specialties. In addition, many of them continue their work in spite of regular threats to their lives and safety. These factors make profit an unlikely or low priority for most abortion providers. Indeed, personal accounts of providers often stress the satisfaction and joy they get from being able to help women in a direct and tangible way. For example, a provider from New York, Dr. Maureen Paul, said:
“I absolutely love my work. Each abortion is one woman’s story, and some of those stories are difficult. It is really important to help women through the abortion experience so that they come out on the other side feeling they have made the best choice for their lives. It is wonderful to be a part of that process. I know that every time I do an abortion on a woman who chooses it, I am saving her life both literally and figuratively.”
Most doctors enter medicine out of a desire to help people, and abortion providers are no different. After all, we don’t assume that because many other doctors are highly paid, such as heart surgeons, that they are therefore “only in it for the money.” Of course, all doctors deserve a reasonable income because they undergo years of specialized training and their profession carries a huge responsibility to society.
In the U.S., the cost of an early abortion has remained about the same since at least 2008 – about $500 US. Abortion is far from a lucrative business, but trying to restrict access to information about reproductive freedom costs taxpayers billions. In 2010, for example, unintended pregnancy cost American taxpayers $21 billion. Taxpayers paid for 68% of the 1.5 million unplanned births, at an average cost of $12,770 per birth. Abortion clinics actually save taxpayers’ money by preventing future unintended pregnancies through provision of birth control and education.
Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, Why I Provide Abortions (2005)
Guttmacher Institute, Public Costs from Unintended Pregnancies
Guttmacher Institute, The Cost of Abortion, When Providers Offer Services and Harassment of Abortion Providers All Remained Stable Between 2008 And 2012 (2015)
Ms. Magazine, 10 Worst Abortion Myths–and How to Refute Them (2010)
Public Eye, Abortion Myths, by Marlena Sobel