The Pro-choice and Pro-life Issues

Abortion has been an ongoing issue in the United States in recent history. There is a constant debate between pro-choice and pro-life issues. People for pro-choice argue that it should be up to the individual to decide whether or not an abortion is right for them. On the other hand, pro-life supporters argue that a fetus is a human being, and that abortion is murder. The debate has focused primarily on these two arguments, but little emphasis has been placed on the economic analysis of the story. In this article, I will discuss the individual costs and benefits of abortion, the social costs and benefits of abortion, and optimal government policies and regulations pertaining to abortion. From my economic analysis, I will conclude that the government should keep abortion legal to maximize social aggregate welfare, and provide funding for abortions for lower-income individuals who cannot afford an abortion otherwise.

The Individual.

Costs To the Individual-.

If an individual chooses to have an abortion, there are some costs that the individual will face. We can derive a simple function to represent the individual’s costs of a legal abortion.


where P(time) is the monetary price of the abortion, which is represented as a function of time (the further into the pregnancy, the more expensive it is to have the abortion), u is any medical expenses, such as medication or hospital stays, I is the individuals health costs (which include the possibility of death or internal damages as well as any psychological trauma), W is the wage lost in the labor force due to the operation and recovery time, and c is a parameter for personal feelings towards abortion. If an individual has a large moral objection to abortion, then their c parameter will be high, increasing the cost of the abortion. Likewise, the c value will be low if the person has few objections to abortion.

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