Unlike other animals, humans have sex for pleasure, and to show affection. I would wager that at least 99% of the human sexual encounters in the world happen without the specific goal of making a baby. Recognizing that lovemaking and baby making are rarely simultaneous reasons for having sexual relations is the first essential step on the road to sensible family planning and control of the exploding world population. Contraception is the vehicle that takes us down that road. Abortion is the insurance policy that takes care of accidents. If that vehicle is well-designed, readily available and affordable, there will be few accidents due to its failure. But there will always be careless drivers.
A person who drives his car carelessly and collects tickets or gets in accidents hears from his insurance company. His premiums go up. The insurance company may even refuse to renew his policy when it expires. In California, where I live, it is illegal to drive a car without liability insurance. Drivers with bad driving records who cannot find an insurer are put in an Assigned Risk Pool. Each insurance company has to take a percentage of the drivers in the Pool, based on their percentage of the insurance market. The premiums are very high, and some people don’t buy insurance. Drivers stopped by the police for any reason who cannot show proof of insurance can be arrested, and their vehicle impounded. But what if an uninsured driver has an accident and is liable for damages and even injuries to themselves and others? Who should pay if they cannot? The offender will probably end up in jail, but that doesn’t solve the problem. In fact, it makes it worse, adding even more costs. One way or another, society will pay for the accident.
To stretch the analogy a bit, consider the case of a woman who cannot afford health insurance. If she gets pregnant, she surely cannot afford an abortion. If no government agency or charitable organization like Planned Parenthood will fund her abortion, she will be forced to have a child that she probably cannot afford to support, so she will apply for some form of government welfare like Aid For Dependent Children. In the long run, the cost to support that unwanted child will be far greater than the cost of an abortion. But that is only the beginning of the costs to society of unwanted, possibly neglected or even abused children. What are the prospects for such unfortunate children? When they are adults, how many will end up on welfare or in jail? One way or another, society will pay…either for the abortion, or for the consequences of no abortion.
A final note: The careless driver caused his own difficulties. For the woman, her pregnancy may have been due to carelessness, but there are many other reasons why she may not have been able to avoid unprotected sex, like rape, incest or an insistent partner. Regardless of the reason, punishing her with parenthood is a cruel and shortsighted answer to the problem.