Friday, November 9, 2012

economies of life

David Frum, CNN recently pondered the idea that you don't reduce the number of women seeking abortions by banning them, but rather making them accessible BUT improving economic conditions for unexpected moms so that they can consider that maybe they can provide a good life for their little surprises.   His discussion begins with the financial toll of carrying to term (and to college graduation) children conceived in rape.   He describes the correlation between better care and economic conditions in other nations with their low abortion rates.  Its a well argued position, and at the time I initially viewed the piece, the respondents were surprisingly well mannered in their contributions as well.

He could have continued:  Better economic conditions could also lead to better pre- and post -natal care for both planned and serendipitous children.  Such care should be associated with reduced need for sick days, so isn't a system that encourages either or both more business friendly?    Family planning and childcare are societal concerns, not just women's issues.  And policies that support work-life balance should support all workers, not just parents, and certainly not just Moms.  Requiring salaried workers to burn both ends of their candles in perpetuity can't really be good for the bottom line.  Everyone should be able to help Dad get to the doctor, pick up groceries for a recuperating neighbor, weed the community garden, contribute time to the local firehouse or ambulance crew, or just enjoy a few minutes of rare sunny Syracuse weather.  Better mental health supports better physical health--again fewer sick days.  And perhaps higher worker satisfaction and energy levels--so when you do have a legitimate emergency, they do have some reserves to draw upon.  Higher employee satisfaction leads to less turnover, lower training costs, no lost productivity while you try to fill a position and bring up to speed.  


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