A few weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control announced that the rate of abortions in this country was at its lowest level since they started tracking abortion statistics. That’s good news, right?
Truth be told, when I was lobbying on behalf of abortion clinics in the 1990’s, I always got an interesting reaction from the owners, administrators and doctors of the clinics as we watched their numbers go down year after year. Usually, it was usually the owner who would call me and ask “are everyone else’s numbers down?” They would feel a little better when I assured them that it was a national trend. We’d then spend time speculating on what was driving the numbers down.
Of course, if you own an abortion clinic, like the owner of any business, you’re always aware of your income since you have to pay the bills and prefer to – dare I say it – make a profit. So, on an almost daily basis you are watching the number of paying customers who are coming to your clinic. Of course, the anti-abortion folks have always turned that around by suggesting that the owners are just blood sucking parasites looking to make big bucks by “killing babies.”
And, let’s face it. I did meet some owners who seemed to be focused on making money to the point where I wondered if they were cutting some serious corners. But, putting aside the proverbial bad apples that exist in every field, it was always clear to me that the people who opened up these clinics and ran them for many years really did care about making sure that women had access to abortion services. Every day they and their staff would hear the stories of women who felt the need to terminate their pregnancy and, while it was usually a sad situation, the clinics just tried to do their best to help the women.
So, when an owner of a clinic sees the number of patients decreasing dramatically, they will surely think about how they are going to make a living. But they no doubt are also thinking about having to close down what has become their life’s work. From the very beginning they knew that the ultimate goal was fewer and fewer women needing abortion services, but it’s a harsh reality when that really starts to happen.