Tax restrictions, especially in time of pandemic, have led many to conclude they cannot afford another baby.
About six in 10 women affected by a controversial tax policy in Great Britain said the policy led them to have an abortion since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Britain’s largest abortion provider, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, reported the finding and called on the government to reverse the policy, which ends tax benefits for a third child and subsequent children.
The policy, which has been in effect since 2017 in order to increase tax revenues, was a “big factor” for one women interviewed for the report, who told BPAS: “My husband has lost his job so we are on a very tight budget and when we looked at our finances we realized we couldn’t afford to have another baby.”
Another woman said, “If there was no two-child limit I would have kept the baby, but I couldn’t afford to feed and clothe it. … I’ve really struggled to come to terms with [my decision].”
The number of women with two or more children having abortions has risen by 16% since the two-child limit policy was introduced, the Independent reported.
“Some 243,000 families had been impacted by the two-child limit by April 2020, according to government data,” the newspaper said. “The pandemic means a further 60,000 families are likely to have been affected by the policy.”
Katherine O’Brien, a BPAS official, said: “The combination of the Covid-19 pandemic together with the two-child limit is a significant factor in many women’s decision to end a pregnancy. Given the scale of predicted job losses and long-term economic forecasts, we anticipate that the numbers of women in this incredibly difficult position will only increase.”
O’Brien called for the government to abolish the two-child limit as a “matter of urgency.” She warned that women will continue “feeling forced into a corner between financial hardship” or ending a pregnancy they wanted to keep.