'I had an abortion due to soaring costs - we can't afford another baby'

Alison said she and her partner had to make an 'objective' decision to terminate her pregnancy.

A Scots mum has opened up on her choice to terminate her pregnancy due to “unaffordable” childcare costs.

Alison*, who has a one-year-old daughter, said she and her partner had to take their “feelings and thoughts” out of their decision to have an abortion.

It comes after new research found four in ten women in Scotland who have terminated a pregnancy cited the cost of childcare as the primary reason.

Alison explained raising her daughter is already expensive due to feeding formula and nursery costs, which she said comes in at £900 a month for three days a week.

She told STV News: “When I fell pregnant again I had to think about the fact I was going to be working just to cover childcare costs.

“You want to give your kids the best life you can.

“It just felt like it wasn’t going to be worth it. I wasn’t going to be able to treat the kids, I wouldn’t have had time with them.

“I didn’t want my kids to feel like they had grown up with less than.”

Alison said until they are in a “better position” financially, they could not afford to have another baby.

She added: “We had to take our feelings and thoughts out of it as say objectively we cannot afford to have this child.

“We had to make the choice it was not something we can do.”

Survey finds four in ten who have terminated pregnancy cite childcare costs as their primary reasonGetty Images

A survey published by Pregnant Then Screwed has found 84% of parents say their childcare costs the same or more than their income – meaning that some parents are effectively paying to go to work.

As a result, 71% of mothers and 50% of fathers say it doesn’t make financial sense for them to work.

Around 41% of parents say that they have had to rely on some form of debt or withdraw money from their savings to pay for childcare.

A quarter of parents (27.8%) report having to choose between paying for childcare and buying essential items, with one in five (20%) have had to raid their savings or pension to pay their childcare bills.

Alison added: “It’s already so expensive to bring up a kid – the food, the milk, the nappies, the supplies.

“So it doesn’t surprise me at all that people are choosing not to because of financial reasons.”

Carole Erskine, head of policy and campaigns in Scotland from Pregnant Then Screwed, said: “The government is desperate for families in Scotland to have more babies, but our research shows that many parents simply can’t afford to have children due to the ever-spiralling costs of childcare.

“If we do not see increased investment into the sector, more parents will be forced to make the heart-breaking decision to abort wanted children, leave work, or forgo essential items because of the cost of childcare.

“Having children is becoming a luxury item for many, and we need to nip this in the bud fast for the sake of our economy.

“Parents cannot pay to go to work; it doesn’t make financial sense, but as things stand, many have no other choice. If the government is serious about supporting families in Scotland, we need to see investment that matches that vision.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “A women’s right to choose is a deeply personal issue and there are a wide range of reasons why different women may seek an abortion. The Scottish Government will look carefully at the full findings of this research once it is published.

“Scotland is the only part of the UK to already offer 1,140 hours a year of funded early learning and childcare to all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds (equivalent to 30 hours per week in term time) regardless of their parents’ working status – putting children first. This offer has been in place since 2021 and, if families paid for this themselves, it would cost them around £5,800 per eligible child per year.

“We recognise that supporting families through high quality, affordable and accessible childcare is critical to our national mission to tackle child poverty.  We will continue our work to develop an expanded national offer for more families with two-year olds, and progress work with early adopter communities in six local authorities to develop local systems of funded childcare for families who need it most.”

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