Poverty has for the most parts been considered a moral failure in the US, and because of this belief, charity has been considered an appropriate response to the persistent social ills. But because charity doesn't address the underlying issues of poverty, it cannot wipe out or reduce these social ills; it can only highlight the plight of the poor. Neither can morality reduce poverty, for no matter how many times people are told that hard work pays off, if you are paid poverty wages you will remain poor.
The same conundrum is found when we begin to look for the underlying causes of abortion and how they are dealt with. A large portion of women who have abortions cite economic reasons: they feel they cannot afford to bring a dependent child to the world when they can barely take care of themselves. But instead of looking for ways to support women and children, pro-lifers prescribe a moral solution to the question of abortion. "Abstinence only" sex-education, purity and modesty culture, restricting access to contraceptives; these are all moral solutions.
It isn't possible to solve a financial problem by prescribing a moral solution.
So why is it nevertheless attempted? The reason most pro-lifers support a moral solution and reject contraceptives and comprehensive sex-education is because of their commitment to a morality that restricts sex to marriage and procreation. According to this morality recreational sex is considered immoral and ought to be banned, made illegal, and preferably be the cause of social ostracism. Unfortunately most people disagree with this sentiment, and a lot of these people are teens, poor women, women with already more children than they can feed, and limited access to contraceptives and information. And so the abortion rates continue to remain high and no amount of public outrage is going to lower the rates, just as no amount of fine political speeches are going to reduce poverty, for unless wages go up, poverty won't go down.
Morals are a great tool in helping people understand what their actions do to themselves and others. But if you have precisely one option, no amount of preaching is going to help you find another. It is not accidental that well-to-do Christians are at the forefront of the moral outrage against abortion, for in their world there is always an other option.
It is easy to sit in the sunshine and talk to the man in the shade;
It is easy to float in a well-trimmed boat,
And point out the places to wade.
- Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Practice vs Preachings
If we really, truly, honestly want to reduce the number of abortions we need to work towards a more just world, for only when every mother feels secure enough in her ability to feed her children will we see lasting change.