Abortion continues to be a particularly divisive issue in our country. When a woman has an unwanted pregnancy, there is an unavoidable human dilemma: The woman cannot escape the effects of the pregnancy on her life and the baby is wholly dependent on the mother for life.
While pregnancy may be unwelcome news in such cases, an expectant mother continues to have some options regarding how to continue in life, though they may be painful and even bleak. However, an unborn baby has but one option to continue its life. That is birth. In the spirit of being a voice for those who have no voice, I largely choose to advocate for the interests of the unborn in matters of public policy. I support legally protecting unborn life except in cases of rape, incest, underage pregnancy, and grave threats to the health of the mother.
In 2010 when Congress was negotiating how the Affordable Care Act would handle abortions, a group of prolife Democrats petitioned President Obama for signed orders that guaranteed no one would be forced to buy policies that paid for abortions. I would count myself as one of those prolife Democrats. Abortion is not necessarily a partisan issue. Unwanted pregnancies and abortions are declining in American and advocates on both sides of the issue are likely responsible for this welcomed progress.
Equally Important Agenda
Much debate surrounding abortion has been largely preoccupied with defining when fetal life begins and under what circumstances termination is morally permissible. These are important issues and they directly involve important public policy decisions, but they have distracted from other elements of a robust prolife policy.
Abortion is quite often a desperate act. Relieving the desperation of young women is common ground for those pursuing an end to abortions. Briefly, the following agenda will move our society toward that end. (1) We must pursue policies that ensure women across the social strata need never fear that future employment will be limited by motherhood. (2) Women and men must have access to birth control and both must understand they have a right to use it. (3) We must say no to a culture that sees women’s bodies as sexual objects that may be exploited. Boys must be taught to reject notions of sexual conquest and domination of women, which both lead to abuse. Likewise, girls must be taught to reject any kind of sexual subjugation in their relationships with others.
This agenda will serve to empower women to make the choices necessary in life to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Along with economic and education policies that instill hope in our communities instead of fear, we may find that the divisive issue of abortion is best resolved in realizing the very goals we hold in common.
*Portions of this policy are directly informed by Wendy Chappell-Dick’s letter to the BlufftonIcon, published November 7, 2012.