Abortion

I believe we need respectful and honest conversation to establish a greater common ground to make abortion as safe, limited, and unnecessary as possible. We can pass laws to keep abortion legally available for 12 weeks after conception, as in Germany and Finland, and provide much greater support for women to reduce the likelihood that they ever need to consider abortion.  I believe it is a realistic foundation to respect a woman’s, family’s and fetus’s situation, and to acknowledge a growing life which is a mystery we do not and may never fully understand.

Fundamentally, I deeply believe that we need a cultural change in our country’s attitudes towards life and sex.  We need to show greater respect for life and take communal responsibility for all lives .  We are not currently doing this.  The U.S. has an infant mortality rate that is substantially higher than in any other developed nation, a lack of universal health care (which is something that should be a right), continued use of the death penalty in some states, an unacceptably high poverty rate, gender and racial inequality, an incarceration rate that is far higher than any other country in the world, horrible treatment of desperate immigrant families, and ongoing engagement in unnecessary wars that are harming and ending lives around the globe.  The U.S. is ranked 31st globally in life-expectancy and this ranking is even lower for segments of our population.

I believe we need to recognize and take responsibility for the lives potentially created during sex, and that we need to care for the lives that are created when they are in the womb, and after birth. Our society’s commercial exploitation of sex to sell everything from alcohol to children’s clothes, the pervasive media representation of irresponsible sex, and the attitude that “everybody’s doing it” are abysmal. Our children need to be taught respect for the beauty of loving, responsible sexual relations, for the deep emotional communication that takes place in sexual relations, and the life and family that can be created in the process.

Available research shows that banning abortions does not decrease their occurence. In some countries where they are banned, abortion rates are estimated to be much higher than in countries where it is legal for specified periods after conception. Severely restricting or fully criminalizing abortion does not effectively reduce women from procuring an abortion, just as banning alcohol consumption (a very good thing for many families and people) did not stop drinking or alcoholism.

I believe that someday the need for abortions can and will be significantly reduced. Men can understandably be criticized, as I have been, for assuming they have any right to participate in regulating abortion, something that by its very nature affects women directly and immensely  more than men. Men have  responsibilities that too many have immorally ignored that begin before sexual relations take place to prevent unwanted pregnancies and continue  to provide equal care for a child financially, emotionally, and in time spent together until she/he reaches independence.

  • I believe that we need to provide much greater support to women in the form of a strong social and financial safety net, particularly prior to, during, and after pregnancy.
  • I support reducing the number of abortions through sex education that conveys the deeply serious responsibility of sexual relations and the benefits of abstinence, coupled with readily available contraceptives.
  • I support a major focus on vastly improving all young women’s academic and vocational educational opportunities in order to assure a path to good jobs.
  • I support reducing economic pressures by providing: a family-supportive minimum wage, paid family leave for working parents (one per household), universal healthcare, job-retraining with unemployment support when necessary, affordable and high-quality child care, and continuing prohibitions on insurance companies considering pregnancy a pre-existing condition (or increasing the cost for pregnant women). With this, we must reduce factors that undermine family stability such as predatory and grossly excessive credit card interest rates.
  • I support as part of a 12-week legally available abortion period (with exceptions afterwards) a provision that requires review by a panel of women with prior pro-life and pro-choice views every five years if the 12-week (or existing) period can be reduced.

Facts

  • Women in America are 35 percent more likely than men to live in poverty.
  • European laws restrict abortion availability to women and families from conception to after 12-22 weeks (with exceptions for rape, a mother’s health, and the fetus’s health) and require three-to-five day waiting periods with counseling.
  • 70 percent of the nation’s poor are women and children.
  • 35 percent of single women with children live and raise their families in poverty.
  • Abortion rates are often lower in countries where abortion is legal for a specified period, contraceptives are readily available, and women have higher levels of socio-economic support.