Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Better Way: Policies That Might Actually End Abortion In America

Just as we blame an abusive partner for pressuring women into abortion, I wonder if our country's family-related policies (or lack thereof) inadvertently pressure women into abortion. 

I wonder if, in some way, we will be held complicit, if not for participation in the killing of a child in utero, then for ignoring the poor as they feel cornered by this choice.

If you're serious about ending abortion in America, please consider these policy adjustments to our country's approach to family:

1. Pregnancy and childbirth will be re-categorized as reproductive wellness care. As with all wellness care, it will be covered for free by insurance. No longer will it be cheaper to get an abortion than to have a baby. 

2. Medicaid and CHIP will be expanded to cover all children, regardless of income, because no parent should have to care for a sick child while unable to afford a doctor’s visit or prescription. 

3. Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption leave will be paid. Any worker is eligible, regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time, or contract.

4. Minimum wage will be established at a livable wage and linked to the inflation index to secure future increases, so parents can support their families.

5. Childcare will be subsidized for families up to 300% of the poverty level, and any family over this threshold can receive a tax credit – not a tax deduction, a refundable tax credit – for all childcare expenses. 

6. All adoption expenses will also be eligible for refundable tax credits. No family should lose money for opening their hearts to children who need a home. 

7. Children with disabilities will receive the best healthcare, the most advanced therapy, and specialized quality childcare, so their parents know they are embraced by our country, and their children have a promising future. It is a tragedy that parents feel it's better for their children to die in utero than to live with a disability in the United States of America. Some of the most brilliant, most creative, most loving, most influential, strongest individuals are on the spectrum of physical and mental disabilities. We will set the international standard for special education and services for those who are differently-abled.

Some in our nation will say these policies are too much. Even some who profess to be pro-life have already said to me, ‘These expenses are untenable. We cannot afford as a nation to support children in this way!’ 

Then now, perhaps, as you contemplate these overwhelming expenses for the national budget, you can understand how the cost of parenting might be overwhelming for many in our country.

If we want parents to choose life, let's talk about how to lighten their load, so they can.  

Endnote on Pregnancy Resource Centers: 

Volunteers with pregnancy resource centers ("crisis pregnancy centers") have known for years that the best way to help a mom choose to keep her baby is to address the needs that make her abortion-vulnerable.
When a pregnant women enters a pregnancy resource center, she's not judged for being in her situation. She's not lectured about how abortion is murder. She's asked, "What do you need?"
Then volunteers mobilize their community to provide transportation, job opportunities, childcare, housing, baby clothes and equipment, good prenatal care, and the feeling that this child is welcomed in our world.
YES. This is an invaluable, compassionate, effective approach to ending abortion!
Realistically, the "crisis pregnancy center" model is too small to reach every woman, even with private donations into the millions. These volunteer resources aren't universally available on large scale across the country, particularly in large cities where demand is high or rural areas where resources are scarce (ie - a pro-life local obgyn to offer discounted care, a retired grandma to babysit kids for free, extensive affordable special needs therapy, etc.).
By supporting family-friendly policies, such as Medicaid for pregnant women, CHIP for low-income children, WIC nutrition for preschoolers, ECI for early in-home therapy, paid maternity leave, a livable wage, accessible and affordable healthcare for all, and a special education program that sets the international standard for supporting those who are differently-abled, by supporting these initiatives, we are taking the pregnancy resource center approach to the national level, empowering parents to choose life for their unborn children.