The issue of Abortion was not the compelling concern for a majority of Americans in the last elections, but it is still a powerfully divisive legal/moral contest that pits Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice, in a heated competition for hearts and minds. It is tough to find common ground or fresh areas for public debate, but as a pro-life Democrat I am accustomed to thinking outside the pack.
Most Pro-Choice political leaders are quick to say that they are not pro-Abortion, they are interested in abortion reduction without outlawing the procedures. Many pro-life leaders similarly claim that they are also committed to reducing the numbers of abortion even as they seek a final legal solution of defining the right to life. There are a couple of bills coming back for consideration in Congress that will test the truthfulness of these politicians’ claims.
The “Pregnant Women Support Act” is being promoted by the Democrats for Life organization as a means of reducing abortions by 95% over the next 10 years. This bill would provide more adoption incentives, much needed funding for WIC programs, and provide resources and support to help women continue their education if they keep their child or make an adoption plan for their child. There is so much that is good in this bill that I can only pray that President Obama will seize upon this initiative to demonstrate that he isn’t going to be the most pro-abortion president in history, as is now claimed about him in pro-life circles.
The Feminists for Life organization has been spreading the word that “45% of women who have abortions are college age”. As well “women with some college had the highest abortion rate of any educational group.” They also tout statistics that 71% of 18-19 year olds, and 58% of 20-24 year olds said they had abortions because having the child would interfere with their education or career. Feminists for Life have been promoting the “Elizabeth Cady Stanton Pregnant and Parenting Student Services Act”, to address these sad realities.
I would like to introduce a fresh approach to the old Pro-Life/Pro-Choice partisan wars. I like to say that there is a Right to Thrive that encompasses the Right to Life, and it addresses the fact that we have a societal obligation to children- to all children. When I hear fellow pro-lifers rage against social programs, and government’s role in ensuring the common good, I cringe. When I hear fellow Democrats rage against traditionally religious folk who are trying to take responsibility to stop the killing of unborn human lives, I want to weep.
When I want to make the pro-life case to my students in the classroom, I don’t show shocking pictures of aborted fetuses, I show the National Geographic’s documentary “In the Womb”. It is my belief that the unborn will win their human rights when everyone opens their eyes to the facts of life- every human life passes through the same stages – amazing stuff. Pro-Life must also be whole Life – for me Economics, War, Immigration, Health Care, Education, are all Life issues, and children and pregnant mothers take priority over the rest of us.
Sincerely, Tim Shipe (Guest Column published in Florida Today Newspaper)