Happy International Woman’s Day over a week late (I know, I know…)
…and what a time to be a woman. For several weeks now women’s issues have been swirling around in the news. Virginia, my home state, has become rather infamous for the actions of the state legislature this term.They have been trying to decrease women’s access to receiving an abortion and with that created quite a fuss from women who support having a choice in the matter, and plenty of other men and women who saw the bills being proposed as way to broad and likely to have unintended consequences (basically making it hard for me to have access to contraception, or saying I could be liable should I have a miscarriage). I was already frustrated with the way this national conversation on women and their reproductive health is progressing; when this morning I saw a headline highlighting a bill that if passed would allow doctors to withhold medical information from women regarding the health of their baby in hopes that it would prevent her from choosing to have an abortion.
Let me pause to make something clear. I am pro-life. I do not support abortion. I also do not support war. I do not support the death penalty. I try to not support anything that leads to loss of life.
Let me also be clear that this whole debate around abortion is completely pissing me off in the way it considered women. While I am upset with the idea that the government can mandate that information be allowed to be withheld from women, I am most upset with the conservative politics behind all of this legislation and the much of our social welfare public policy in the United States.
Just once instead of legislation such as what they are trying to pass in the Virginia legislature, could we instead have conservatives talking about why it is that so many have abortions in this country? Could we start a conversation around how to better support women and girls who find themselves pregnant so that they do not even have to consider abortion?
As someone who works in the public welfare sphere I am so sick of watching conservatives talk about all their family values, but not really doing anything to promote healthy families beyond moralistic “do this’s” and “don’t do that’s”.
My take…Want to end abortion? Make birth control free. Let’s give teenagers quality sex education about it in school. Let’s guarantee quality, subsidized day care and pre-school for all children. Let’s provide every pregnant woman with health care regardless of her ability to pay. Let’s mandate paid maternity leave for at least 9 months. Let’s provide women with a legal right to a six-hour work day until their child is 3 years old. Let’s make sure that women are paid the same amount as men. Let’s provide tax incentives and/or mandates to employers to provide childcare on site for women with infants. Let’s pay everyone a living wage so that even women working at McDonald’s know they can feed their children. Let’s provide every child with heath care until they enter high school. Let’s actually create a system where if a child’s father does not pay child support the government steps up and pays child support to that woman and her child. Let’s pass legislation that requires companies to do more to retain working mothers, and punishes them for discriminating against both mother and fathers. Let’s get serious about addressing the lack of affordable housing in this country, thus better allowing women and families to find a place to live and raise their children. Let’s get a commitment from every pro-life christian that they will adopt and or foster any unwanted child.
Yes, let’s start with these things, and then perhaps talk about your desire to pass legislation requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion. We could actually pass legislation that does not have us simply preaching at people to not do something; but instead has us coming alongside women and men with love and so much support that they would not have to consider abortion.
And while we are at it let’s drop all of our qualifications around why it is okay to be pro-life regarding abortion, and also support war and the death penalty. I cannot understand this position of conservatives. And I know that many people who support abortion see nothing but hypocrisy in conservatives who fight tooth and nail to overturn Roe v. Wade, but have no problem executing people and dropping bombs on children in other countries. The fact of the matter is that all of these things end lives. I know that very deep and convincing arguments can be made about why it is okay to kill bad people. The thing is very convincing arguments can be made for why it is okay to abort a baby. Can we have a little integrity here? Can we be all in? Jesus never said we would conquer these issues. He never said we would beat back the warlords. That serial killers would not run wild. That unborn children would not sometimes endanger the life of their mothers. Jesus did not say a lot about winning or proving our point. He did show us about living a life of integrity where you are willing to go to the cross and sacrifice yourself for other people’s wrongdoings. It sounds like a bunch of foolishness.
And really it is our only hope.
So let’s put our money where our mouths are shall we?