By The Oracle
Last week, there was a “March for Life” in Washington. It closely followed the “Women’s March” the week before. Many of the women in the pro-life movement had felt unwelcome at the earlier march. Just like many of the feminists would feel uncomfortable at the pro-life march. But I’m not sure that should be the case. It’s easy to get caught up in the rhetoric, but should those two groups be so opposed to each other?
Feminists are not for abortion. They are for women having control over their own bodies. They want to make sure that any decisions a woman makes about motherhood should between the woman and their doctor. It is their decision. Now, the pro-life group wants it so that abortion is rare. Most of them are quite comfortable with exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the mother. Now, you could say that these two groups could never agree, but I feel that they’re both looking at it the wrong way. What if they looked at it so they were both working on making abortion unnecessary? It seems crazy, but I’m going to back it up.
The abortion rate has been dropping. According to the Guttmacher Institute, it’s at before-1973 levels (when abortion was made legal). Now, there are several reasons for that. One: Title X funds are making it easier for poor and low income women to get safe and effective contraception. Women who don’t get pregnant don’t need abortions. I’m always amazed at how many members of the pro-life movement work to defund agencies that perform abortion, missing how those same agencies are the ones lowering the abortion rate by providing birth control to anyone who wants it. Agencies like Planned Parenthood work every day to make sure that every woman that wants birth control can get it. Another reason that the abortion rate is dropping: the Affordable Care Act. The ACA required insurers to cover several different birth controls at a reasonable cost. If you want to lower the abortion rate, you need to make birth control available to anyone who wants it at a reasonable cost. The pro-life movement needs to start supporting safe and effective birth control. (Unfortunately, for religious reasons, many miss that.) If you want to lower the abortion rate, support agencies like Planned Parenthood and also the ACA.
Now, there is a portion of the pro-life movement that hates abortion because they believe it’s a sign that society does not support motherhood. They’re not wrong. Our country does not support motherhood. We are the only industrialized country that does not have paid maternity leave. We have an abominable record on child care. Poor or low income women can’t afford to have babies. We need to make it so that women who choose to be mothers can afford to be mothers. We could be doing a lot more to make it so that women don’t have to choose between being a mother and making a living. Six months to a year of paid maternity leave and low cost child care would be a good start. Combating the wage gap would be another good way to encourage motherhood. Women need to make the same wages their male counterparts do. I believe that feminists should take up causes that help women become mothers while still being in control of their professional lives.
You are never going to get rid of abortion. It’s a medical procedure. Bad things happen. Women are raped. Babies die. Mothers get sick. It is not a perfect world. But we can make a world where those who don’t want to be Moms have access to safe and effective birth control. And we can make a world where when women want to be mothers, they don’t have to worry how that’s possible while trying to hold down a job. I believe we can all agree that we want to create world that those who don’t want to be mothers don’t have to bear children, and we’re going to do our best to support those who do. We can all work together to create a world where abortion really isn’t necessary.