Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand recently unveiled her “Family Bill of Rights,” a comprehensive plan to make the process of raising a child easier and more affordable for all families. This type of policy should appeal to pro-choice and pro-life advocates alike. Since most abortion patients seek out the procedure due to financial inability to raise a child, enacting programs that balance out some of the health disparities oppressed communities face could be instrumental in reducing abortion rates.
Photo: Sebastian Pichler on Unsplash
The plan would also give new parents the confidence and means to raise a child once they’re ready, and it provides support for potentially disadvantaged children after birth (which a lot of “pro-life” legislation neglects).
Here’s how it works: First, the plan aims to reduce the rates of pregnancy complications and maternal mortality by funding states and hospitals with more up-to-date resources. It would also send new parents home from hospitals with “baby bundles,” including diapers, baby mattresses, and more, provided by the Department of Health and Human Services and funded by taxing Wall Street transactions. The end goal is to help all families feel prepared to provide their children with a high quality of life.
For families looking to adopt a child, the bill would prevent discrimination against potential parents on the basis of religion, socioeconomic status, or gender and sexuality, and offer a tax credit to those who adopt. Gillibrand also proposed universal preschool services, paid family leave, and a universal insurance program that would enroll all children into government-funded health care at birth.
"The resources and care available at the start of a child's life have a crucial impact on their health, safety, development, and future success. Yet not every child starts on equal footing," Gillibrand said in a press release detailing the logistics and purpose of the Family Bill of Rights.
If reducing abortion rates is something you’re passionate about, pay attention to policies like these. In the U.S., the states trying to ban abortion also report the highest rates of infant mortality in the country, and many reject or under-fund social services that help kids and parents within the communities most likely to seek abortion care. Worldwide, countries with bans on the procedure report that the rates of abortion stayed constant after they enacted the limitations, but that more of them were self-induced (read: extremely unsafe and potentially fatal). Supporting that outcome is certainly not “pro-life.”
The bottom line is: strengthening certain social services help reduce abortion rates, while banning abortion does little more than harm the people who need them for economic and other reasons.
Therefore, the pro-life movement should shift its focus from limiting access to an essential healthcare procedure that saves lives, and instead support prenatal and maternal healthcare, easy access to contraceptives, comprehensive sexual education in schools, and legislation like the Family Bill of Rights. Whether or not reducing abortion rates is your goal, these policies will help kids and adults alike stay informed about their bodies and feel more secure in their family life.
Emily Rose Thorne is a junior at Mercer University and an aspiring multimedia journalist. She’s been involved with Step Up Magazine since 2017 and is now helping guide the editorial team as Senior Editor. Previously, she interned as a journalist for both Atlanta Magazine and Girls Rock Athens. She’s also served as Staff Writer, Lead News Writer and News Editor of her campus publication, The Cluster. She is currently the Digital Editor of The Cluster and a 2019 John M. Couric Fellow at the Center for Collaborative Journalism. This summer, she'll start producing audio and writing copy for Georgia Public Broadcasting in Macon.