Part of the problem that we have as a society in dealing with this issue is that we’re stuck on labels. Are you pro-choice, or pro-life? Does it have to be one or the other–for everyone? Most people fall somewhere in between the extremes. Did you know that 66% of pro-choice advocates also favor more abortions restrictions?
So, let’s start accomplishing the things we agree on first. Let me lay some common sense on you: Rapists should not be able to sue for visitation rights. But West Virginia is among the 31 states that allows a rapist to sue for visitation rights, meaning a woman might have to deal with her attacker for the next 18 years. That is insane! If we want to make it easier for a woman to choose to have a child conceived in a terrible way, then let’s start there.
Another good way to reduce the number of people who choose to terminate their pregnancies is to make sure that everyone has access to birth control, and that we have support for families and children after birth. Birth control should be free and accessible to allow people to engage in family planning and avoid unwanted pregnancies in the first place. And if you find out you’re going to have a child with serious challenges that will require special medical care you can’t afford, how about we help you afford that care? Does anyone seriously want to suggest a child should suffer without proper care because his or her parents were poor?
There are many things we can do that will make the choice to proceed with a pregnancy easier. Pro-life AND pro-choice people should be all over making these legislative changes, which will provide genuine help to families, women, and children in this state.
I respect that there are people on both sides who feel strongly about this issue, and who would like to reduce the number of abortions performed in this state. Punishing women for not having your same religious beliefs or for being faced with hard, real-life decisions in terrible situations is a counter-productive way to try to accomplish your goal, when there’s so much you could do that would have a more immediate positive effect.
There is a lot to accomplish together—a lot we can all agree on. Let’s start there.