My morning commute ended at Union Station where I was greeted with throngs of teenage students from various dioceses (Miami was particularly well-represented), all wearing various iterations of March for Life T-shirts and backpacks.
I looked at the young women and thought about statistics. One in three, one in four of them will have an abortion during her lifetime. Yes, Virginia, Catholic women get abortions too.
Despite my staunch support of abortion rights, I’d like to see the new administration forge new ground in the tired, overplayed debate.
Marching orders for Obama:
- If Congress passes the Freedom of Choice Act, sign it. It’ll be hugely controversial but I'd like to think it will also move the debate away from wash.rinse.repeat cycle of whether Roe was a poor decision, and whether or not X restriction is merely a burden (and therefore permissible) or an undue burden (and therefore not).
- Repeal the Hyde Amendment. A tall order if ever there was one -- and one that bumps against a Supreme Court case (Harris v. McRae, for you other nerds). But it is essential. And spare me the arguments against taxpayer-funded abortion. America is a plurality. Tax dollars fund all sorts of things that I find reprehensible. To that end, I exercise my right to the political franchise. Democracy kicks ass like that.
- Stop funding abstinence-only education. It is laughably bad science and a gigantic study confirmed that we're throwing good money after bad.
- Increases in Title V and Title X funding. Ensure that women – including poor, uninsured, and underinsured women – have access to reliable forms of contraception. Title X has been ridiculously underfunded for decades -- $280 some-odd million is just not enough.
- If Congress passes the Pregnancy Support/Equity in Prescription Insurance Contraceptive Coverage/Reducing Unintended Pregnancy Act (HR 463/S 21), sign it.
- Support mothering with dignity by supporting groups like the Rebecca Project for Human Rights.
- Appoint someone with, I dunno, actual scientific credentials, to head the FDA. Think Joshua Sharfstein or Susan Wood.
- Issue executive orders allowing monies to flow into the United Nations Population Fund and repeal the Global Gag Rule. If we value free speech, then we value it for all people, even when we disagree. And if you do disagree, there’s that handy political franchise again.
- Get real about welfare reform. Want to reduce abortions? Then provide better benefits for women transitioning from welfare to work. Child care subsidies that are more than a pittance, bigger Pell grants, more technical and vocational spending for high-wage, high-skill jobs.
I’m sure there are others I’ve inadvertently forgotten. What would you recommend?