Abortion advocates are alarmed that, with the replacement of Justice Anthony Kennedy the Supreme Court will lurch to the right and the constant challenges to abortion from the states will be approved, abortion will continue to be restricted and perhaps the historic Roe v Wade decision will be overturned, opening the way for abortion to be criminalized again.
I have always been pro-life, have been on a bunch of March for Life expeditions, led youth groups to Washington for March for Life and spoken at pro life rallies. Our parish is staunchly pro life and we have always been outspoken in our campaign to end the crime of abortion.
However….before abortion is simply banned I believe other pro life legislation needs to be put in place. We’ve had abortion now for forty or so years. One of the reasons women choose abortion is because they are trapped in a crisis pregnancy. Before we simply ban abortion we need to have a whole range of pro life efforts put in place from local and personal initiatives to community based and government supported initiatives.
When I say “government supported” I don’t simply mean funneling tax dollars into some bureaucratic machine. I’m talking about practical pro life, pro family measures. Here are some examples: better tax breaks for large families. Let’s give really generous deductions, and make the deductions incremental. The more kids you have the bigger the deduction, so baby number six gets a bigger deduction than babies number one and two. What about a whopping tax deduction or funded child support for your family if you foster and adopt? If the adopted or fostered kid has problems (as many of them do) there is more support directly to the child for his education, her medical expenses–whatever.
Let’s have legislation on the state level that wipes out the red tape and legal fees for adoption. Why should it cost $15 or $20,000 to adopt a kid? That’s outrageous. Cut the red tape and whatever fees and expenses remain, let our tax dollars pick up the tab.Let’s have more local initiatives. I remember a conversation with a Baptist family here in South Carolina who said, “There are about 20,000 kids in this state who need homes. There are about 20,000 Baptist churches. What if each church got together and said, “Someone in our church will take one of those kids, foster them or adopt them.” That would be Christian pro lifers putting their money and their time where their mouth is. I heard of another Baptist initiative in which girls in crisis pregnancies are “adopted” by a church family. They give the girl a room in their home, look after her during the pregnancy, help her either through the adoption process or through getting a place of her own, then stay in touch when the baby is born and that single mom and her kid become part of that extended family.
And what about the women who are in a crisis pregnancy? They need all the help, support and love possible. Women’s Health Centers that operate on a local level and offer genuine, long term assistance can make all the difference. Such centers, however, require funding, volunteers, administrators and workers. Are we willing to roll up our sleeves and expand the already wonderful work that is being done? If not we’d better shut up about banning abortion.
These are the kinds of local initiatives combined with government help through tax breaks, cutting regulations and red tape and small subsidies to local groups and individuals which would make a difference.
Yes, abortion is a crime. By all means let get rid of it for good, but a real pro life position recognizes the real people–the women and men who, for whatever reasons face pregnancy with despair and fear. In addition to working to end abortion we also need to do everything we can to help that woman and that man to welcome that new life with joy and hope.
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