It’s no surprise to anyone that the No. 1 cause of abortion is unintended pregnancy. Sure, there are a small percentage of very-much-wanted pregnancies that end up endangering the life of a mother and are terminated, but, by and large, the abortion controversy is about unplanned pregnancies.
I’d like to think that logic would prevail and people would realize that when we provide low-cost or no-cost contraception for women, the number of pregnancies decreases, especially unintended pregnancies.
I’d also like to think that the folks who are out there with signs in the rain, racking up sympathy and saint points for their dedication to 40 Days of Life during Lent, show as much perseverance and devotion to lobbying Congress to increase health care, nutrition and early childhood education benefits for all those children they want to see born.
I don’t see an equally well-organized commitment to take care of children born into poverty, children of color or children of undocumented parents.
Instead, what I see is a whole lot of moralizing and finger-pointing and shaming and blaming people for their sexual experiences and their character. I don’t see much support in real dollars for real food, real health care, real education — or real prevention in the form of low or no-cost contraception for all our uterus-bearing inhabitants.
Instead, I see overburdened and unjust education, health care and social service systems.
So, local protesters, hear this. Unless you are also making daily calls to Congress to keep contraception coverage in health care; unless you are lobbying to increase funding for school breakfasts, school lunches and public education in general; unless you are willing to stand out in the rain with signs to increase WIC benefits — then I’m going to have a hard time hearing what you have to say.
Too many people who are carrying those protest signs in front of Planned Parenthood during Lent don’t take equal time and energy to lobby for support of vulnerable children and their families once those children are born. You cannot truly be “pro-life” if you are not working to increase the quality of the lives of vulnerable children and families as hard — or harder — than you are protesting against abortion.
I remain a staunch supporter of 40 Days of Choice, of trusting women, of supporting federal dollars to provide health care to all and to provide better education for the most vulnerable among us. That makes me pro-life and pro-choice.
Now please excuse me. I have some phone calls to make.
Amy Johnson, MSW, is a trainer and educator in the Pacific Northwest. She specializes in sexuality education and in promoting safe and healthy sexuality culture in faith communities. All opinions are her own. She can be reached at email@example.com.