So here’s the thing.
If we want less abortions, then we need to have less unintended pregnancies.
Research shows that when people have access to reliable contraception methods and have information about how to use them effectively, then unintended pregnancy rates go down and so do abortions.
Factually, when we’ve had pro-choice leadership in this country, abortion rates have dropped. And when we make health care and child care more affordable, contraception more accessible, and support a living wage — well then, we create a culture where we have fewer unintended pregnancies. And fewer unintended pregnancies means fewer people looking to terminate those pregnancies.
If we are really and truly pro-life, we should be voting overwhelmingly for affordable health care, affordable child care and an increase in minimum wage. We should all be on the forefront of efforts to subsidize programs like WIC and SNAP and to help Head Start and ECEAP programs in Federal Way Public Schools to thrive.
If we are really pro-life, then we should be champions for sexuality education that helps people understand, in age-appropriate ways, how bodies work, how reproduction works, how to deeply understand consent, how to be in healthy relationships and make healthy decisions, and how to use contraception effectively if the decision is to become sexually active. We should work diligently for affordable access to contraception and for health care to cover it.
If our religious beliefs teach us to value all life, then we need to show that by relentlessly caring for those who are less fortunate than we are who have already been born.
We can donate more diapers and formula and baby wipes and baby food to our local food bank — and gift single parents and low-income families we know with a bunch of them.
If we are really pro-life here in Federal Way, then Communities In Schools would be overrun with requests to be a mentor in their program. We would be showing up on a regular basis to support youth and young adults who need another caring adult in their lives.
We would be generously giving our time and money to organizations like Reach Out, FUSION and the Multi-Service Center — all organizations that provide shelter and services to folks without homes in Federal Way.
We would be eager to learn about racism and the ways too many systems still marginalize people of color and benefit those of us who happen to be born white. We would all do what we can to work for more equity, less poverty and more opportunity for everyone.
We shouldn’t ignore facts. History and research show us that there really is no such thing as eliminating abortion. In countries where laws about terminating pregnancy are most restrictive, complications requiring medical attention after an unsafe procedure rise exponentially.
Wherever you stand on the issue of pregnancy termination, you are a human being. And one human thing we can all be for is spending a little more time and energy and money caring a little more deeply and more intentionally for our fellow human siblings.
Amy Johnson, MSW, is a trainer and educator in the Pacific Northwest. She is co-author of three books and facilitates classes and workshops in the Puget Sound area. Amy specializes in sexuality education and in promoting safe and healthy sexuality culture in faith communities. All opinions are her own. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.