I’m a proponent of legalized abortion. I’m also a proponent of minimal abortions. I am of the opinion that no one ever gets pregnant with the intent to have an abortion. Consequently I believe the way to reduce abortions is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. I think any abortion is really a failure of our society to provide options to prevent the unwanted pregnancy or options to allow the mother to bear the baby and put it up for adoption. Our society must strive to make pregnancy seem like a viable alternative to abortion, even if the mother or parents do not wish to keep the baby, if we as a society do see abortion as something that needs to be reduced.
Now, if we want to reduce abortion we must reduce unwanted pregnancies. That means teaching sexual education which isn’t solely abstinence based. It means providing women with free contraceptives, like the pill or an IUD. It also means funding research into more birth control measures, like a male contraceptive. Furthermore, it means promoting informed consensual sterilization for those who are sure they want no more kids. Moreover, we must offer free condoms to the public. They serve the benefit of decreasing sexually transmitted diseases, which, as our antibiotics have started to lose their strength, will become more and more important. There are already some strains of gonorrhea which are resistant to all known antibiotics.
There may be objections to these proposals, the most religiously conservative American states are against sex education that is not abstinence only. But those same people are, by and large, against abortion. So, I think they need to reach the conclusion that premarital sex and abortion, if they assume both to be sins, are not on equal levels. In addition, I don’t think abstinence only sex education necessarily will increase premarital sex if the lesson plan is designed in the right way. I think it’s important to point out that sexual education is an entirely other discussion than talking about the massive amounts of pornography available to young children and the sexually suggestive material that inundates our media.
These measures are largely measures of public health, and they ought to be put into effect if we institute universal healthcare. The issue of strong sexual education will likely be fought on the state level so it will likely require a national law to bring the conservative states into line. They won’t like it until they see the results and realize it was the right choice, that means there will have to be a strong national push for it with a high turnout among voters on this side. I’m hoping that’s not the case actually, I’m hoping they can get behind this. I’m writing this article explicitly to appeal to those people.
We also need to do a better job of eliminating rape. (Because I am talking about rape in the context of abortion, I won’t focus much on prison rape or male on male rape, though those also need to be done away with.) We need stronger education about what rape is. We need stronger education for people to realize what no is, and training for people to learn how to say no when they don’t wish to participate. The idea that there should be an exception for abortion in the case of rape seems like attention focused in the wrong area — we need to stop the rape itself. The same goes for fetuses produced by incestuous relationships.
Now, the current debate in our country centers around late term abortions. That’s primarily because after about 24-28 weeks fetuses born early have a high survival rate with today’s medicine. Consequently it makes little sense to kill something which can live on its own. If the woman wishes not to have it anymore, perhaps a cesarian section would be the proper course of action. Though that’s not the point I am trying to debate. I’m concerned with ensuring women feeling like they have more than just the two main options, abortion or rearing a child for 18 years.
We need to improve social services to make giving birth an economically easier thing to do, and making adoption seem like a feasible choice. I know today that there are lots of negative stereotypes about the foster care system that may dissuade people from seeing it as an alternative to abortion. I think we need to better publicize that people are allowed to anonymously drop off babies at fire stations or churches. I think we need to legislate national paid leave, and not just for the child bearer, but also for the spouse. Much of what it takes to raise a child is money, and it’s important that the spouse who makes the least money in a two parent household has the option to be the one who stay home to care for a newborn child.
Furthermore, I think we ought to have universal daycare. We have k-12 public schools, we are getting closer to universal pre-kindergarten, I think we need to go all the way and have publicly funded universal daycare. Universal daycare can take a burden off of people from low income levels because they won’t have to stay home from work. It can, perhaps most importantly, offer better group parenting to future members of our society. There will be less children who don’t get the attention they need.
Moreover, I think we need to improve foster care and orphanages. We must strive to make sure that those who grow up in the orphanage system have the best possible upbringing, not the bare minimum. We have to make it easier for people to adopt if they wish to, and we need to make sure there is less abuse going on, though that is really another discussion on stopping child abuse in general. Nevertheless, we must make sure that people don’t feel guilty by putting a newborn baby into the orphanage system, because if we do that, we can reduce abortion.
In addition to all of that, I assert that we need universal healthcare to offer women of low income the ability to see their obstetrician without racking up exorbitant medical bills. For women who work at an hourly job, even taking time off to go to a doctor’s appointment can be difficult. As a society, we need to take every step we can to prioritize all parts of the process of having children over other aspects of daily life through government subsidization if we truly want to reduce abortion.
We have the economic resources as a country to institute this, but it seems as though many of my compatriots would rather not spend money to help others. Some may say they are fine with contributing to good causes, but they don’t want government to do it, that government is full of inefficiencies. In a democracy, the fault of government not working is the fault of citizens doing a poor job managing it. Government offers the easiest infrastructure and scale to achieve these goals, so we should use it while simultaneously working to make sure it runs well.