The U.S. House of Representatives approved a new initiative last week, which is a shift away from the common Democratic approach to reproductive rights. The new initiative is aimed at discouraging women from getting abortions by providing them with new sets of government support. This won't make abortion illegal, but rather, is aimed at helping women with health, economic, and educational assistance. The new proposal will grant $647 million for these resources.
This initiative was composed using research done in Kansas during the years 2000 to 2004. The report, released by Catholics United for the Common Good (PDF), found a direct correlation between abortion rates and the availability of jobs, health insurance, and Head Start centers. It stated: "Increasing employment opportunities for families, access to education for children, and health insurance for working families can and will decrease the number of abortions." The report also found that Kansas counties with abortion clinics were actually much less likely to use that healthcare alternative than those who live in counties without clinics, and said: "This suggests that restricting access to abortion clinics does not reduce the incidence of abortion."
The proposal includes the following services:
- Counseling young women on adoption
- Launching an ad campaign to inform women that they can receive healthcare and other resources if they are "preparing for birth"
- Expanding parenting education
- Providing medical services for pregnant women, in some cases sending nurses to their homes
- Offer day care services at federal job-training centers to help new mothers become self-sufficient
These steps towards better equipping women with the necessities such as pre-natal care and birthing rights are just pure common sense. However, it's important that this proposal doesn't limit reproductive rights, but rather helps families in need. ProKanDo has been a long time supporter of these plans that aid families. This could be a great opportunity for women to gain assurance that they will not be thrown under the bus by the government, but given new opportunities not only to them, but also their children.
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While these are great steps forward, we must remember to not sweep reproductive rights under the rug. This plan will work 100 percent of the time in an ideal world, but realistically, unintended pregnancies will occur, and we must be willing to provide women who need reproductive healthcare services the care that they need and deserve. We must work towards destigmatizing women's reproductive health care. This initiative is something we must work into a system we've already created, not a substitution for women's rights like many social-conservatives would like to see happen. This plan, unequivocally, cannot equate sacrificing reproductive rights.
This recent initiative is one that has been needed in our country for decades. It's about time that this be adopted. It isn't hard to see the broad range of positive effects of health care for women; providing children with a stronger education that is more accessible; and creating day-care at job training centers. This would help fuel the economy in multiple ways and provide a better future for all those involved.
Other ideas that have yet to be approved are funding maternity and day-care centers on college campuses to allow women an alternative to having to drop out of school in order to take care of their children. In addition, offering access to contraceptives and comprehensive sex education would be a substantial step forward in preventing unintended pregnancies.
Ensuring women's equal rights has been overlooked far too long in this country. This could be a step towards gaining the equality women have long fought to achieve. Let's not forget along the way, however, to provide access to the full range of reproductive healthcare services, which is also a component of women's equality.