Planned Parenthood has been splashed all over all the news and social media sites for the last few weeks. Accusations, video from hidden cameras, press releases and responses to press releases, it’s been crazy. Conservatives are in an uproar and the pro-life lobby is outraged. I’m not going to comment on any of that here, but I do wish to throw out a few questions that are directly inspired by the current situation. Whether we are pro-life, pro-choice or somewhere in the middle, I think these questions, or more importantly the answers to them, offer some serious value to the conversation. Also, I am assuming, possibly wrongly, that even the most ardent pro-choice proponents would agree that a lower abortion rate is a positive.
1. How can we improve our support of young, single, and/or low income mothers so that women with unplanned pregnancies no longer see abortion as their only option?
2. How can we raise domestic adoption/fostering rates and awareness?
3. Are conservatives willing to relax their positions on issues such as free contraception/gay marriage and adoption if it means a falling abortion rate?
4. What is the church doing to help lower the abortion rate?
5. Is abstinence-only education helping or hurting?
6. Do we stigmatize or reach out to teen/unmarried moms?
7. On a societal level, how can we strengthen the idea of marriage as a positive institution?
As a foot note to this post I would like to be transparent. I am anti-abortion but I do not see legislation as the answer. When I was just out of high school my girlfriend became pregnant. We chose to terminate that pregnancy. I have struggled with that decision ever since. I believe it was wrong. At the same time we were uneducated, unemployed, immature, and entirely unprepared. While those excuses make me feel no better about our choice, they are facts that played a major role in our thinking at the time. That experience has given me a bit more understanding of someone else who finds themselves in a similar place. No one offered us help. No one reached out. No one had a better option. I believe we were still wrong but as teenagers we certainly felt stuck.