Stories my mother told of women suffering and dying as a result of back-alley abortions resound in my mind today. While studying Roe v. Wade as a young college student, I struggled with the pro-choice/pro-life issue.
In her wisdom, my mother (a strong Catholic) asked how I would feel if I were pregnant and forced to have an abortion. Well, of course, that would be horrible and wrong. That question led me to consider the other side of the issue. In college, I came down on the side of choice and am still on that side today, but also on the side of life.
As we watch the abortion debate re-ignite, looking closely shows some striking revelations. Republicans across the country are fighting for the life of the “unborn baby.” And, although many Republican state legislatures are passing “heartbeat bills” banning abortions at six weeks (often before a woman knows she’s pregnant), they aren’t technically referring to a baby’s heartbeat. In fact, at six weeks they are talking about an embryo with some tubes and cells that can vibrate — the beginning of the heart being formed.
This embryo does not even qualify as a fetus until the 10th week of pregnancy, and not a baby until birth. Anti-abortion advocates often use terms like “heartbeat” and “unborn baby” to misguide and manipulate. Of course, you may consider an embryo or a fetus a baby. But, remember my wise mother — others may not.
If a woman is forced to deliver, what are Republicans offering in support? Are they working to help care for that baby/mother/family? Surprisingly, the answer is “no.” They continue efforts limiting social service programs including SNAP (food stamps), housing and health care. They often aren’t in support of daycare or college assistance tuition programs. And, Republicans in Washington, as well as many state attorneys general (including Utah’s) are working to eliminate adequate health care coverage for millions of Americans.
States such as Utah are passing laws making it illegal to have an abortion due to a Down syndrome diagnosis. Yet, at the same time, they are trying to remove health care protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
When children (former fetuses) are shot in school, Republicans claim Second Amendment rights and call for their continued right to bear arms, completely ignoring the “well regulated” words in the Second Amendment. At what point does your right to own an assault weapon supersede the right of my child to live? With children being gunned down at school, it is clear we have passed that point long ago.
Democrats, on the other hand, continue to fight to ensure that families have enough food to eat, a safe place to live and adequate health care. They work to support women in their choices so that they become loving, capable, supportive mothers when they are ready to have families. They work to protect not just American-born families, but immigrants who are escaping impossible conditions simply for the chance to live. Republicans want to build a wall.
We are told that adoption is the answer. Yes, that is a wonderful option for those who choose it. But, again, there are Republican state legislatures passing laws making it impossible for LGTBQ couples to adopt. These lawmakers would rather see children in the foster care system than part of a permanent, loving family. Further, they choose to keep immigrant children in worse than prison-like conditions rather than reuniting them with their own families or placing them in loving homes.
After looking at the issue closely, it is plain to see that the Republican party is the party of pro-embryo, pro-fetus, forced birth and anti-refugee. They are not pro-life, pro-child, pro-mother, pro-health, pro-safety, or pro-family.
Democrats are pro-choice. And, of the two, they also are the only party that is truly pro-life.
Charlotte Maloney, a native Utahn, holds a bachelor of science in business from the University of Utah and has worked in human resource management and as a librarian.