I am a medical doctor and an active sixth-generation member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As such, I am deeply committed to protecting the lives, rights and health of as many people as possible, both born and unborn.
I have also never voted for a Democrat for federal office. But, in keeping with my belief that every human being is a child of God of infinite worth and divine purpose, and that every life, both born and unborn matters, I will be voting this November for Joe Biden.
Fellow responsible pro-life voters must also put aside partisan rhetoric, thoroughly examine credible data, and vote for the presidential candidate who will utilize evidence-based policy to most effectively prevent abortions.
Studies show that legally restricting access to abortion neither effectively nor efficiently reduces the abortion rate. Bans do, however, increase maternal mortalities. On the other hand, expanding access to comprehensive sex education and birth control, while addressing the reasons why women seek abortions, does reduce abortions and improves the quality of life of the mother. Given bans are ineffective and come with a significant risk of harm, it is our moral imperative that we stop wasting time pursuing bans in favor of solutions that actually work.
The most common reasons why women seek abortions are lack of financial resources, timing, partner-related issues, caring for other children, finishing an education, career constraints or not enough employer support, lack of mental or emotional preparation, wanting better for the baby, needing child care or support, lacking maturity or independence, housing insecurity, peer pressure and not wanting a baby or to put a baby up for adoption.
Each of these complaints can be successfully addressed by the following:
• Comprehensive sex education.
• Affordable, barrier-free access to birth control.
• Access to affordable comprehensive health care, including sexual and reproductive health care.
• Freedom from fear of food or housing scarcity and access to sufficient resources for those experiencing domestic violence.
• Access to affordable child care and necessary accommodations to allow women to raise their children while pursuing an education or a career.
Democratic presidents have been three to six times more effective at reducing abortions since Roe v. Wade than Republican presidents. Pro-life voters can either focus on the end goal of eliminating as many abortions as possible, or they can continue pushing counterproductive restrictions that are proven ineffective at reaching their goal. They cannot continue to both pursue their preferred policy and reach their end goal.
Until Republicans address this mismatch and turn to evidence-based abortion policy, a vote for a Republican president is a vote for more abortions. If you’re a single-issue pro-life voter who is actually concerned about protecting fetal lives, you’ll vote blue, not red.
Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama saw a significantly greater reduction in the abortion rate during their administration than we have seen under President Donald Trump.
Their efforts to expand access to health care and birth control are directly related to the reduction in abortions they saw during their time in office and the reduction we’ve seen during Trump’s administration.
Trump has worked to reverse many of the very policies that have been directly correlated with reducing abortions.
One of the most important pieces of legislation Biden enacted during his career in the Senate was the Violence Against Women Act (1993). This legislation provides resources for domestic violence. Its policy was reauthorized for 25 years, by both Democratic and Republican presidents and Congresses, but was not reauthorized under Trump.
Biden’s platform will give women access to birth control and health care, and Trump’s platform will result in even fewer women having access.
Biden’s platform will make sure women have access to resources to escape domestic violence, seek an education, and find affordable child care. Trump’s platform does not.
If we are going to call ourselves pro-life, we must vote for the candidate whose platform best espouses these principles and whose record proves a commitment to these ends. We must not settle for the candidate who simply talks the talk, if he has not proved he will walk the walk.
I hope my fellow pro-lifers, regardless of the party you belong to or your voting history, will set aside partisan talking points, thoroughly examine the data, and commit to voting for the candidate who will protect and improve the most lives. I hope Joe Biden can count on your pro-life vote as well.
Kaitlyn Brower Dressman is a Utah resident and holds degrees in chemistry (Brigham Young University) and Spanish (Utah Valley University). She graduated from Touro College of Medicine earlier this year and is currently a resident physician in Vineland, N.J.