As thousands of pro life social conservatives gathered in Washington, DC for the 40th anniversary of the "March of Life," one must wonder how these people can actually consider themselves "pro-life" in the first place.
The pro-life/anti-abortion rally known as the "March of Life" celebrated their 40th anniversary in response to the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade that made abortion legal in the United States. Pro-life Americans often accuse the pro-choice movement of murder, claiming that an abortion is the equivalent to killing a human. Abortion and when a fetus becomes an actual person has become one of the hottest debates in the country year after year. Social conservatives label themselves as "pro-life," but if they were, they would think about changing the way they promote their ideology.
Here is a list of three reasons how pro-life Americans could act more pro-life.
1. Stop abstinence only education/expand sex-ed -
Sex education is an important building block for many young Americans. Republicans have continued to push for abstinence only education programs, demonizing sex-ed taught in the public school system. Social conservatives and religious Americans claim that sex education is a family matter and that it should be kept in the home. The issue with these ideas is that abstinence only programs don't actually work, but rather increases a teens chances of becoming pregnant. According to a recent government study, states that promote no sex education or abstinence only education have the highest rate of teen pregnancy, such as Mississippi. In addition, a study from the University of Washington found that providing teenagers comprehensive sex education were nearly 60 percent less likely to become pregnant.
Abstinence only education doesn't just increase the likelihood of an unwanted pregnancy, but also increases the risk of spreading an STD by deterring the use of contraception among teenagers.
2. Expand access to birth control -
Many social conservatives have made it a mission to limit the access of birth control. Religious conservatives look at contraception as a sin, thus using that as their reasoning. Other conservatives believe that it gets in the way of a potential life. Republicans in the House of Representatives tried as late as last year during the government shutdown to limit women's access to birth control.
"House Republicans approved a continuing resolution that includes a “conscience clause” — a policy that would allow employers and insurers to opt out of providing coverage for women’s preventative care, like birth control, for any moral or religious reason. It’s a direct attack on Obamacare’s birth control benefit, which requires employers to offer this type of preventative care at no additional cost to their female workers."
The contraceptive provision in the Affordable Care Act has helped millions of women gain access to birth control and has helped them financially as well. Nearly 27 million women are now seeing the benefits from this part of the health reform law, as many women were paying out of pocket prior to the new law or would switch to less effective forms of birth control to make their finances work.
Expanding access to birth control doesn't just make fiscal sense, but it's also a moral cause as well. If one describes themselves as "pro-life," then using or expanding access to birth control should be at the top of your list. By eliminating birth control, you are increasing the likelihood of the birth of an unwanted child into an environment that can't provide an adequate life for the child.
3. Increase funding for government social programs -
If Republicans are dead set against teaching proper sex education and want to limit or eliminate access to birth control, than conservatives must increase funding for social programs instead of pledging to cut them. Programs like WIC (Women, infants and children), which is a government program to help expecting mothers and their young children, are constantly under attack from austerity happy conservative politicians. If women are denied an abortion like Republicans hope, and are prevented from receiving birth control and forced to carry the child to birth, many will be additional help. One of the main reasons a woman chooses to have an abortion is because they are financially unable to provide for the child. If government officials are going to create an environment where women will be forced to keep the child, they should also provide enough financial support for the women to care for them.
If Republicans truly want to be described as "pro-life," they must prove it in a way that shows they care for the child after they are born, not just when they are in the womb. As thousands march in opposition against the ruling in Roe v. Wade, conservatives should look in the mirror and ask whether they really are "pro-life" or not.