[The following statement, published on January 19, 2023, was drafted by Jonathon Van Maren (Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform), Eric Scheidler (Pro-Life Action League), Charles Camosy (Creighton University), and Josh Brahm (Equal Rights Institute) after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling was handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Hundreds of pro-life leaders, authors, and scholars have signed on. To add your name, use the link following this article.]
It’s time for the pro-life movement to embrace bold, new pro-family policies. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the pro-life movement finally has the opportunity to extend legal protection to unborn children, and legislatures in several states have already begun to do this. But we believe limiting or even banning abortion is not enough.
We are pro-life conservatives, moderates, and liberals united in our conviction that every human life has value—including the lives of both the unborn child and that child’s mother. We believe that our society should prioritize the needs of both, and that ultimately this can only be achieved by significant changes in public policy. The pro-life movement has always recognized the importance of supporting women facing unplanned pregnancies, with millions donated over the years to a vast national network of pro-life pregnancy centers. But in the new landscape emerging after Roe, with some states limiting abortion while others expand their abortion license, support from non-profits will not be enough.
State and federal governments must take action to eliminate or reduce the significant economic and social pressures that we know drive women to seek abortion in the first place.
Among the policies that should be broadly embraced by the pro-life movement and advanced by elected officials are:
• Accessible and affordable healthcare for parents and children—including expanding Medicaid funding for prenatal care, delivery, and postpartum expenses—to reduce the financial barriers to welcoming a new child;
• Expanded child tax credits that promote family formation and lift children out of poverty;
• Paid parental leave that ensures every infant can receive the close attention and nurturing care they need from their mothers and fathers in the early months of life;
• Flexible work hours to enable families to establish a tranquil home life, with predictable work schedules and better options for meaningful part-time employment;
• Affordable childcare options that support working parents, without disincentivizing the choice to raise young children at home that many families say they would prefer;
• Fully enforce existing prenatal child support laws while seeking effective new ways to demand that all men take responsibility for children they father. We realize that not every government has the fiscal capacity to enact every measure that might reduce abortion, and that these policies must be carefully crafted to empower families without disincentivizing work or promoting unhealthy dependence on government.
Nevertheless, meeting the needs of mothers and children at this historic moment is too important for us not to try bold, new, transformative policies, find out what really works, and continue to reform our society on behalf of the American family.
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