The 2012 elections have produced two ideologies: That which economics and social issues are separate and that which believes our social policies are paramount to fixing our fiscal problems. I am with the latter group; I believe our social policy is a direct reflection of our moral void in American culture and as a result, a direct link to our fiscal woos. But what are the left, right and center doing about it? The left for example, is all about the social policy; from welfare to entitlements to housing they claim to have the social policy arena in the bag. The right on the other hand, we tend to only focus on economic issues—unless of course it is gay marriage or abortion, then we are all over the social policy platform.
This is a huge mistake. Separating social issues from fiscal issues only adds to our problems, it doesn’t address them and it surely does not resolve them. If the GOP wants to win 2012, and more importantly get America back to our moral values of hard work, personal responsibility, and love of country, we have to take a stand on social issues (and not just cater to certain sects on religious grounds when needed for an election). If the GOP wants to win, they are going to have to develop more than just bumper sticker slogans and actually develop some comprehensive policies if they ever want to be taken seriously in the national social policy arena.
Abortion is a perfect example of a major void in social policy. I bring up abortion because a majority of the GOP Presidential contenders describe themselves as “pro-life” but none of them have yet to articulate how they would implement a “pro-life” agenda. As a Constitutional Conservative this terrifies me.
Both sides are quick to produce slogans, “keep your hands off my ovaries” and “abortion is murder” but neither side actually takes the time to develop a comprehensive strategy; and the consequences of half-assing this important issue are devastating regardless of where you stand. As a Constitutional Conservative, I strongly believe our social and fiscal matters are intertwined, and if the GOP is smart, it will actually tackle these issues head on.
The following is my analysis of the abortion debate and what I would propose to address the abortion symptom in our nation. I don’t expect many people to praise this—in fact I am assuming since this is such an emotional issue I will more likely get insults and maybe a threat or two—but at least I am attempting to do SOMETHING. My purpose in writing this article isn’t to have heated debates and arguments over abortion, but to force all of us to look deeper into this issue, address the real problems, and develop a comprehensive strategy that will not only end the practice of abortion, but eliminate the causes and reasons many women choose to have them. This may seem like a radical idea, and I apologize that my policy can’t fit on a bumper sticker or your status update on facebook, but there is a void in our abortion policy and it must be addressed sooner or later.
The Constitutional Conservatives Concern over the Abortion Issue
As a constitutional conservative, I base my public policy positions first and foremost on the United States Constitution--not religion. I know we are a nation founded on Judeo-Christian values, but we are not a theocracy and our public policy can’t be based solely on the bible. When it comes to the peculiar institution of abortion, I look at it specifically from a Constitutional perspective and my fear of government control. Unlike many “pro-lifers,” I don’t see abortion as a problem, but a symptom of a greater problem. In fact, I see most of our issues in this country, from our economy, finances, and entitlement programs the direct result of our severe moral void in American culture today.
The Pro-life sect of our society, in my opinion, has the right moral argument on abortion, but has failed to produce any comprehensive policy to address the abortion symptom and does not do a good job of articulating why it is constitutional for the federal government to control this aspect of society but not our health care system, our business decisions, or anything else politicians feels they have a “moral” obligation to control.
Yes, I hear the same line from the pro-life sect of our nation: “The Declaration says “life” and it is the government’s job to protect it.” I also hear scripture to “prove’ they are correct on “when life begins.” That may be all true and accurate—but is it Constitutional? And if so, how exactly will this “pro life” policy be implemented? What are the unintended consequences? If the federal government controls this, then what does this mean about the limits of federal power? Are their limits? These are the questions I ask myself as a Constitutional Conservative. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and my biggest concern from the pro-life right is that our greatest fears may come true: a federal government with ultimate control over every aspect of our lives.
The left is no better. They stand proud defending “woman’s rights” but are quick to dismiss all our natural rights when it comes to taking more of our money, mandating we enter into private health care contracts, robbing our grandchildren of any possibility of wealth creation, and forcing our children to attend failing schools. When it comes to abortion, the left may have the “realistic argument” but it does not have the moral argument, and their current policy—or lack thereof is anything but logical. With all the supposed “good intentions” the left sadly, has also forgotten that with every “right” comes responsibility and with “equality” also comes accountability---but you can’t fit that on a bumper sticker now can you?
Let’s Keep It Real About Abortions
The truth is, for many women, abortion has turned into another form of birth control. The vast majority of abortions are not performed on poor, victimized women that were forced into a situation. For the most part, these are women with brains and the ability to keep their legs closed but chose to enjoy a few minutes of sexual gratification without condoms or birth control knowing full-well the consequences of their behavior. These are women who choose to sleep with men they know are not ready to be fathers. Women that make bad choices and then instead of taking responsibility for them run to a clinic in the name of their “right” to do what they will with their bodies. Simply put, these are women that have decided to act like the “deadbeat” dads of our society—only they neglect their child all together by destroying it.
Now of course there are exceptions to every rule. For instance, there are women that are forced to have abortions because their health is in danger (either an ectopic pregnancy or some other health risk outside of their control) or were victims of rape or incest, but for the most part, sadly, it is women behaving badly.
The Women’s Movement: Void in Responsibility
Now before I start in on the “women’s movement’ let me first say “thank you.” Yes, I am appreciative of all the women before me who took a stand to ensure I could vote (my grandmother was born before she had this right), dream, accomplish my goals, and make a difference in the lives of women all over the world.
But the women’s movement also did women a huge disservice—in the fight to prove we were “equal to men” we forgot one small thing: we aren’t equal to men—especially in the reproductive field. Regardless of what Constitutional protections of equality we have, women and men are not equal—and we can never be equal. Women still have the ultimate ability to plan when to have children, how many children to have, and in today’s society, the ultimate “choice” to keep or terminate their pregnancy. But missing in these new “rights” were our responsibilities to our bodies and our responsibilities as sacred carriers of life.
At the end of the day the decision to have children should only be my choice and I salute the women before me that ensured I could tell my husband “no” and have full autonomy over my body. But there is one thing the women’s movement has neglected, and something women of today must call each other out on: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!
I think we can all agree that the staggering number of abortions has proven one thing: the feminist movement has taken all personal responsibility and accountability away from women. Women today are schizophrenic when it comes to our place in public policy; we want the “rights” of men, but we don’t feel we need to be held personally accountable for our reproductive system—for some reason; we revert back to victims who are too dumb, weak, pathetic, or powerless to say, “I will not have sex because I am not in a position to take care of myself and my child.”
As a person in the federal policy arena, I can tell you, the words “personal accountability” when talking about women and abortion are usually met with evil stares---as if I just said women should be burned at the stake or something. Interestingly, these same women that are offended by the words “accountability” have no problem attacking men for being deadbeat fathers, pushing for legislation that rewards irresponsible women but punishes irresponsible men, and seem to have no problem clinging on to their ovaries when it comes to abortion, but are quick to dismiss their ovaries when the issue of fatherlessness , poverty, or welfare reform is mentioned.
Our country loves talking about our “rights.” Our rights as minorities, rights as women, rights as illegal’s (yes, we are now at a point in our political history where those that break the law and have no rights magically have rights just because they say they do, but that is a whole new topic) but what about the second part of that?
I remember growing up in my grandfather’s home, for every new “right” I obtained I got a huge list of responsibilities added to the mix (which sometimes made me question if I really wanted this new “right” to begin with). For example, when I turned 16 and got my driver’s license, I now had a “right” to drive. But as my grandfather pointed out (and reminded me on a daily basis) I also had a responsibility to my fellow drivers, the rule of law, and of course, my grandfather’s car. The day I got in that car for the first time without parental supervision I thought I was free, but then my grandfather reminded me that I had to return the car with the same amount of gas in it, I had to clean the car after every use, and I had to pay for my part of the insurance---all of a sudden having a “right” to drive wasn’t so freeing as I once thought it was. Even when I bought my own car, I still was not completely “free.” I still had to follow the rules of the road, not drink and drive, and of course, I couldn’t be on my cell phone gossiping with my girlfriends while behind the wheel. Who knew?
Where is this sense of responsibility with today’s women in regards to our reproductive system? All of our women’s groups fought to ensure birth control is covered “for free” under ObamaCare, but still have not connected the dots on how offering free birth control makes women personally accountable for their bodies. (My argument being if birth control is covered for free now, then why on earth are abortions—except in cases of rape or health of the mother—still legal?) Now that women have full, “free” access to contraceptives, what is the excuse now for aborting a baby because you are not ready to have children? It is a shame NOW has not addressed this issue, and instead distract with cries of racism, sexism or victimization (i.e., the liberal playbook).
The Pro-Life Void
But the Social Conservatives are just as void. For instance, most conservatives that are pro-life are also dead-set against welfare programs, housing subsidies, and subsidized child care. What the pro-life sect fails to understand—or they just ignore—are the fact these children are by definition unwanted and therefore someone must step up and take care of them.
When confronted with this problem, I usually get this response: “People need to be responsible for their children.” I agree with you—hence why I don’t have them yet; but the majority of our population is no longer “accountable” for anything—abortion is just the most in-your-face example of this. For instance, we now have insurance companies mandated (by the federal government, of course) to cover the health care of 26 year old “children” on their parents insurance; we have 50% of the population paying 0% in federal taxes but receiving earned income tax credits and utilizing any and all government programs they can get their hands on without paying a dime towards them. We have families expecting the government to take care of their elderly parents, teach their children, and give them homes---no personal accountability there either.
So what is the solution? Is the pro-life community really leaving the abortion debate at “be responsible” and “no exceptions, even if you are going to die.” There has got to be more than that. What social services is the pro-life wing developing if Roe v. Wade is overturned? We can’t have more unwanted children in our current family law systems or our foster home systems. (For those of you not aware, these systems are a disgrace); and we can’t have raped victims forced (again) against their will (again) to go through with something they never asked for simply because a few people believe they are morally superior. But sadly, the pro-life sector hasn’t even had this conversation—they’ve left the accountability for taking care of life outside of the womb strictly in the hands of the very people that don’t respect life while it’s in the womb! And what are the consequences if the pro-life sect wins this fight with no comprehensive strategy? Well, it will be just as morally void as it is now, but instead of a void in personal accountability we will have a void of what to do with a bunch of unwanted (by definition) children in our society; the direct result of those that cared so much about these lives while in the womb, but don’t want to have their taxes raised to take care of them OUTSIDE of the womb!
The Pro-Life Void: How Far Does Your Abortion Policy Reach?
Many pro-life conservatives—just like many of the GOP Presidential contenders (except Pawlenty that did have this exception but is no longer in the race) have one general policy they would apply to all women regardless of the situation: too bad, have the baby. They make no exception for rape or when the woman’s health is in danger or even if the child is diagnosed with a horrible, debilitating, painful disease. Meaning, the federal government would mandate which options are available for a patient and her doctor (sounds an awful lot like that “individual mandate” in ObamaCare so many on the right are angry about, doesn’t it?) .
How exactly would a “pro-life” policy work? That’s the problem, currently, there is no policy; it just stops at the baby being born. The pro-life sect doesn’t even address how we get through those nine months. If the woman wants an abortion and it is outlawed, what does the government do? Do they now have the right to keep her locked up for nine months to ensure she doesn’t hurt the baby? Does she get a trial or do all Due Process rights go out the window since it is a “moral” issue and they’ve won the moral argument?
What is the extent of the federal government’s power to make sure the woman follows through with giving birth? Is it just live births for women who want abortions, or can the federal government use this new power to lock up women that smoke or drink excessively since drinking can lead to miscarriage? Is the father locked up too since it takes two to make a baby? Is the federal government now a parent in these cases? Meaning, is the tax payer now on the hook to ensure the children brought into this world are cared for? And if they are abused or neglected who is held accountable?
These are important questions. Every time we give the government more power we have to worry about how far they will push it—because it is the government and they are always looking for a way to push it. We’ve already seen the government get involved in end-of-life decisions; do we really think the federal government involved in this issue will be any better?
The Comprehensive Abortion Policy
I believe abortion should be legal, but it should be severely limited. For example, abortions should only be allowed during the first trimester and only performed in cases of rape, the life of the mother, or for other medical reasons as determined by the woman and her doctor—not some federal bureaucrat at HHS.
But in my opinion, before we can just outlaw all abortions—or even outlaw abortions that have no gray area (those women that use abortion as birth control) we must first develop a long-term strategy to address the entitlement/lack of personal accountability problem we have in this country. Why? Well this isn’t the 1970’s anymore. The morals we held forty years ago we don’t have today.
If Roe was overturned tomorrow, I would establish a policy that outlaws the practice severely except in cases of rape/health in ten years. This would give us time to address the real problems that lead to abortions while also giving us time to revamp our social welfare programs to ensure these unwanted children brought into the world have not just a life, but a safe life where someone can love and care for them.
Prior to Roe, women were still having abortions, and some of these women died or were severely injured. I remember my mother telling me a story about one of her friends when she was at a private high school in New York. Her friend got pregnant. She was terrified to tell her parents and she felt trapped. My mother came home from school to find her friend in the bathtub bleeding between her legs with an iron hanger sticking out of her. She tried to terminate her pregnancy and almost lost her life.
Although there were relatively few numbers of these types of incidents, I believe these types of incidents will rise today if abortion is outlawed outright without a comprehensive policy for the simple fact that in the early 1970’s we still had some morality in this country. People still felt obligated to take responsibility for their lives, men still felt obligated to marry a woman if he got her pregnant—now the only thing we feel obligated to do is live in the moment, sacrifice nothing, and entitled to everything.
The Abortion Policy
The fact is, women are sleeping with men they shouldn’t be sleeping with, and men aren’t doing what they should be doing: being men and taking care of their damn kids. Sadly, our government creates programs and policies that push men out of the picture and make it almost impossible for any father involved with “the system” to be involved in their children’s lives.
For example, take TANF and WIC. Although both programs are open to mothers and fathers, they are not marketed at all towards fathers and workers are even trained to tell mothers to NOT list the father’s name on the application for benefits so they can receive MORE benefits! It is truly a disgrace! Our federal government encourages father absentness—and until this policy is changed, you will continue to have either more children growing up without daddy in the home (which won’t help reduce abortions later down the road), or more abortions from women that feel they have no alternative.
The Void in Male Identity
And what about jobs? I hear every GOP candidate—as well as those on the left—complain about the lack of manufacturing jobs in this country. Well, there is a deeper issue here than jobs—there is also a VOID in the American male identity. How is a man supposed to take care of his family if he has obstacles in front of him at every turn specifically because of our current federal policies? For instance, look at our federal education policy. We continue to pour money into Title IX even when women are in higher education at double the rate of young men.
We ship “manly” jobs overseas and we spend more time ensuring women can do the jobs men do, but our country never took the time to ensure men still had jobs to go to.
How is a man supposed to be a man if he can’t be a man? A man with no job has no pride, and that lack of pride is reflected in our inner-cities and in our children growing up with no men in their lives.
Conservatives would reduce the NEED for abortion if they focused on long-term policies that encourage father involvement and reform our family law systems that takes all accountability out of father’s hands (unless of course the legal matter is child support) and allows the mother, for the most part, to control the child’s relationship with their father.
Pro-lifers would do more for protecting the life of the unborn if they addressed the male identity void in our country. A woman’s right to choose has taken men completely out of the conversation. A man knows the moment he sleeps with a woman it doesn’t matter if he is a good man or not—will step up or not—it isn’t his decision, so why care at all? If you are held accountable for a baby only if the woman wants you to, well what does that produce? A lot of confused men!
Our public school systems sex education curriculums are a perfect example: Boys are expected to take sex education, learn about condoms and birth control, but in the same breath they are told they have no say in the decision making process of keeping or terminating an unintended pregnancy. What is this teaching our sons? What is this teaching our daughters? It surely isn’t teaching both sides personal responsibility.
Quite frankly, men today have become completely irrelevant in all matters of society, and specifically reproduction. Men don’t have a say in the lives of their children because we don’t even expect them to be there. We support sperm banks where men become nothing more than donors, and then get mad at them when they act like—well donors! A man that is responsible and wants to be a real man has no rights or a voice in the matter at all---but best believe the state will come after him if the woman (who also made an irresponsible decision but now has sole power over whether to bring the child into the world) demands he pay for her choice to keep the baby.
Void in Adoption Promotion
As stated above, the truth is, there are many women in this country that have abortions simply because they chose to put themselves in the situation and then feel they have a “right” to undo their bad choices by terminating their pregnancy. But there are also many women who feel trapped and feel it is more humane to terminate their pregnancy than to have their child grow up in “the system,” which many of these mothers know about because they’ve experienced it firsthand. I spoke to one young woman that’s been in foster home after foster home; abused over and over again, and when she turned 18 was put on the street with no help our guidance from our government-run child welfare system. When she was 19 she became pregnant. She knew she could not care for her child, but the thought of having her baby and placing it in the system was too much for her. She compared her decision to have an abortion to the film Amistad: “Remember that scene when they are on the ship and the mother grabs her baby and then falls overboard? That’s how I felt. I’d rather have my baby with Jesus than in a foster home, that’s just cruel.”
Our current child welfare state is tragic—immoral to say the least. For instance, after aging out of foster care, 27% of males and 10% of females were incarcerated within 12 to 18 months. 50% were unemployed, 37% had not finished high school, 33% received public assistance, and 19% of females had given birth to children. Before leaving care, 47 percent were receiving some kind of counseling or medication for mental health problems; that number dropped to 21% after leaving care. And this is supposed to be a “better” alternative?
How can we tell women to have their babies when the children we already have in our care (the governments care) are treated so poorly? What exactly is our plan to change “the system” so young people don’t feel abortion is the better alternative?
Our adoption procedures must be updated and we need to make it easier for mothers to find parents and parents to find children. But with all our new technology, from in vitro fertilization to sperm banks, we’ve made it harder and harder for children that are already here to find homes.
Until recently, more American families were adopting foreign babies than American babies. Although this trend is changing and more Americans are now adopting American babies, this sadly has nothing to do with our domestic policy, but because of changes to China’s and Russia’s international adoption laws.
And when we put race in the mix the results are even more depressing. For example, in the United States, Caucasians and Hispanics are consistently preferred to African-Americans in adoptions. The probability that a non-African-American baby will attract the interest of an adoptive parent is at least seven times as high as the corresponding probability for an African-American baby. Sadly, the statistics are the same for same-sex couples who also prefer white babies over black.
So what are we doing about this? Years of “diversity” training and “cultural sensitivity” has yet to affect the racial disparities in adoptions.
Well, here is my solution. No disrespect to people out there that want children, but why do we allow people to pick and choose a gender and race of their baby? Our adoption procedures should completely illuminate racial and gender categories and instead, only ensure children with special needs or abusive backgrounds are matched with families that can adequately take care and love these children.
Believe me, as a mixed woman (black to all of you that still follow this one-drop rule) I was raised by my white grandfather, and he loved me to pieces—and I loved him. Color was the last thing on both our minds. So why does a white family need a white baby? Or a black family needs a black baby? Most of us are mixed anyway—and the statistics show that more and more people are either marrying different races or could care less. So if people really want to be parents, well, be parents!
We also must update our adoption regulations. Of course it is still important to ensure people adopting children should be good people, but the amount of paperwork, length of time, and money that families must spend is ridiculous. A family that wants to bring a child into their home should be encouraged not discouraged by red tape and the runaround.
Void in Education Policy
Lastly, we all know our public education systems in this country MUST change. If a young person feels they are nothing, can contribute nothing, and are expected to be nothing, well guess what? They won’t be responsible for their bodies or their futures and won’t think twice about becoming pregnant or getting someone pregnant—at least then they are no longer nothing.
Although we are beginning to address this issue—calls for school choice, increased voucher programs, etc., there is still much more to do. Although education should mainly be a state issue, I do believe there should be some general national standards to ensure all children are held to high expectations and school districts receiving any federal aid whatsoever should in no way be able to produce children that can’t read, do basic math, or compete in the real world. This of course, is a very complicated issue and is another in-your-face example of what happens when our morals are completely erased from society. Public school teachers are expected to be teacher, counselor, shrink, nurse, social worker, and parent and those that do a great job of it receive little or no recognition for their service because our teachers union care more about protecting the bad than defending the good.
There are multiple other social factors we can discuss to address the abortion symptom in our nation, but I think the four I named above are a pretty good start. At the end of the day, if a woman feels she has no other choice but to terminate her pregnancy than as a nation we’ve all failed.
As crystal clear as the pro-life morality aspect of abortion is, morality alone does not address the constitutional, social, and real-life factors that affect the abortion issue. Both sides, in my opinion, do a great disservice to their cause by failing to admit the holes in their own policy and/or avoiding the complicated issues surrounding abortion altogether. For the GOP, the 2012 elections and beyond, I believe it is imperative we address all social issues head-on, and how we address them must come from something more than a few quoted texts or emotional bumper stickers. Just as the left must come to terms with the personal accountability aspect of social policy, the GOP must come to terms that there is more going on in social policy than abortion and gay marriage, and they must understand that to adequately address these issues; they must actually address the real problems.
 “What are the Outcomes for Children in Foster Care?”http://statistics.adoption.com/information/adoption-statistics-foster-care-1999.html