Creating a shining city on a hill, worthy of inspiring democracies around the world, requires protection in both letter and spirit of the law for those who are most vulnerable. On the issue of abortion, it is vital to address the law’s failure to protect the unborn from death in the womb. But equally important is building a framework for helping young families in their moment of need.
Roe v. Wade will ultimately collapse because it was built on the shifting sand of seven justices’ opinions, lacking legal, scientific, and political foundation. And when that happens, it will be up to all of us to have in place a plan, a blueprint for a post-Roe America, in which caring for the least of these is a goal as important to us all as the goal of ending judicially imposed abortion on demand.
In his book, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation, President Ronald Reagan observed: “I have often said that when we talk about abortion, we are talking about two lives — the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child … Anyone who doesn’t feel sure whether we are talking about a second human life should clearly give life the benefit of the doubt. If you don’t know whether a body is alive or dead, you would never bury it. I think this consideration itself should be enough for all of us to insist on protecting the unborn.”
In a post-Roe America, communities must rise to the challenge of protecting mother and child, and expanding the infrastructure needed to help them both prosper.
Women must be informed of the help available to them through Pregnancy Care Programs, community-based assistance and maternity homes, Moms Day Out, food banks, and parenting classes, among others. And the tax status of nonprofits, including faith-based nonprofits, must be protected as a vital support system for parents.
Social services for needy families must be well-funded and well-publicized through the media and community partnerships, including healthcare providers, community centers, and houses of worship.
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The Family and Medical Leave Act must also be improved to support young families. Incentives must be added for companies that help their parenting employees with paid leave. Policies should also be expanded to ensure that vacation and sick days can be used for child-related reasons.
Meanwhile, Congress can make the Per Child Tax Credit reflect the cost of raising children. Tax deductions for child care can be enacted and should allow parents to make the child care choice best for them, not to be exclusively tied to government-run child care.
Women must also be informed of their Title IX rights — something Students for Life of America’s Pregnant and Parenting Bill of Rights aims to do. The law protects pregnant and parenting students from losing housing, scholarships, program placement, and accommodation. Women and employers must also be educated on the Pregnancy Non-Discrimination Act so that women don’t face workplace harassment or prejudice.
Business incentives should be enacted for encouraging family-friendly policies such as flex-time, on-site daycare, job sharing, and career mentoring.
Early morning and after-care school programs will need to proliferate and expand for working parents. And parental educational choices in charter schools, home schooling, and private or faith-based schools should also be accommodated and respected.
Safe haven laws must be advertised, letting women know that they can legally hand over a child in the first 72 hours after birth without repercussions or prosecution for child abandonment. Adoption must be streamlined, and the costs addressed, including addressing obstacles to adopting children in foster care.
Healthcare providers and locations should be equipped with the educational tools for parents, informing them of all services, faith-based, public, private, et al., so that young families can choose their own path.
Even more broadly, job-creating policies must be enacted to ensure a stable foundation for working families.
These ideas provide a starting point. And many people are already engaged in building this loving framework. But it will take all of us to prepare a place for the next generation. The letter of the law on abortion is fatally flawed and needs to change. Our social policy must evolve as well, to welcome those who need and deserve our support in a post-Roe America.
LifeNews Note: Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America, with more than 1,220 groups on college, university and high school campuses in all 50 states. Follow her @KristanHawkins on Twitter.