Thursday, July 23, 2009

A First Step, Long Overdue

My inbox was flooded yesterday with statements of support for the Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act, introduced in Congress by Reps. Tim Ryan and Rosa DeLauro.

SIECUS wrote that the bill "sets aside the false choices that the culture war has passed off for too long as the legitimate boundaries of discourse and public policy. And it does so by supporting common sense approaches that will empower individuals to make more informed, responsible, and healthier decisions for themselves and their families."

I agree 100%. Ryan/DeLauro is a good piece of legislation that addresses many of the important issues, including comprehensive sexuality education, family planning, and support for pregnant and parenting women. Preventing unintended pregnancy, ensuring abortion access and funding family planning initiatives are intertwined issues and should be dealt with together. But this bill is only a piece of the reproductive health and justice agenda we hope to see.

As we said in 2005, in our Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Abortion as a Moral Decision, there is a moral imperative for access:
"The ability to choose an abortion should not be compromised by economic, educational, class or marital status, age, race, geographic location or inadequate information. Current measures that limit women’s access to abortion services—by denying public funds for low-income women; coercing parental consent and notification as contrasted with providing resources for parental and adolescent counseling; denying international family planning assistance to agencies in developing countries that offer women information about pregnancy options; and banning medical procedures—are punitive and do nothing to promote moral decision-making."
In addition to reducing unintended pregnancies, we must work together to address the circumstances that result in the decision to have an abortion. Poverty, social inequities, lack of education, sexism, racism and unsupportive relationships can severely restrict a woman's ability to freely choose.

All of this is part of our religious and moral commitment to reproductive health and rights. Ryan/DeLauro is a first step -- but an important one nonetheless. And long, long overdue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When you read the old testament and discover that under the "law" it is written " An eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth" meaning if I killed you in return you would be killed ... Now we live under "Grace" by the new testament in wich we are given "free will" and we do have choices , Its sad that we are given a choice to kill an unborn inocent baby and not even get a prison sentance for it. What is wrong with america? Abortion is murder..point blank!