Democrat — MO 2nd District

Reproductive Rights

Summary:

  • Women have had a fundamental right to abortions since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. This cannot be a right that is ignored or negated in the future. It must be protected by the courts and by Congress.
  • We can agree that abortion should be rare. And Congress can take a role by doing more to reduce unwanted pregnancies. That begins with the encouragement of real sex-education curricula in our schools. It also must include sensible fact-based education regarding contraceptives and birth-control.
  • The federal government needs to do significantly more for pregnant women. This includes making pre-natal and neo-natal care more affordable and accessible. Congress should also do more to remove the unnecessary bureaucratic barriers to adoption.

 

I am pro-choice.

American women have had a constitutional right to abortion since 1973. This is now a fundamental right that is fully protected by the American judicial system. Such fundamental rights in a civil society cannot simply be negated. And they should not be so cavalierly reversed. Since Roe v. Wade, an entire generation of women have lived with this liberty.

Anti-choice legislators sometimes fail to appreciate this fact. They abhor abortion to such a degree that they often refuse to appreciate the consequences that laws that restrict reproductive rights have on society – particularly on American women. Reversing this established right would be cruel and counterproductive. That is why we need more legislators that will fight for reproductive rights.

But there are as many important similarities between opposing sides in this debate as there are differences. We can agree that abortion should be rare. And we can agree that there is a role that government can play in reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies. And I would hope that we can all agree that among the things that government can do, making criminals of women and their doctors should not be an option.

When it comes to this issue, too many Americans live in a world that no longer exists. Victorian and puritan morals belong in museum displays, not in the decision-making of elected representatives. If we want to lower the prevalence of abortion, we need a strategy that fits today’s realities. Here is a start:

• Congress needs to encourage REAL sex education curricula in our nation’s schools. Young people will have sex when they’re ready. No lecture from mom or dad or a teacher will stop that. It’s absurd to accept that fact but then NOT educate adolescents with the facts – both biological and psychological – that they need. And the curriculum needs to be grounded in reality – not in a Norman Rockwell version of reality that treats sex as something dirty and sex education as taboo.

• Adolescents need to learn from this curriculum that they are not abnormal if they choose to abstain from sex. At the same time, however, we need to face the reality that if adolescents do engage in sex that they understand everything they need to know with respect to birth control. Along with fact-based education efforts on birth control should come convenient access to contraceptives. In countries where this combination exists, unwanted teen pregnancies are rare. Allowing old-fashioned prejudices about sex and birth control to dominate this debate is ridiculous and a gross disservice to our children.

• Congress should compel the states and the Department of Health and Human Services to do more for pregnant women. If women seek abortions because they are unsure of their ability to care for their children, a civil society would want to naturally do more to make carrying a baby to term a more appealing option. Government at all levels can do more to make pre-natal and neo-natal care more affordable and accessible. In addition, more should be done to remove the unnecessary bureaucratic barriers to adoption.

End Corruption. Demand reform.
Paid for by John Messmer for Congress.