Reid and Clinton’s declaration on abortion

Here's an interesting editorial co-authored by Democratic Senators Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton that is definitely a step in the right direction towards bridging the gap between the opposing sides in the debate.

Basically they realize that both sides want to decrease abortion.

We believe that it is necessary for all Americans to join together and embrace policies that will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, decrease abortions and improve access to women's health care.

There is no question that the rate of unintended pregnancy is too high in the United States.

Half of the 6 million pregnancies each year in this country are unintended, and nearly half of these unplanned pregnancies end in abortion. It doesn't have to be this way.

Most of these unintended pregnancies — and the resulting abortions — can be prevented if we eliminate the barriers that prevent women from having access to affordable and effective contraception.

The bill they're suggesting would make contraceptives easily accessible and cheap and covered by health insurance. They would also fully fund programs that assist low-income women with carrying their children to term, programs that were gutted by Bush.

This proposal is definitely a step in the right direction. As I've written before an abortion ban would lead to excessive governmental intrusion into our private lives and likely to prove damaging to millions of young women across the country. And an abortion ban wouldn't stop abortions, it would just criminalize them and those who have them.

Still, I don't think these proposals go far enough. What about day care services? What about increased support for single moms? What about drug treatment programs? What about job training programs and living wage initiatives?

Basically I think it's important to do two things to prevent abortions: (1) Decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies. (2) Fight the economic and social conditions that make women want to get abortions.

Banning abortion and making contraceptives difficult to acquire really isn't a solution: it's a judgement. An abortion/contraceptives ban creates from an outdated moral dichtomy (sexuality = bad; asexuality = good) an oppressive law harmful to the poor. (That the anti-abortion movement is based on "Christian" values also makes it ironic.) Why impose draconian measures when, by eliminating the need for abortions, we're actually bettering our communities doing so?

  1. This exact piece of legislation was introduced by Reid in 2005, too, under the same name even. I imagine it kind of flew under the radar since this was pre-South Dakotan madness. If it will help inject some reality in the federal dialogue about abortion, that’s super, even if it requires me and others like me holding our tongues when people pretend like this is a new idea.

  2. I did not know this! That’s good info: thanks!

  1. 1 4&20 blackbirds » Blog Archive » Reducing abortion

    […] A while back, Dave Budge drilled into a post I wrote about a recent proposal by Sens. Clinton and Reid to reduce the number of abortions Americans have by providing more access to family-planning services, thus reducing unwanted pregnancies. The eloquent title of Budge’s work sums up his message: “Getting off at the public trough.”In my recent posts on abortion, I warned against the dangers of imposing a comprehensive ban on abortion: every miscarriage will be a potential murder, every woman a suspect during her gynecological examinations. While many of us don’t have a problem with abortion, there is a rising movement in the States that does. So the question is, how can we compromise? How can we reduce abortions without imposing draconian measures that treats women’s bodies as property of the state? […]

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