Alternatives to Abortion – Or How To Be Pro-life and Not Merely Pro-Birth
If the goal of people who are pro-life is really to end abortion, the first step is to ask the question, "Why do women choose to have abortions?" For some ideas on this, see my previous post.
The second step is to ask the question, "How can we help girls and women keep from getting pregnant unless they want to, and to enable those who are pregnant to choose to have the baby instead of an abortion? "
I'm going to throw out some ideas and hopefully you can add more in the comments.
By the way, I know these are all big picture ideas, and the next step would be to work though each idea to determine how the national and provincial (state in the US) governments could do more to help, what schools could do, churches, individuals, you and me...
And I know that there are people already doing many of these things now. But we need more people helping. If each of us focused on one area of need, or on one girl or woman who needs help, we could make a difference.
1. Start by remembering the Golden Rule. "Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:31. And maybe change my attitude from judgemental to supportive. Who do I already know that I could help in some way?
2. End the stigma girls and women face of being pregnant without being married. Why are the girls treated like sluts while the boys are "just being boys?" That's part of the patriarchal idea that "boys rule and girls drool." And if she chooses to have a baby on her own, support her rather than making her an outcast. We need to build up girls.
3. Educate men and boys about how sex works, how both male and female bodies work, how to deal with sexual desires, and the consequences of unprotected sex. Also the fact that they do not have the right to have sex with anyone they want, whenever they want. And that unless she says "Yes" clearly and positively, and continues to say it, it's not okay.
4. Educate girls about how sex works, how male and female bodies work, and about the consequences of unprotected sex. Teach them that if they go ahead anyway, they need to use protection whether he protests or not. And if he doesn't listen, it's not consensual sex but assault or rape.
5. Make condoms, IUDs, and other forms of contraception readily available and affordable for both sexes. A $400 IUD is out of reach for many women, but it might be the best option.
6. Listen to and believe women who say they’ve been raped or assaulted, and do something about it. Once is too often, but men who get away with it will keep doing it. And keep causing unwanted pregnancies. It's far too common for women to be abused or raped and for leaders, including pastors, politicians, bosses, and even parents, to ignore it or let the abuser go with a slap on the wrist.
7. Help both girls and boys understand that porn isn't love. And no matter what they say, anyone who abuses you or asks you to do things you're uncomfortable with isn't showing love.
What is Love?
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
8. Support Crisis Pregnancy Centres and help create more of them. Make them accessible, and encourage their use. Maybe get a better name and make them more widely available. Serve on the board, volunteer, donate... "It takes a village to raise a child," so we need to become that village.
9. Provide jobs, allowances, loans, or other ways for single women or families that need assistance to be able to care for their children.
10. Provide good, non-judgemental health care for women and children.
11. Provide good, accessible childcare not just during the day but also in the evenings and on weekends for parents who are attending school as well as working.
12. Provide homes for women who want to keep their babies but have no place to go. Maybe along the group home model where they can take turns caring for each other's babies. Or have a few older women who love kids come and in and care for the babies so the mothers can work and get themselves in a position to be on their own.
The Aerie Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre Maternity Home is a Great Example.
13. If they should wish to place their babies to be raised by a loving family, help them make wise decisions, ideally where the birth mother and perhaps father can still be part of the child's life.
14. Increase support for both children and adults with special needs. And never say their lives aren't worth living. Give extra support and empathy to parents of special needs babies.
15. Fight human trafficking. Too many girls who get abortions are being trafficked.
16. Help mothers and expectant mothers to have access to continuing education, whether high school, college, or university. Getting pregnant shouldn't mean you have to stop attending classes.
17. Make business, offices, restaurants, staff rooms, etc. more child-friendly. Provide in-house or near-by childcare whenever possible. Every washroom in an area where families will come should have a change table, and not just the ladies.
18. One suggestion I saw from Gabrielle Blair on Twitter was for all boys past puberty to have vasectomies, which can usually (no, not always) be reversed when they and their partner want a child. That could work and would save a lot of women from the hassle of an unwanted pregnancy, but it might also give some men an unintended license to feel safe to rape. Read Gabrielle Blair's great Twitter thread on this topic.
19. Personally, I'm waiting for the day when scientists figure out how to transplant an unwanted foetus into the womb of a woman who longs for a baby. That would solve multiple problems!
20. Above all, let's end the idea that men should get to make the rules about women's bodies. Abortion laws are ultimately a way for men to control women. Especially for those men who believe that women aren't equal to them and therefore should be subservient. Only the woman or girl should be able to decide whether she has an abortion or not.
Obviously, there might be some instances where the girl or woman is too young to understand what's happening or unable to grasp the idea of pregnancy, but in those cases, she should be helped by compassionate medical and other caregivers as well as family members who have her best interests at heart and will listen to her.