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CAMP: To limit abortions, vote Democrat

Democratic policies prevent unplanned pregnancy, and embrace a social safety net

<p>Ultimately, if pro-life advocates truly want the maximum number of pregnancies to be carried to term, Democratic policies have shown to achieve that goal most successfully.</p>

Ultimately, if pro-life advocates truly want the maximum number of pregnancies to be carried to term, Democratic policies have shown to achieve that goal most successfully.

As the presidential election grows nearer, an increasingly powerful group of pro-life single-issue voters face the possibility of supporting a candidate who openly violates many basic ethical standards — avoiding taxes, bungling a pandemic, openly cheating on his spouse, among others. For many pro-life voters, President Donald Trump’s adamantly anti-abortion stance outweighs his other polices and makes him the obvious choice when compared to pro-choice Joe Biden. However, when examining the two candidates’ policies, one conclusion becomes clear. For pro-life single-issue voters, voting Democrat is the obvious choice to limiting abortions. Democratic policies not only prevent unplanned pregnancies, but also make carrying such a pregnancy to term financially feasible.

While I am fiercely pro-choice, I also think it is important to understand pro-life argumentation. A pro-life ideology that spurns all forms of contraception on the logic that extramarital or protected sex is morally wrong is fundamentally an ideology founded primarily in controlling women’s bodies and sexualities, not in purportedly saving fetus’ lives. This article is not for the pro-life logic that involves privileging a restrictive and unrealistic sexual ethic — for example, arguing that if women don’t want to get pregnant, the should simply “keep their legs closed.” 

Instead, it is attempting to persuade the pro-life individuals who want to prevent pregnancy termination. In such case, the most effective way to achieve their goals is to make contraception accessible, make scientifically accurate sex education mandatory and have a reliable social safety net that makes keeping an unplanned pregnancy possible.

The Democratic party’s pro-choice polices ultimately work to decrease the abortion rate. While this may at first seem counterintuitive, the emphasis on education and contraceptive access — as well as strengthening the social safety net — makes unplanned pregnancies less likely, and makes them more likely to be carried to term when they do occur. For example, last year had the lowest U.S. abortion rate since 1973. However, as noted by the Guttmacher Institute, this was largely due to greater contraceptive access granted by the Affordable Care Act, a Democratic policy. Further, a pro-choice ideology importantly places emphasis on choice. Pro-choice is not pro-abortion — instead, it is a belief which privileges a pregnant person’s ability to decide what to do about their pregnancy and their body. Importantly, if a person wants to carry their pregnancy to term, then pro-choice beliefs must involve making that choice an accessible one.

According to one study, almost 60 percent of individuals seeking abortions already have children. An additional 73 percent cited “I can’t afford a baby right now” as a reason for terminating their pregnancy. This indicates that many women would be willing — and would even want — to keep their pregnancies but simply cannot afford to. Thus, when Democrats’ polices advocate for guaranteed paid parental leave, affordable healthcare and affordable childcare, it becomes clear why these polices result in fewer abortions than their Republican counterparts. No matter their official stance, a party whose policies make carrying an unplanned pregnancy to term unaffordable is not pro-life by any stretch of the imagination.

While Trump’s recent appointee to the Supreme Court — adamantly anti-ACA, anti-accessible birth control Justice Amy Coney Barrett — will likely result in the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the logical leap that abortions do not occur in places where it is illegal is simply factually incorrect. For the entirety of human history, women have sought to end their pregnancies. Just as abortion existed before Roe v. Wade, it will exist after it is gone — with the added change of it becoming much more dangerous for those who seek them. As the pro-life logic goes, women seeking abortions have lives that are worth protecting, too. Even more damning, when abortion is harder to legally obtain, the number of abortions actually increase. This is for many reasons, not least of which is that administrations that restrict abortion generally also restrict reproductive care. 

Ultimately, if pro-life advocates truly want the maximum number of pregnancies to be carried to term, Democratic policies have shown to achieve that goal most successfully. Further, most pro-life advocates’ ultimate goal is to eliminate abortions entirely — factually speaking, this is impossible. No nation, society or period throughout history has ever been without abortions. Unplanned pregnancies will continue to happen, and women will continue to want to end them. However, we can get the closest to a world without abortion not by ending legal abortion, but by combining legal abortion with a rigorous social safety net and a clear commitment to reproductive healthcare — something only the Democrats currently promise.

Emma Camp is an Opinion Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at opinion@cavalierdaily.com.

The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Cavalier Daily. Columns represent the views of the authors alone.

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