In Post-Roe World, Pro-Lifers Equip Families to Succeed
When you’re looking for perspective on how pro-life Americans see the world, rarely does one think to look to the New York Times, which recently opined that a “long, cruel history” marred those committed to helping both mother and child. “Abortion opponents don’t care what happens to an unwanted child, and they’ve never cared about the mother,” headlined the commentary, which included all the typical straw-men arguments easily set afire by abortion-centric rhetoric -- a task made possible only because the reality of the pro-life community was ignored.
Whether on the campaign trail running for office or on college and university campuses, both of us have addressed similar prejudices and answered similar questions usually hurled more as an accusation than an inquiry -- questions like “If you’re pro-life, why don’t you care about babies after they are born? Why don’t you help women in need here and around the world?”
The answer is, we do.
Conservatives have a long history of defending the preborn, mothers, fathers and struggling families with policies designed to empower them. It's an abortion mentality that throws in the towel, saying there is no hope, so get rid of the child. It's pro-family conservatives who care enough to equip people with what they need to prosper.
A piece in The Atlantic, titled “Do Democrats Make Better Neighbors?,” noted that economist Arthur C. Brooks found that there was a clear difference between governing philosophies. In his book “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism,” “Brooks made a data-driven case that, even after accounting for income differences, conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than liberals do, and that residents of red states volunteer more than those of blue states do.”
The pro-life community responds to women in need through Pregnancy Care Programs, through community-based assistance, through personal services, and by offering everything from Moms Day Out services to food banks. Pro-lifers are often the ones serving as foster parents, adopting babies and, of course, running maternity homes and faith-based outreach of all kinds.
But even beyond that kind of charitable help, as conservatives, we advocate – often in the face of partisan opposition – for all kinds of federal and state policies that can make a difference for struggling families.
While governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker signed legislation that prohibited state and local health insurance programs for government employees from covering abortion, meaning that taxpayers would no longer pay for abortions for government workers. He also signed a predecessor to the federal Protect Life Rule, preventing abortion vendors from receiving Title X family planning funds so that funds were invested in life-affirming care.
And at the same time, Gov. Walker also pushed for and signed pro-family policies that helped support people in a variety of situations, including reducing property taxes (which especially harm working families), creating a new per-child tax credit, increasing funding and support for mental health services, increased work opportunities for people with disabilities, and signed other legislation to address issues such as the drug and opioid crisis, homelessness, and health care. Thanks to Gov. Walker, Wisconsin now -- for the first time ever -- covers everyone living at or below poverty levels.
Students for Life advocates for pregnant and parenting students on campus who should be protected by Title IX rights, but sometimes are not. Our Pregnant on Campus program works so that no one is forced to choose between their child and their education. And we also have advocated on behalf of innovative federal programs to let young families access their money when they need it most.
Often it’s pro-life politicians who are creating policies that support families, including expanding access to high-quality education through school choice or for increased deductions for child care or the per-child tax credit. And the cost of living is often the lowest in states led by pro-lifers, which helps families’ bottom line.
Recently, Alabama and Georgia garnered national headlines for passing legislation designed to protect life early in pregnancy. One response to the controversy raised by those efforts was a move by nearly 200 CEOs who claimed that it would be “bad for business” to limit abortion. Most interesting to note is that many of these companies arguing that abortion is a necessity do not offer employees adequate maternity or paternity leave. Is it possible they support abortion so they don’t have to take care of parenting employees?
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton observed, “All these politically correct CEOs want company men and women, not family men and women. They’ll support your individuality and self-expression just so long as you stay unattached and on the clock.”
But in talking with people around the country daily, we know that Americans want to invest their lives in more than just a job. It’s relationships that give meaning to life.
In a world after Roe v. Wade, government at the state and local levels will need to be even more deliberate in helping young families – mother and fathers – succeed in building a life for themselves and the next generation. It will take creativity and determination, but the value to all of us will be found in the children raised up to lead this great nation.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins will be speaking in a tour this fall of college and university campuses, detailing pro-life and pro-family policies designed to help families succeed.