On June 24, 2022, the post-Roe v. Wade era began. For the political arm of the pro-life movement, this signaled a great opportunity. Protections for pre-born children that had previously been impossible were now possible; laws that had previously been blocked by Roe could now come into effect.
As the referendums and legislative battles begin, it is also an opportunity to develop new strategic goals. To that end, hundreds of activists, leaders, and academics from across the political spectrum have signed an unprecedented joint statement declaring support for public policies designed to reduce the economic and social pressures that drive many women to seek abortions.
The goal of the statement is two-fold: to highlight the support of a significant portion of the pro-life movement for policies that go beyond directly limiting abortion and to demonstrate to the American people that we are collectively committed to helping mothers, babies, and families with all of the tools at our disposal, including political ones. We are from all over the ideological map, united in our conviction that every human life has intrinsic worth and value, including the lives of both the unborn child and that child’s mother. We believe that our society must prioritize the needs of both, and that public policy can be drafted and passed to support those ends.
For decades, the pro-life movement has worked to support women who face unplanned pregnancies, donating millions of dollars to a vast network of thousands of pro-life pregnancy centers. But in a post-Roe landscape, with some states restricting abortion and others expanding access to it, the support offered by nonprofits, donors, and tireless volunteers will not be enough to address the scale of the need. State and federal governments must take action to eliminate or reduce the significant economic and social pressures that drive women to seek abortion in the first place. We would like to see the demand for abortion aggressively addressed.
To accomplish that, the signers of the joint statement offer some policies for pro-life political representatives to consider: accessible and affordable health care for parents and children, including expanding Medicaid funding for prenatal care, delivery, and postpartum expenses to reduce the financial barriers to welcoming a new child; expanded tax credits that promote family formation and lift children out of poverty; paid parental leave that ensures infants can receive the close attention and nurturing care they need from their mothers and fathers in the early months of life; and flexible work hours to establish a tranquil home life, with predictable work schedules and better options for meaningful part-time employment.
Additionally, we support affordable child care options that support working parents without disincentivizing the choice to raise young children at home—an option many families say they would prefer. We also favor full enforcement of existing prenatal child support laws, and encourage lawmakers to seek effective new ways to induce men to take responsibility for children they father.
We realize that not every government has the fiscal capacity to enact every measure that might reduce abortion, and that these policies must be carefully crafted to empower families without disincentivizing work or promoting unhealthy dependence on government. Nevertheless, meeting the needs of mothers and children at this historic moment is too important for us not to try bold, new, transformative policies, find out what really works, and continue to reform our society on behalf of American families.
We hope that this statement, endorsed by signers from a diverse array of American institutions and organizations from across the political spectrum, will encourage politicians to work towards policies that not only seek to reduce abortion on the supply side—but also on the demand.
Jonathon Van Maren is a columnist, communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, and contributing editor at The European Conservative. Charlie Camosy is Professor of Medical Humanities at the Creighton University School of Medicine and Moral Theology Fellow at St. Joseph Seminary in New York. Eric Scheidler is executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, a direct action anti-abortion organization based in Chicago. Josh Brahm is the President and Co-Founder of Equal Rights Institute, an organization dedicated to training pro-life advocates.
The views expressed in this article are the writers’ own.