Pregnant with Potential

Kristen Day

Today, we are hearing more and more Americans in both parties and on all points of the political spectrum call for common ground solutions to this most divisive issue.

Four years ago, we
made great strides as pro-life democrats when the Democratic National Committee
allowed us to unveil our proposal to reduce abortion at its headquarters in Washington, DC.  It was a signal that pro-life democrats were
no longer on the outside of the Party. 
It opened a new era of inclusion and cooperation between those of us who
disagreed with the Party platform on the issue of abortion and pro-choice
Democrats who wanted to find commonly supported measures to lower the number of

Today, we are hearing
more and more Americans in both parties and on all points of the political
spectrum call for common ground solutions to this most divisive issue that has
plagued our nation for 36 years.  President
Obama consistently spoke about the need to address the root causes of abortion
in speeches starting in the campaign season. 
More recently he charged his Office of Community and Faith Based
Initiatives and the White House Council on Women and Girls to come up with a
common ground plan for America.  His leadership on this issue has both
encouraged and inspired Democrats For Life of America to keep calling for
progress on this issue. 

We are proud to stand
with the President, groups and individuals who are truly committed to finding
areas of agreement so we can work together to dramatically reduce the number of
women seeking abortion services and help women with crisis pregnancies who wish
to carry to term.   Unfortunately there
are still some who will want to set roadblocks before common-ground proposals
in order to maintain a perceived political advantage by perpetuating the stale
argument over who is right and wrong on the issue of abortion.  

We are confident that
will continue to rally behind those of us committed to finding common
ground.  Recent polling released by Gallup indicated that
only a small percentage, 23 percent of respondents believe that abortion should
be illegal in all circumstances and an near equally small percentage, 22
percent, believe abortion should be legal under any circumstance.    

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It is reasonable to
discern that we may never find agreement among the small percentage of
advocates that cling to the purist position on their side of the abortion
debate.  But DFLA is committed to
standing up to those who are intransigent and those who are all too ready to
impede any cooperative attempt. 

The Pregnant Women
Support Act is the first truly bi-partisan bill that will do just that.  It has support from both pro-life activists,
including Doug Kmiec and pro-choice advocates, including, Pro-Choice Scholar
Activist Susan Kelley, as well as pro-choice elected officials including
Congressman Artur Davis (D-AL) and pro-life elected officials like Congressman
Lincoln Davis (D-TN) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA).   

PWSA addresses areas
of agreement such as prohibiting health insurance companies from denying
pregnant women coverage because they consider her pregnancy a pre-existing
condition and providing more support for violence against pregnant women who
are often forced by a boyfriend or husband to undergo an abortion because the
men want to avoid the financial responsibility.   

The PWSA provide
grants to colleges and universities to establish and operate pregnant and parenting
student service offices so women do not have to choose between having a baby or
completing their education.  The office
will focus on ensuring that women have a safe place to bring their child while
they complete their education. The office would also advocate for maternity
coverage in student health plans, and provide family housing, child care,
flexible schedules, education, provisions of maternity and baby clothing and
post-partum counseling and support, and referrals for prenatal care, delivery, infant
and foster care or adoption. 

PWSA increases
support for WIC. Only 1 in 10 people eligible for the program participate for
several reasons including: difficulty in signing up or access to a store that
accepts the electronic benefit.  Stores
in mostly rural and inner city areas are unable to process WIC benefits because
they don’t have the equipment.  Some
women are kicked off for making a minor mistake in the application process.

Regardless of where
one stands on the abortion issue, DFLA extends an olive branch to any and all
who are willing to work with us to provide needed support to women who wish to
carry their pregnancies to term.  We
believe that common ground isn’t only possible, it is imminent.  We recognize that people on both sides of the
abortion debate may have concerns about certain provisions of the PWSA and
believe that these hamper its common ground potential; such concerns include
coverage for unborn children under SCHIP, funding "life support
centers" or the overall cost of the bill. 
However, we are ready to try to address these concerns with any and all
who are willing to put progress over partisanship and work toward a common
ground solution.

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Reproductive rights are a public health issue. That's a fact.

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