Opinion: The 'War on Women' Doesn't Ring True

Does living in a Democratic state mean you can’t go public about being pro-life?

When my 18-year-old daughter arrived home for spring break in March of 2012, she made an Acton bucket list of sorts. 

At the top of Jackie’s list: go to Town Hall to register to vote.

This coming November, she’ll make the trek from Chestnut Hill to the RJ Grey Junior High gym to cast her first ballot.

Jackie won’t be at the dinner table participating in “election talk” with her political-junkie dad this fall. She won’t be at the high school listening to Mary Price Maddox explain the complexities of the issues. But I have no doubt that she’ll be paying attention to the messages put forth by both the Democrats and the Republicans who hope to win her vote.

I am confident that my daughter will be able to discern most of the differences between the policies of Barack Obama and those of Mitt Romney.  She’ll decide for herself which candidate’s views match most  closely with her own before entering the polling booth.

There is one issue, though, that I predict will confuse her. It’s the pro-choice vs. pro-life debate.

Why? Because I am a grown woman and I can’t make sense of it.

It’s being said that there is a “War on Women.”  What does that mean? Can that be true in 2012? Or is it a ploy to get every woman to vote for the liberal Democrat?

Full disclosure: I would never, ever, consider having an abortion. If I had become pregnant before I was capable of mothering, I would have given my baby up for adoption.

I would have been in the minority. There are over 1.2 million abortions performed in the U.S. each year. The number of infants that are given up for adoption? About  140,000.

With numbers like that, and all the attention to the issue in the media, one would think that the majority of Americans are pro-choice.

That’s not true.

What is true is that the latest Gallup polling on this issue found that 51% of Americans identify themselves as pro-life and consider abortion morally wrong.

Tuesday night, Rick Santorum spoke at the Republican National Convention.  He mentioned his three year-old daughter Bella, who has needed medical treatment for a rare genetic disorder. When photos of sweet little Bella were shown, it was like shining a spotlight on Santorum’s commitment to preserve life.

After his speech, the news commentators were all abuzz about whether Santorum’s pro-life reference was part of a sound strategy…or a big mistake.

I wondered why, given the fact that pro-life proponents outnumber pro-choice advocates and the latter group is losing support, anyone would think Santorum could be making a political blunder.

Romney’s position on abortion is that he opposes it most cases but is in favor of making exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or threat to the mother’s life.

He has been quoted as saying it would be “wonderful” if Americans could "agree that we’re not going to have legalized abortion in the nation.”

That’s exactly how I feel about the issue, although I would encourage rape victims to consider bringing babies to term and fulfilling the dreams of loving infertile couples.

Does this mean that I want Roe vs. Wade overturned? Or that I think that the Republican party will ever succeed in doing that?

No on both counts.

What I do want to see is an increase in the number of infants given up for adoption. The only way for that to happen is for there to be a shift away from unwanted babies being quickly disposed of and toward young women being supported—financially and emotionally--through pregnancy and the surrender process.

I want to see the media, that sometimes-evil entity that informs social culture, get on board and make adoption as acceptable as raising babies out of wedlock and having abortions.

So what do I want my daughter to know?

I want her to know that I would I would love for her to enjoy a fulfilling consensual sexual relationship when she is old enough to handle all of the possible consequences.  This means when she is able to take care of a child for at least 18 years or to carry a baby to term and put it up for adoption. Everyone knows that no birth control is 100% effective.

I want her to know that she should refrain from hooking up with young men she hardly knows in the name of freedom.  Yes, it’s her body and since she is of age, she gets to decide. But there are ramifications of this behavior that I prefer she not experience.

I want her to know that being a single mother at a young age is a huge predictor of living in poverty.  

I want her to know that, if one of her friends gets pregnant and shares an intent to put the baby up for adoption, she should encourage this.

I want her to know that I worked for Catholic Charities back when they provided infant placements. The best days there were ones when an adoptive couple came to pick up their baby and take him home. Every staff member cheered as the family walked out the agency’s front  door to their new life. It happened two or three times a year at most; that wasn’t anywhere near often enough.

The most important thing that I want my bright, caring, witty daughter to know is that I can imagine her being part of an adoptive family, lighting up their world the way she’s lit up mine.

What I would never be able to bear is the thought of her not being here at all.

Is there really a War on Women? As we head to the polls in November, should the candidates’ views on Women’s Issues influence our votes?




Mike Hullinger September 02, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Dana, The Constitution in fact forbids socialism. Nowhere in the Constituion is there an enumerated power for the Federal Governement to own the means of production or distribution in Amercain society.
Gaye Tannenbaum September 02, 2012 at 02:46 PM
"There are over 1.2 million abortions performed in the U.S. each year. The number of infants that are given up for adoption? About 140,000." The number that's missing: unmarried women who choose to parent. According to the CDC, in 2009 - Number of live births to unmarried women: 1,693,658. Who is "ready" to parent? According to AmericanAdoptions.com "It will cost approximately $12,000 - $24,000 per year to raise a child. This estimate does not include education and other items that children will require." With figures like that and the median US household income of around $50,000 - it's a wonder that half the country can afford a child much less two or more children. I wonder what would happen if the adoption market was flooded with 1.2 million more babies each year. The price of a baby would certainly go down and prospective adopters would get pickier on what kind of baby they wish to purchase. This is basic economics. You already see that in adoptions from foster care. Despite the hefty price tag associated with domestic infant adoption, there are still far too many older children languishing in foster care. Reason - it's not about finding a home for a child who needs one. It never was.
S T Hrouda September 03, 2012 at 01:38 AM
While the subject of a woman's right to an abortion is important, it has no place in the discussion about who to vote for in November. Both candidates running for our Senate seat support a woman's right to choose. Both candidates running for President have used the same language on this issue during the 2008 & 2012 election cycles.  If you think that a candidate has a hidden agenda and intends to overturn R vs W then you should know that our Constitution has been written to make this very difficult.  First 2/3 of the members of both houses would have to vote to overturn it. This would mean that 67 of our 100 Senators and 290 of our 435 Congressmen would commit political suicide & vote to overturn R vs. W?...never...they love their jobs. Even if they did, which I can not imagine, the next step to ratify this new amendment to our constitution is even harder.  To get the amendment ratified it would need to go to all 50 States for a vote and 3/4 of our States, 38 of the 50 states, would need to vote in favor of overturning R vs. W. Again this would be political suicide for every politician in state governments. While we spend time discussing this very important but very unlikely scenario our country is paying $50 million in interest every hour to China and other countries. We need answers from our candidates about what steps they will take to start reversing this trend before we have a total financial meltdown like the citizens of Greece are experiencing.
x September 03, 2012 at 01:45 AM
S T, Good points. Some otherwise capable women lose the ability to reason at every election cycle, and agonize over this academic issue. Reverend E. Raleigh Pimperton III
Kathleen Surdan September 06, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Carlynne, Catholic Charities is a private agency, but they were conducting what were essentially public-agency type adoptions. No couples were charged tens of thousands of dollars. The waiting list for an infant placement was 4 years. And the birth mothers came to the agency's door. There was no recruiting or enticing of any type going on. How could there be when the birth parents didn't receive any payment? What they did receive was support and counseling by a very caring social worker named Carol.


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