For women, our life course is determined by deciding whether we have children, how many we have, and with whom we have them. Obtaining a degree, having a career, volunteering in our communities, taking care of elderly parents, or raising kids are pursuits —what the Founders called the pursuits of happiness—that give our lives meaning.
Our decision to be—or not be—a parent directly affects how we choose to make an impact on our world.
Women know these are self-evident truths. In the fall of 2021, SNL comedian Cecily Strong bravely explained that if she had not had an abortion at age 23, she would not be a professional comedian at age 37.
Poignantly, six out of 10 women who have an abortion are already parents who lack resources to care for more children. Women are conditioned to keep these stories hidden, afraid that their reasons, their decisions will be judged harshly as glib, or selfish.
For 50 years, Roe v. Wade has shielded us from states that limited access to necessary abortion services. Based on the leaked draft, the Supreme Court is going backwards, arguing that “It is time to . . . return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
When this happens, state restrictions will have an outsized impact on those who are low-income, live in rural areas, and are Native American. Those of us in these circumstances will not have the means to travel to states where abortion remains legal. Banning abortion will not end abortion. But abortion bans will cut short educations, end careers, and extinguish, for too many, the ability to live fully “our one wild and precious life.”
I am running for Congress to fight for policies that allow all of us the ability to make our world a better place, in our own way, and on our own terms.
First, Congress must codify Roe’s protections for all by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. This law will create a federal right to medical care, which will trump state efforts to limit abortion access.
Second, Congress can do more and actually prevent unwanted pregnancies by providing free contraception to all. In 2008, 60 percent of Colorado women, aged 15 to 24, who gave birth said that their pregnancy was unintended. Colorado responded by providing contraception to over 30,000 women. The results were dramatic. By 2019, teen abortion rates across the state dropped by 64%.
Third, Congress must support the families who want to have children. The annual cost of child care for infants can be as much as the cost of college tuition. Child care is 35% of some families’ budgets. President Biden and Congressional Democrats are pushing for the child tax credit, paid-family leave, affordable child care, and universal preschool. But not a single elected Congress member who calls themselves “pro-life,” supports these provisions.
Fourth, Congress must guarantee essential medical care. Today, close to 40% of all abortions in the US, and 75% in Montana, are produced with a pill that doctors can safely and effectively prescribe up until 10 weeks of pregnancy. However, Republican leaders in Montana and other states are restricting mail access to this medication. There is no medical or scientific reason to do so. Indeed, the same legislatures permit men to obtain over the Internet prescriptions for Viagra.
Yes, the Supreme Court looks ready to return to a time when states can limit abortion access. But that is not the last word. We have the next say. If elected to Congress, I will ensure that all of us have the means to set the course of our own destinies.