As a Pro-Life compassionate Republican and professional healthcare administrator, I’m humbled by how I have been stereotyped. Nice try. Honestly, I did not think about the meaning of pro-life or the impacts on life beyond birth: services, support, and policies. Everyone needs to get more thoughtful about what pro-life means. Sadly, many believe that pro-choice and abortion is the only option. Maybe not. Continuing the debate on pro-choice versus pro-life is non valued added.
Reframing the conversation to move from Pro-Birth to following through on the impacts of Pro-Life Beyond Birth would be more beneficial. It starts with challenging our current beliefs and short-sighted thinking, me included. We must understand the emotional, financial, and psychological difficulties moms and dads face and the future impacts on organizations.
It’s an absolute lie to say pro-life people don’t care about mothers and babies. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s also a lie when people swing slogans around such as “Forced birth = Violence, High Risk, Wasted Livelihoods.” These tactics do nothing to reframe the conversation on what to do about what’s right about life beyond birth. Like me, many have not thought through the implications of the decision.
Life beyond birth should be about understanding, assessing, quantifying, and resourcing the impact of the Dobbs decision and current legislative efforts. We must begin by asking how we help babies, moms, and families off to the right start—physically, emotionally, and financially. To reinforce their anxiety and fear is counterproductive. We must work overtime to change the perception new parents are on their own.
Collectively, we decided to be pro-life. Pro-life really means access to prenatal care services and a vibrant life beyond birth by addressing the implications. Safe-haven laws allowing new mothers to surrender their baby, no questions asked, provide a solution. It’s not enough Make Medicaid expansion by giving infants, mothers, and providers a stable source of reimbursement. Bolstering sex education, increasing pregnancy prevention options, strengthening prenatal care services, increasing case management services for births and doula services, and extending post-partum care to 12 months will be helpful.
The impacts of current capacity and resourcing must be addressed. Can pregnancy resource centers provide parenting classes, early head start programs, diapers, formula, financial assistance, and other services to more new parents? Will housing and residential programs offer new moms and families an affordable place to live? Let’s not make it harder for families to earn a livable wage, get assistance, acquire paid parental leave, and access childcare services. Let’s build on the State’s foster care challenges and make it easy to seek adoption services.
We need to make it standard practice to welcome new babies and mothers and resource services and support accordingly. We need to make it easier for pregnant mothers to find the right services to make the right decisions about their future.
Many organizations face an uphill conversation ranging from getting smeared in the media to bad resourcing allocation decisions such as not funding foster care or eliminating childcare subsidies. From a policy perspective, we need to make it harder to avoid paternal responsibility with mandatory paternity tests and protect providers who perform legal abortions within legal exceptions. Harassment of workers at pregnancy resource centers should not be tolerated.
We own the Pro-life decision. The conversation needs to get beyond being symbolic and the notion of mission accomplished. It’s time to reframe the conversation. Real lives are at stake. The child in a mother’s womb is a living person deserving of love and care. The mother does too.
Everyone needs to get better informed and find common ground, such as being pro-humanity. Many want to preach the moral high ground by smearing pro-lifers. Knock it off! Believe it, or not, many pro-life individuals care about the well-being of mothers and their children after birth. Let’s start by acknowledging there’s an impact on life after birth–services, support, policy, and resources. Let’s work together to make it easier, not harder on families. Let’s help them make the right decision, get off to the right start, and help them flourish. A significant first step would be to start reframing the conversation.