Women's Healthcare and Right to Choose - are we debating health or religious beliefs?
Let me begin by saying, I believe in God. My God is a forgiving God who loves me no matter what decisions I make. He guides me and fills my heart daily with joy. I don't force my Christian views upon anyone at any time. When asked, I state my beliefs and then move on. I honor an individual's right to choose their lives and what they believe in.
Let's face the facts, in our community we face larger problems than the right to choose our own destiny and live with our choices. Some San Diego County residents are barely surviving in the high cost of living that is San Diego. We worrying about employment, housing, and homelessness. Many County residents are just one paycheck away from losing their home or are considered marginally homeless by couch surfing with family and friends. Other County residents have experienced trauma and mental health issues that impede their ability to live successfully. These are critical and economic issues that impact each of us. Yet, as a community, we seem to draw the line in politics by telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies. I value life; yet, I remember those times when women were dying from using coat hangers to complete an abortion or back room abortions that ended in the death of the mother. Are we, as a nation, moving backwards in an attempt to legislate a women's right to choose?
One of the greatest problems with the abortion debate is that the two sides are not in direct opposition; there are similarities in the debate that is crushed under legislation. The pro-life movement seeks to force their moral beliefs on others - grounded in their own religion or personal philosophy. The pro-choice movement does not use morality of abortion and women's healthcare. Rather this is left as an individual choice for every woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy. If the woman feels abortion is wrong and they want to give their child up for adoption, or keep it, it is a personal decision that is supporting and compassionate.
Pro-life people say "Abortion is wrong-no exceptions;" Pro-Choice only say "Abortion is." Making abortion illegal won't stop abortions from happening; rather, it will only stop abortions from being safe. Unsafe abortions are the leading cause of death during pregnancy and childbirth. Most unsafe abortions happen as a result of taking away a women's right to choose. I recently attended a Republican meeting while deciding if I would run for office as an independent. I have never ascribed to one specific political ideology; rather I ascribe to things that faith has led me to and through. During the Republican meeting, the Chair and others stated to the crowd in order to participate in the party, candidates and party members had to be pro-life. Yet, the reality is no one should be able to tell any woman how she cares for her body and what she does with her life. That is what legislating abortion does force individual ideologies upon a woman.
Changing laws to benefit pro-life people by denying women the right to choose doesn't solve the problem; it just takes us back in history to those unsafe abortions. Forcing women to "carry" a child in the cases of rape and incest creates a potentially lifelong experiences to relive the trauma of the sexual assault as a child, soldier, or family member. Creating the potential to relive the trauma experience again and again.
The solution to the abortion issue whether through sexual assault or incest or by shear choice is to not take away choice; rather as a community we continue to improve access to healthcare, education and parental planning. Thus, Planned Parenthood is so much more than abortions; it is women's healthcare and family planning. The program and services provide access for low income families to obtain women's healthcare, contraception, and a safe harbor for women deciding their next steps - abortion or not. By increase women's health education, creating affordable healthcare, and developing a network of supportive and caring professionals as a society our communities will be much further than just one issue. If, as a nation, we are to maintain the separation of church and state so central to our nation's identity, we cannot have some people using a woman's right to choose as a key factor that forces their beliefs on us all.
Women should have the right to choose their own healthcare treatments, destiny and outcomes. This is especially true in the cases of incest and sexual assault. As your 50th Congressional District Representative, I will work to preserve a woman's right to choose her life, career, education, and lifestyle - choice is critical to thriving in society - exercise yours. Let's discuss this some more.