Finding Common Ground On Reproductive Rights
As a Member of Congress, sworn to uphold the constitution, I believe it is critically important that privacy rights involving reproduction and contraception be preserved under the law. On the issue of abortion, which has so divided our country, I support a woman's right to make her own decisions when it comes to her reproductive health. I believe that it would be a terrible mistake for our country if we turned the clock back to a time when all abortions were illegal turning women and their doctors into criminals. What makes sense to me is that we ensure that abortions in our country are safe, legal and rare - meaning that we preserve the right of women to make this difficult choice, but can surely do more to provide better reproductive health services to families so that unwanted pregnancies are rarer and abortions rarer still.
I believe that it is possible for communities divided by this emotional and controversial issue to find common ground in working together to bring down the number of abortions in America. Finding this common ground is a goal I try hard to reach when I am asked about this issue.
Part of ensuring women can make choices about their bodies is providing access to proper health care and education about contraceptives and the choices involved with family planning. As part of this effort I have cosponsored legislation that focuses on prevention of teen and unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. These preventions include providing insurance coverage for contraceptives and increasing funding to Title X clinics which provide family planning for women, as well as basic health services such as breast exams, cervical exams, and pap smears.
Education is also vitally important to proper prevention and providing choices if a woman finds herself in the situation of an unwanted pregnancy. In the past I have supported legislation to provide comprehensive sex education which includes information about contraceptives including emergency contraception, abstinence only until married, and information about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.
Family planning clinics need to continue to provide information on all of the options available to women who are pregnant, including adoption. These policies - improving access to health care, and better reproductive health education - can help us all find common ground to reduce the number of abortions that occur in our country.