The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not reflect the opinions of State Affairs.
Raped. Pregnant. 15-years-old. Homeless. Hopeless.
These are often one or more of the characteristics brought up by abortion supporters to justify abortion’s necessity for women in our culture. But, they’re not just philosophical thought experiments and political talking points to me. They were my reality. They were my challenges.
They are my story.
They are why I fight so passionately for the pro-life cause. And they are why I walked away from a successful career in the legal field in 2019 to write policy for a pro-life nonprofit organization. Because I believed that I could help ensure women in Georgia don’t face the same challenges I faced as a 15-year-old girl, pregnant by rape, homeless because I rejected abortion.
To quote the great philosopher Peter Parker, “When you can do the things that I can, but you don’t, and then the bad things happen? They happen because of you.”
That’s why you will notice how things have changed in the world of “pro-life politics” in Georgia. Our pro-life movement is driven by the understanding that politics have consequences, and we focus our entire mission on finding ways not just to end abortion – but to eliminate the perceived need for it.
It is the height of misogyny to tell a woman she is not strong enough to face unplanned life; but it is the height of hypocrisy to restrict abortion and watch women drown in the ocean of struggles we refuse to address in our society.
That is why Governor Kemp and Georgia Life Alliance created a 3-year policy agenda after the passage of the Heartbeat Bill that would address these natural results of ending access to abortion on demand in our State.
We knew we would need to make it easier and safer to:
- Foster and adopt (HB114, SB107, HB154, and more)
- Expand pregnancy Medicaid from 6 weeks to one year postpartum and cover additional services (SB338)
- Mandate reasonable accommodations in the workplace for pregnant and new mothers (HB1090)
- Provide free housing for homeless pregnant women (SB116)
- Protect pregnant women seeking relief under the family violence statute (HB 231)
- Protect the medically vulnerable and developmentally disabled (HB 128)
- Mandate paid parental leave (HB 146)
- And provide a pathway to deferred sentencing for pregnant women before incarceration (HB 345).
And each of these policy items was written, passed, and signed into law by Governor Kemp in response to signing the Heartbeat Bill in 2019. Because Georgia is a state that values life – all life – and we have made it a priority to put our money where our mouth is.
That’s what makes this pro-life movement different from the movement of our parents and grandparents. Because it is informed and led by women and men just like me – people with personal stories of survival and a deeply rooted drive to stop pulling women out of the river and instead of going upstream to find out why they’re falling in.
And it’s why our culture is falling out of love with Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion politics. They see policies like the federal “Women’s Health Protect Act” that handcuffs the medical community and restricts the right of conscience. They see the advertisements urging women to stock up on abortion pills so that they can still have access to self-managed abortion should their state ban abortion. They’ve reminded women of just how many obstacles exist to confident and joyful motherhood – but have offered no hope or remedy.
Women like me, who have faced the unthinkable, don’t need an abortion. We need to be empowered. We need to be seen. We need to be heard. We need to know that we ARE strong enough to not only face, but also to overcome adversity and unplanned life events.
We have addressed dozens of those challenges, and we know there will be many more ahead. But that’s why the future is pro-life. Because while politicians will fill the airwaves fighting to protect the institution of abortion, pro-lifers will continue actively addressing the hurdles women face in pregnancy and motherhood.
Whether it is housing, childcare, assistance on campus to choose motherhood AND an education, protecting birth parents from predatory adoption practices, or expanding access to other vital resources – we are creating a truly pro-choice society … by solving the crises caused by banning abortion so we can give women more than just the choice of abortion. It is not a “choice” when it is the only choice.
About the author
Elizabeth Reed is leadership director for Georgia Life Alliance, the largest pro-life group in Georgia.
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