About two weeks ago, I posted a piece in reaction to President Obama's policies on abortion and funding. In order to be fair and engaging I wanted the parties affected to voice their opinions on what the current legislature on abortion means for their orgnizations. Below are reactions from the Executive Director of the Georgia Right to Life, Nancy Stith and from Leola Reis, Vice President for Extenal Affairs for the Planned Parenthood of Georgia Incorporated. The first article is from the former and the article following is from the latter.
The Pro-Life Response
Nancy Stith, Executive Director, Georgia Right to Life
As the 36th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade approached just days after our new president was inaugurated many of us in the prolife movement knew change was coming, but not the change that his supporters have been chanting about in the last several months. As hope has now been revived that we live in a country where race no longer is a barrier for anyone to achieve their dreams, we want to believe that this can and will also be a country where a child of every race will survive his mother’s womb with the chance of achieving those dreams as well.
As the commencement of service of our 44th President, Profilers across the nation feared the inevitable striking down of the ban of giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information. Also known as the "Mexico City policy" or “Global Gag Rule”, this ban is mistakenly said to prevent necessary health care to some of the world's poorest women. What the ban truly does is prevent US tax payer dollars to fund international abortions. It isn’t bad enough that today in this country we have abortion on demand all nine months of pregnancy for any reason or for no reason; we are now funding the killing babies all over the world. Before the ban funds were distributed to those who provided healthcare to some of the poorest women in the world, it just didn’t allow them to “terminate” their pregnancies with U.S. tax dollars. One of the hardest things for me to understand is how ending a pregnancy is considered such a big part of a woman’s healthcare.
President Obama has mentioned on several occasions on how he wants to reduce the number of abortions and that the government should not be allowed to intrude on our most private family matters. Does anyone not see the contradiction in this? The government should not be able to tell us what to do, but the tax payers are obligated to fund it. How is funding abortions a way to help reduce abortions here or abroad? A Gallup Poll recently published on President Obama’s approval rating has shown only 35% support of his allowing funding for overseas family planning groups that provides abortions. This puzzles me. Why didn’t the average American understand during election time that a candidate that is staunchly pro-choice would not be supporting these types of programs?
The average American does not want to look abortion in the eye. This pill is a little too bitter for many of Americans to swallow. Statistics show that 93% of woman have abortions for social issues (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient). No one really wants to talk about that. We are killing our children, our legacies and our future out of inconvenience. We cannot own up to it though even though it is shown in black and white. God forbid, that would mean we are cruel, heartless and just plain selfish. Our country has voted in the kind of change that will allow us to continue to kill millions of babies and create apathy for death instead of compassion for life domestically and globally.
The Pro-Choice Response
Leola Reis, VP, External Affairs, Planned Parenthood of Georgia, Inc.,
The news about the reversal of the Global Gag rule, affecting a federal funding stream that has existed for many years, is a tremendous step forward in preserving women's health around the world. These funds, which have existed for many years, go to developing countries. No US funds can be used for abortions or abortion counseling. However, under the previous administration, no US funds would go to any country that used its own funds for abortion counseling or services. President Obama's reversal of the Global Gag Rule means that these countries can use US funds for contraception and other health care initiatives.
Clearly, we now have a President who understands the importance of protecting and strengthening women's health. Planned Parenthood fully supports the Freedom of Choice Act, but there's a long list of things to get done: increasing access to affordable birth control, move funding for family planning, comprehensive sex education to keep our teens healthy and safe, and health care for all Americans. FOCA is a part of that list, but not at the top.
The American people have clearly stated that they reject the divisive politics of the past and are looking for a future guided by common sense solutions to the real problems we face. Americans want policies that address the root causes of abortion, such as poverty and health care inequities, and they simply tune out the din of extremist language.
There is much to be done in our own state to address health care issues and to help women prevent unintended pregnancies and plan for healthy ones. We are hoping that Georgia legislators on both sides of the isle will work together to improve access to reproductive health care that includes cancer screenings and birth control