This accusation highlights a critical part of Republican Majority for Choice’s general philosophy. There are millions of Republicans who are pro-choice standing by the party’s long held cornerstone of limiting government control of individual’s personal lives. Being a pro-choice Republican is about finding common ground – not about pointing fingers. Nobody is pro-abortion. But supporting choice is about much more than abortion. Supporting reproductive choice includes all possible options including education, abstinence, prevention, motherhood, adoption and abortion. Ensuring that women and families have the access and ability to make the best choices for themselves is the foundation of our pro-choice ideology.
Republicans, like all political parties, are not a monolithic group and our aim is to move past the rhetoric and come together to find commonsense solutions to the problem. Most Americans believe in the need to decrease the rate and incidence of abortion. Likewise, the majority of both Republicans and Americans support sound fiscal policy that cuts government waste, controls tax burdens and focuses smart government spending on policies that actually work. We know the best way to reduce the need for and rate of abortion is through increasing access to preventive family planning and comprehensive sex-education. And as pro-choice Republicans, we know that our Party agenda must be more welcoming and stop focusing on extreme policies that infringe on individual rights. Commonsense legislation that focuses on prevention is the very best way to get both our nation and our party back on track.
This week, one Facebook commenter suggested that Democrats unequivocally support women’s family planning clinics, while Republicans do not. There are no doubt the vocal social extremists who claim to speak for all Republicans and push their non-stop efforts to promote big government intrusion. However, a look back at the history of both parties reveals that Republicans have firm roots in the family planning movement and as defenders of individual freedom. The GOP, in fact, is the party that originally championed family planning, recognizing it as a smart investment. Prevention services have long been lauded for their role in reducing abortion rates, fostering healthy families, and saving the nation money, and as a result, family planning has deep roots in the Republican Party. Title X (10) of the Public Service Act, the only public family planning program in the United States, originally passed with broad bipartisan support and was signed into law by Republican President Richard Nixon in 1970. One of the chief co-sponsors of this preventative health care legislation was former President (then-Rep.) George H.W. Bush. These elected leaders understood, as pro-choice Republicans do today, that the best way to reduce the need for abortions is to increase access to all reproductive health services.
Now, when we know that $1 spent on family planning saves over $5 in the long run, many have lost sight of the benefits of prevention and have instead become focused on contradictory social and ideological agendas. But this socially conservative opposition to birth control and prevention is a very recent development. Evangelical Christians largely accepted birth control, and even the legalization of abortion, for many years. It was only in the late 1970’s, under the leadership of a small number of Christian leaders, that the tides began to turn. Still, many religious Americans recognize that their faith and social values do not have to conflict with prevention efforts.
Republicans once recognized the critical importance of family planning, and it’s time for the Party to return to those commonsense roots. The GOP does have a history of supporting funding for prevention, because prevention fosters limited government and economic improvements for many. Family planning aligns perfectly with the ideals the Party was founded on and has held for many years, so we cannot allow extremists to rewrite that history. The real GOP, the one that attracts voters, is a party that pushes for commonsense solutions, not one that exacerbates problems by ignoring the causes.
This week a piece of pro-choice preventive healthcare legislation that has been stalled in a South Carolina house subcommittee for over a year passed a key hurdle and is now headed for a full house vote. This Republican-led comprehensive sex-education bill, introduced last year by two Republican state Representatives, B.R. Skelton and Jenny Horne, would update the state’s outdated sex education law and ensure students will be given medically accurate information, that includes but is not limited to abstinence education, and instructed by certified health teachers. South Carolina’s existing abstinence-only sex education program hasn’t been updated in nearly three decades.
Currently, South Carolina has the 3rd highest incidence of STI’s in teen and the 11th highest rate of teen pregnancies in the nation at 36.5 births per every 1,000 for girls 15- to 19-year-old. And if that wasn’t enough evidence of a need for reform, the state spends upwards of $200 million yearly on the repercussions of teen pregnancy.”I felt that there might be something we could do about it,” said Republican Representative Skelton. “When we learned about the kinds of information that was being provided, then it was even more important for us, I think, to take the bill up and bring us into the 21st century.”
This week the hotly contested bill was heavily debated before passing Republican-majority House Education and Public Works Committee, 10-6. Republican Representative Ralph Norman emphasized the commonsense nature of this bill. At Republican Majority for Choice we also believe families are the best and first option to educate their children about sex, but “the reality” noted Republican Representative Ralph Norman, is that many students do not receive this education at home. “I agree abstinence is the best way,” said Representative Norman. “But do you think abstinence is being practiced now by a majority of our high-school sophomores, juniors, seniors and college (students)? No.”
These commonsense reforms will send a “very direct message” to students “because children now don’t understand what they’re doing when they’re having sex,” Norman said. RMC applauds these Real Republican legislators for taking a stand for commonsense legislation that will encourage responsibility among young people and save taxpayer dollars.
During a time when Congress seems to jump from one budget crisis to another and millions of Americans are concerned about the status of their health insurance, Congressional leaders are once again attempting to legislate a one-size-fits-all big-government mandate on personal reproductive health decisions:
South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has just introduced yet another abortion ban to Congress. This ban on abortions prior to viability is not only blatantly unconstitutional but will most severely affect those women already facing the most tragic medical situations.
Let Republicans in the Senate know that you are tired of watching your tax dollars wasted on legislation that has already been declared unconstitutional in federal court, while nothing is being done to prevent the need for abortions.
Take a look at the facts and consider signing RMC’s petition against this anti-choice agenda.
Sign our petition today. Republicans should focus on facts and real solutions instead of allowing emotional personal beliefs to trump individual freedom, religious freedom and medical science.
We are tired of watching the two ‘sides’ screaming at each other and proposing bills that seem to be more about political points. Now, more than ever, we need commonsense voices to prevail over grandstanding talking points.
|Already today we’ve heard from many of you who are disappointed by Congress’ failure to come together and find a solution to avoid the government shut down. But there is hope. There remain mainstream Republicans (and RMC allies) who understand that dialogue and discussion are not a sign of weakness but are the keys to moving forward. Here are recent statements from just a few of these commonsense leaders:
Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA) spent Monday trying to convince fellow mainstream Republicans to to take a stand against the extremists, “I think now it’s imperative that we just fund the government, get on with the business of governing.”
Similarly, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said that what is playing out in Washington “is an effort to clearly raise the profile in terms of why the Affordable Care Act is not working, why we really haven’t worked to reform health care. But does it solve the problem that we’re dealing with? No, it really doesn’t.”
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) echoed this call for a return to practical, solutions-based policy. “We have an obligation to govern and it does not make sense to link defunding ObamaCare, as much as I’d like to see that come about, with a measure that is essential to keep government funding.”
We need to show these commonsense conservatives that they are not standing alone. Join us today in telling Congress to get back to work! If you have recently made a donation- Thank you! If not, please consider making a contribution now, to help RMC continue supporting these outspoken common sense conservatives!