Signed in as:
I grew up, and spent the majority of my life, adamantly opposed to abortion, except with the traditional platitude of "except in cases of rape or incest."
I thought I knew the issue. I thought I knew exactly why abortion was evil and why women should be prevented from choosing them, and why doctors should be jailed for performing them.
Then, in 2014, life punched me in the mouth and woke me up.
We received a call one day that a 16-yr-old girl in Texas (I'll call her Krista) was pregnant and wanted to place her baby for adoption. Because we had already adopted our son, this person thought we'd be good candidates to adopt Krista's baby.
We met Krista the next day via video chat. She was a delightful girl. Vibrant and intelligent, her whole life in front of her.
We learned that Krista was raped by her mother's live-in boyfriend. Rather than calling the police, her mother put Krista, literally without shoes, onto the street. She spent the first night outside, then found an old high school classmate -- now an adult in college -- who would let her stay at his apartment. She was raped there as well.
She found out shortly after that she was pregnant, by one of her rapists.
We helped find Krista a safe place to live, and helped her with expenses so she could get back to school and her normal life.
As the weeks went on, however, the stress of being 16 and pregnant wore on her. She continued to get pressure from her family to abort the pregnancy. We begged her not to and told her that we would support her even if she did not place the baby with us.
In the end, her family convinced her that we would let her down. They offered, if she would just abort the baby, to let her come home. The scrounged up $600 and her grandmother drove her to get an abortion.
Deidra and I felt nothing but love and compassion for Krista. Of course, we wished she would have made a different decision. We believed the best scenario was for her to place for adoption. But that wasn't our decision to make. We weren't living her nightmare.
I believe Krista remains a wonderful young woman. I don't believe she is evil. I don't believe she should be criminalized. I believe society failed her.
After that experience, I decided that my previous beliefs on abortion were invalid. I decided that I would never again try and make judgement on someone experiencing something that I personally would never experience.
I believe that the greatest sin is when we have a chance to show love and compassion, and don't take the chance.
If there is a single issue that I am happy to leave up to women and God, it is this issue.
I will assume the best. I will give them generous support if they choose to complete their pregnancy. I will protect their rights -- and their dignity -- if they choose to exercise their Constitutional right to terminate.
Let us be very clear: Women have a Constitutional right to choose an abortion.
That was enshrined into supreme law in the Roe v. Wade decision.
Our system of government must respect that right, in the same way we must respect the right to gun ownership as enshrined into law by the Supreme Court in DC v. Derry.
As Governor, it is my duty to acknowledge and protect those Constitutional rights.
I believe in the sanctity of life. I believe children are the greatest blessing we have ever, and will ever, experience.
I believe they are entitled to every opportunity in life and should surrounded by families, communities, and societies which do everything possible to promote their well-being.
I believe the best possible scenario is for a child to be born to loving parents, at the right time, and in the right place.
I believe that to be Pro-Life, you must care as much about the postnatal welfare of the child as you do about the prenatal welfare.
As Governor, I would ensure that the exercise of a woman's Constitutional right to choose an abortion is:
Women must be given the ability to exercise their right to choose an abortion in a safe environment, with the best of medical care.
I will not sign any law which unduly infringes upon a woman's right to choose an abortion. That does not mean I am against common sense regulation. But any regulation cannot unduly infringe upon her Constitutional rights.
I can never understand the choice that a woman must make. That's why it is their choice, and not mine.
If we want to reduce abortions, we must invest in policies which help women be less likely to need, or feel they need, to make that choice.
- Investments in birth control access
- More effective reproductive education in schools and in homes
- More affordable adoption options
- Investments in postnatal care for women and their children
- Investments in early childhood education
- Investments in paid maternity and paternity leave
- Drastic crackdown on any laws which enable domestic abusers to keep control of women
My life changed forever, and forever for the better, when Deidra and I held our son, Roman, in our arms for the first time. Through the grace of God and the sacrifice of his birth parents, we were finally parents.
Not a day goes by that I don't feel overwhelming gratitude for the blessing of adoption.
Adoption -- whether placing a child or receiving a child -- isn't for everyone. Ultimately, it is a choice left to birth parents and families. Still, you may be surprised at the tremendous blessings received through adoption.
For those who make the decision to place their children for adoption, I advocate vast enhancements of the social support system:
- Impeccable prenatal and postnatal care for mother and baby
- Any and all mental health counseling for both birth parents, as they see a need
- Expanded education and career support so they can have a life filled with opportunity
For those who make the choice to adopt a child, we must also give additional support:
- Tax rebates to help cover the cost of adoption
- Subsidized healthcare to ensure the whole family has the best health outcomes
- Counseling to help adoptive parents navigate what can be sensitive, but extremely rewarding, relationships with birth parents