The America First Approach Offers HOPE, Support for Women and Children

 
By Brooke Rollins

The whole of American history, in a real sense, revolves around the question of whether the propositions in the Declaration of Independence are true. If they are true — that we are subject to the “Laws of Nature and of Nature's God,” that we are “created equal,” and equally entitled to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” then what follows is self-evident: that America stands or falls based upon its protection of the most helpless among us. It is never enough to be great. A republic worthy of its founding must be good. 

Nowhere do we see this more dramatically and more compellingly than in our treatment of the absolute most vulnerable among us, bar none: our unborn children.

The American record, for those children, is cast into shadow by the millions killed under the half-century blight of the Roe regime. Our country will forever carry the burden of memory and responsibility for a whole never-to-be-born generation, unnumbered tragedies and needless deaths that stripped our communities of limitless talent, weighted our nation with unfulfilled promise, and, unforgivably, took the lives of precious innocents. Yet, as is so often the case, America’s failure to live up to its own ideals also spurred Americans to rise to them and compel change. The iniquities of Roe were brought to a well-deserved end by the activism and prayer of millions of compassionate Americans across generations — and by a President who kept his promise when the time came to appoint Supreme Court justices who would do the right thing.

Yet the end of Roe was not the end of the fight for life under the American ideal. What ended with Roe was not, in fact, abortion in the United States: its overturning merely shifted the locus of decision from the federal to the state level. What we’ve seen since then, in a variety of states, is an admixture of good policy in many places — abortion in some states has never been so rare — and exceptionally bad policy in many others. Bad policy is an anodyne descriptor: we cannot forget that its effects are measured in unborn children killed

So, the fight continues, and we who labor in these fields have a responsibility to engage in it. It continues in the states — and it continues in the hearts of ordinary Americans who must be persuaded that the greatest work remains to be done. Ending Roe was just the start: the real goal, the destination toward which we indefatigably strive, is protecting a woman and child’s shared right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Our opportunity now is to meet the moment by doubling down on efforts to support women in challenging situations to reduce the number of abortions in America. Six in 10 women who previously had an abortion did so because they felt a high degree of pressure from sources, including male partners, family members, financial concerns, and other circumstances. A majority of Americans agree that an approach to support women will be more effective at reducing abortions — and thereby saving lives — than abortion restriction policies. 

That’s why we at the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) are unveiling our HOPE Agenda today. The name is an acronym that synopsizes the pillars and principles of our aspirations: health, opportunity, prosperity, and empowerment. And, need it be said, healthy, happy, and living mothers and babies. The HOPE Agenda is the next step in the fight for life: a set of policy proposals that compel America to fulfill its promise, even and especially to unborn Americans, by creating an environment where having children is supported and safe, and women are supported. 

The America First HOPE Agenda contains 20 policies that can be implemented at the state and federal levels to better support women and children, including prioritizing the health of women by requiring in-person ultrasounds to fully assess pregnancies, diverting funds from Planned Parenthood to fund state-level support programs like Texas’ Alternatives to Abortion and material aid resources at community health centers, and ensuring faith-based organizations can provide social services support. It also includes removing legal and financial barriers to adoption and foster care, expanding access to paid family and medical leave and to affordable childcare, extending the federal child tax credit to the year the baby was conceived even if not yet born, and requiring reciprocity in employee benefits so that companies who cover abortion costs provide the same level of coverage for those who seek to build a family through seeking infertility treatments or pursuing adoption. In addition to these new pro-woman, pro-baby, and pro-family measures, the HOPE Agenda also reaffirms our long-standing recognition of the exemptions for the victims of rape and incest, protecting the life of the mother, supporting IVF treatments, and ensuring any baby born alive receives all live-saving care.

The majority of Americans agree that fewer abortions would be a good thing for our country, and six in 10 believe that policies proposed in the HOPE Agenda would be effective at reaching that goal. 

It’s important to understand that the HOPE Agenda — transformative as it is — is only one more front in the ongoing fight for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To borrow from John Adams, America requires a “moral and religious people” for its own fulfillment. It is that people, and that sentiment in their hearts, that is the ultimate safeguard of the right to life — for the unborn, for women, and for everyone else. 

At AFPI, we’re proud to join that fight — and to lead the way.

Editor's Note: This column is co-authored by Brooke Rollins and Heidi Overton, M.D., Ph.D.

Brooke L. Rollins is President and CEO of the America First Policy Institute and served as the Director of the Domestic Policy Council during the Donald J. Trump Administration.

Heidi Overton, M.D., Ph.D., is the Chief Policy Officer and Director of the Center for a Healthy America at the America First Policy Institute and is a board-certified physician in Preventive Medicine and General Public Health.
 
Columnist Brooke Rollins by is licensed under
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