Opinion

Opposing abortion means supporting safe sex

Conservatives must take up certain causes if they are going to limit women's choice

Conservatives who are anti-abortion, or “pro-lifers,” need to accept that we don’t live in a world where the only people who have sex are wealthy, married couples. This is far from reality. If you personally object to abortion on moral grounds, fine. But if you’re against abortion, there are a couple of things you need to work toward and support. And if you’re a conservative, chances are you’re not.

The first thing you should be extremely supportive of is welfare. If you’re supporting abortion restrictions, you should be in equal support of welfare. If you tell a woman who struggles to support herself that she must now support a child, you can’t then turn around and bash her for needing government assistance. If the goal is to prevent abortions, you must help create an environment where giving birth to a child won’t mean that a woman will be stricken with poverty for the rest of her life.

The second is free and accessible birth control. The only way to prevent unwanted pregnancy is to make sure that all people can have safe and protected sex, not just the people who can afford it. People are going to have sex. Teenagers, poor people, everyone. To believe otherwise is to live with your head in the clouds. Pro-life conservatives need to stop pushing abstinence and start pushing the distribution of protection because if people can’t afford condoms, chances are they can’t afford to raise a child, either.

The third issue conservatives should be extremely supportive of is sex education in schools. Sex is natural. Clearly, animals have sex all the time, and not because they learned about it in their sex education class. You’re not going to keep teens from having sex by simply not telling them what sex is and hoping they won’t find out until their wedding night. Teaching students about sex is important for two main reasons. For some, learning about all the risks associated with having sex may help them to decide they’re not ready and will abstain. For others, understanding the risks may lead them to take proper precautions. So what’s the problem?

The fourth thing pro-lifers should be supporting is adoption of all kinds. The only “solution” conservatives ever manage to lend to scared, pregnant women is adoption.

“There’s always adoption!,” they constantly remind the world as if we’d all forgotten. Yeah, there is always adoption. Something else there “is always” a lot of is unwanted children. According to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, there are 400,540 children in the U.S. living without permanent families in the foster care system. 115,00 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 40 percent of them will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted. Globally, there are almost 18 million orphans who have lost both parents and are living in orphanages or on the streets.

Ironically, many of the people preaching adoption to women are the same people who continue to oppose adoption rights for gay couples. Theoretically, pro-lifers should love the gay community. Think about it: There are a bunch of women having babies they don’t want or can’t support, and a group of couples who physically can’t have children. So if you want to yell, “There’s always adoption!” in everyone’s faces, you need to support a system where there is actually always adoption. Furthermore, not only should pro-lifers support gay adoption, they should be adopting themselves. If not, you’re telling women, “Don’t worry, someone will take your baby, but it’s not going to be me.”

Though I myself am pro-choice, I can understand some of the moral reservations of the pro-life community. You’re not absolutely crazy to think having an abortion is wrong. You are, however, crazy to think that you can restrict abortion without actively working to prevent unwanted pregnancy in the first place, or without working to end poverty in the homes into which these children will be born.

Views expressed in the opinion pages represent the opinions of the columnists.