When Notre Dame President John Jenkins invited President Obama to give a commencement address at his prominent Catholic college, the move quickly became intensely controversial. Yet despite the kerfuffle, the speech that President Obama gave last week was graceful and poised, discussing the conflict at hand while emphasizing the importance of common ground.
Obama’s speech was consistent with the work of the pro-choice community to reduce the need for abortion by preventing unintended pregnancies. We can all work together to reduce the need for abortion without jeopardizing safe and legal abortion or stigmatizing the women who have abortions. His repeal of the global gag rule, revision of a broad and vague refusal clause, commitment to family planning, and work to support comprehensive sex-ed in schools all speak to his commitment to women’s health and autonomy.
NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and the pro-choice community have worked for years to prevent unintended pregnancy. We recently discussed this issue with the Gazette. Every year in Maryland thousands of women experience unintended pregnancies, many of which lead to hardship for women and their families, tough choices, and for some, the decision to terminate. Common ground can be found. Education about and access to contraception are proven strategies for reducing unintended pregnancy. NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland supported a bill last session that would have expanded access to family planning for low-income women. While many groups testified in support of the legislation, “pro-life” groups were noticeably absent. Unfortunately, to date their efforts have been directed at restricting access to abortion. It should not be only the pro-choice community supporting these common sense measures.