I am writing on behalf of Pro-Choice Charlotte as an appeal to abortion protesters participating in the 40-week Love Life prayer walk outside A Preferred Women’s Health Clinic in Charlotte that started last weekend. While the stated purpose of Love Life Charlotte is “to create a culture of love and life that will bring an end to abortion,” please reconsider whether shaming, intimidating and harassing women arriving at the clinic is the best way to show love and compassion. You may not intend for the marching, shouting and posters to cause psychological distress, but this is the effect you have on many women. Not only does this not demonstrate love or respect for your fellow human, it is also not an effective way to reduce the number of abortions. I would like to offer three alternatives.
First, help reduce poverty and racism. Almost 70 percent of abortions are provided to low-income women and women of color. Your help would both reduce the number of abortions and increase the overall health, education and well-being of economically disadvantaged groups. Perhaps you could adopt a disadvantaged neighborhood or school and help the residents economically. It is hard to imagine a better way to create a culture of love and life.
Next, support greater access to contraceptives and comprehensive sex education. Recent studies have shown that abortion rates in the U.S., which have continued to decrease since the 1970s, have declined particularly sharply in recent years. Experts attribute this decline to the increased use of long-acting reversible contraceptives, which are much more reliable than birth-control pills or condoms. In addition, recent studies have shown that teens who receive comprehensive sex education are more likely to delay their first sexual experience, use contraceptives when they do have sex, and are less likely to experience an unwanted pregnancy.
Third, advocate for increasing the availability and affordability of quality child care. Many women need to work in order to feed and house themselves and their children. They may choose to have an abortion both because they cannot afford to feed another child and because they simply cannot take care of an infant and hold down a job. Providing financial and child-care assistance to these women would be a much better way to show love and a respect for life.
I hope that you will embrace some or all of these ways to create a true culture of love and life in Charlotte.
Adams volunteers with Pro-Choice Charlotte, which aims to protect women’s safe access to abortion services and reproductive choice.