Thank you for contacting me regarding the Freedom of Choice Act. I appreciate hearing from you.
This legislation was introduced in the last Congress as (H.R. 1964), the 109th Congress as (H.R. 5151), and the 108th Congress as (H.R. 3719). In those congresses, it was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, but not acted upon further.
I believe there is widespread support in South Dakota for working in a bipartisan manner to make abortion more rare by reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, strengthening the adoption system, and making it easier for families to raise young children. On this sensitive issue, I believe we must work to find common ground, rather than pursuing highly political and divisive approaches. I am convinced that we have much more to gain by working together.
I have also worked in Congress to help write and introduce legislation to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and support women who are pregnant, as well as young families. I have found common ground with a group of other members of Congress who agree on this important priority. In past Congresses, we have joined together and sponsored the Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act, and plan to reintroduce it this Congress.
This legislation includes a number of common sense provisions for prevention and support. Among these are provisions expanding the Adoption Tax Credit from $10,000 to $15,000 and making it permanent. This legislation also includes provisions recognizing the vital role of parents in preventing teen pregnancy and establishing a national center to assist parents in this role. This center would provide parents with information to enhance their communication with their children, for example, by providing alerts regarding recent trends among adolescents.
Working together, I am convinced we can reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies; support women who are pregnant and young families; and support and enhance adoption. I will continue my efforts to bring people together to accomplish these goals.
Again, thank you for contacting me about this important issue. I look forward to hearing from you again.
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
Member of Congress
My disagreements with her response are:
- The "Freedom of Choice Act" still needs to be refuted. It will not fulfill what President Obama wants, which is an "end to the culture wars." It is in and of itself "political and divisive" in the extreme. If DC steps in and wipes out State laws with a one-size-fits-all, subsidized abortion-on-demand act, it will only make the culture wars more intense and bitter. State laws better accommodate the breadth of opinion on divisive issues like abortion. Roe v. Wade ignited the culture war by intruding the Federal government (via its Judicial Branch) into what really belonged in State Legislatures and Initiatives.
- Even if one clings to the idea that abortion is a "right", there is still a problem with subsidizing it with tax money. If you want the rest of us "out of your bedroom" and to "keep our hands off your body," then don't come asking for us to pay for your "birth control" abortion.
- It goes without saying that any of us who believe that abortion kills a human being will not be satisfied by bloodless appeals to bipartisanship and policy tweaks. Whether the laws are restrictive or permissive, the moral issue will still be out there. But if some of the policy ideas that Rep. Herseth-Sandlin puts forward do, in fact, make abortions more rare, that will be very good and welcome news.