What is the goal of those who work against abortion? For most of us, the objective is not simply to make abortion illegal, but also unthinkable. This is not something that can be done through legislation or Supreme Court decisions, but only through cultural change. However, it is impossible to ignore the impact that both laws and rulings have on our culture. With that in mind, leading the fight against abortion will require legislation designed to combat both the legal supply and the popular demand for abortion.
While much has been done on both issues, the American Solidarity Party is the only political entity that truly recognizes the need to address both. Thus, I am working within that party to promote the Support and Protection for Mothers in Pregnancy-Related Crises, Children with Disabilities, and Unborn Individual Act. Or, in shortened form, the American Family Protection Act (not to be confused with 1980’s H.R. 7445, then dubbed the “Family Protection Act).
The new AFPA establishes a sliding scale of financial support for women in crisis pregnancies. The amount given is relative to the poverty line:
Reimbursements given will be reflective of the economic needs of the mother in question, starting with women whose family income is 300% of the established poverty line receiving 10% reimbursement, with reimbursements increasing by 10% for every 20% decrease in the income relative to the poverty line. As such, a family income of 280% of the poverty line would receive 20% reimbursement continuing to the point where a family income at the poverty line or below would receive 100% reimbursement.
The provision is geared toward legislation at the federal level, but in the spirit of subsidiarity, the act can be amended to allow state legislatures to include factors such as local cost of living, tax rates, and other local and state-level concerns. The main goal of the provision, however, is to signify and support the importance of every human being in our nation, whether born or unborn, both parent and child.
“Leading the fight against abortion will require legislation designed to combat both the legal supply and the popular demand for abortion.”
The act also provides for additional and continued support for parents and caregivers of children with disabilities as recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act:
All children with disabilities shall be reimbursed for costs rising above average cost for raising a child without a disability, relative to their economic situation. Any care-giver earning the average income of an individual or family raising children without disabilities in the United States shall receive reimbursements for 100% of costs rising above the average cost of raising a child without a disability. Individuals or families earning more than the average income for an individual or family raising a child without a disability will receive 10% less in reimbursements for every 20% beyond the average income they earn. As such, those earning 120% of said average income will receive 90% reimbursement, continuing to the point where those earning 300% of said average income will receive no reimbursement.
Finally, the act would end the practice of abortion, while maintaining provisions for special cases:
Should a doctor make the unusual determination that the health of the mother necessitates termination, a board of no fewer than 3 obstetricians should be convened to determine the validity of the doctor’s claim. Further, in the instance that the fetus is no longer living while inside the mother due to natural causes, no termination would be necessary for removal and this law would not apply. Thus, this law does not place an undue burden on an individual seeking medical support or a doctor seeking to provide such support.
One of the questions often raised by opponents of anti-abortion legislation is how violators of the law will be punished. The concern typically falls upon what might happen to a woman procuring an abortion. Section 5 of the act deals with this issue directly:
The penalty for any individual in the medical field found to have terminated a pregnancy past the point of viability will be equal to that of voluntary manslaughter.
No penalty will be enacted for a pregnant individual engaged in the termination of a viable fetus. Furthermore, any individual found to have sought termination of a viable fetus will be referred to an approved pregnancy support organization, as well as an approved adoption facilitator.
The act in its entirety can be found here. I encourage all those reading to examine it fully and make comments. It is written not necessarily to be passed word for word, but to be used as a ‘jumping-off point’ for American Solidarity Party legislation. It is, I believe, something to run on that will set the party apart from the rest of the political landscape in a very concrete way.
Brendan Lyons is an author and the Associate Editor for the National Catholic Bioethics Center. Opinions expressed in this article are his own and may not reflect the opinions of his employer.