Only a few years after Former President George W. Bush tried to give states the right to take control of abortion issues, Congress is once again dealing with the sticky subject. This time, they could decide to keep it at the federal level which will have a national effect.
The Freedom of Choice Act would overturn state laws prohibiting or inhibiting abortion.
Pro-life and pro-choice activists have rallied, but most of the support and arguments are taking place online, as is the case with Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood of Central Texas CEO, Pam Smallwood, said, “Of course we’re supportive of the act because we do believe it does protect the right of a woman making her own decisions … about how she proceeds with her pregnancy, and we believe strongly that that’s a decision between a woman and her doctor.”
She said that if people would take the decision to be a parent more seriously, there would be fewer problems in the world.
Whether the public is in support of this bill is a matter of opinion.
Smallwood said, “Clearly the majority of the country believes as we do, that these are decisions that don’t need to be made by the legislature …. These are not political decisions; these are personal decisions.”
Some conservative organizations disagree, not only with the issue of the act, but also with the claim that women are fine physically and emotionally after an abortion.
“What we’re finding at our centers is the total opposite of what they’re claiming,” said Hope Pregnancy Centers Inc. Executive Director Karen Wistrand. “We see a lot of women who have had abortions who have had so many difficulties after their abortions.”
These issues include miscarriages, trouble becoming pregnant and the future guilt.
“Our desire is … to tell the truth about prenatal development and the life of the baby while it’s in the womb,” Wistrand said. “We also want to offer them spiritual encouragement … and a nonjudgmental environment.”
Hope Pregnancy Centers Inc. say they do not take political stands. They have limited resources, offering counseling and testing.
Wistrand said, “If (FOCA) passes, we’re going to need more help here.”
Last year, Hope Pregnancy Center Inc. in Killeen had 88 women change their minds against abortions, 1,003 women participate in parenting classes and 112 women become Christians.
Wistrand said most of the staff are volunteer counselors. They have talked with women of all ages. Some of their visitors had abortions 20 years ago, but are still facing grief.
“They can’t find healing because they’re pushing down the grief, but it does eventually come up,” Wistrand said. “The Lord came to heal all of us …. He wants all of us to find healing.”
She said it is important for “everyone to be aware and not be apathetic” about FOCA. She also said nobody should be afraid, but should find strength in the Lord and His leading. She referenced II Timothy 1:7.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Political science and history department Chair, Dr. David Chrisman, said that the stimulus plan is taking the lime light, leaving FOCA to sit on the backburner.
“For the pro-life person, it’s the key point. For the pro-choice person, I think it’s the beginning point,” Chrisman said.
He believes it was not a simple topic to discuss because of all the matters it involves.
Chrisman said, “You have health issues, women’s issues that have always played out over history.”
He said that women’s rights, including their choice for abortion, was a turning point in history, but that there was also a flip side.
“When abortion was not protected, it was a serious health issue,” Chrisman said.
2HEARTBEATS will rally Feb. 24 in Austin as part of the Pro-Life Lobby Day.
Several pregnancy centers are meeting at the capitol along with ultrasound technicians to voice their opinion against FOCA and a few other bills.