After the Roe v. Wade decision, the White House and Democratic politicians are trying to close pregnancy centers that care for mothers of lesser means and attempting to force states to make abortion legal via executive action.
The left fights to win. So should we. Right now, the states — and later the federal government under a Republican White House — can fight back by launching a platform of pro-family, pro-children, and anti-abortion policies for post-Roe America.
The goal is threefold: Gain and consolidate nationalist right political power. Do this by appealing to broad groups of Americans, including working-class white, black, and Hispanic Americans, by actually making their lives better. Finally, make abortion so obsolete in corners of the country influenced by Republicans that a national ban is achievable via congressional action within the next decade.
Go After Abortionists, Not Women
Many women feel immense economic pressure to have an abortion. In addition, a large number of abortions are encouraged and paid for by the man involved, and a large portion of post-abortive mothers say they would have kept the child but for the man involved saying he did not want it. Indeed, poll after poll shows men are more supportive of abortion than women.
Yes, post-abortive women are not absolved morally, but many are hurting and damaged by the decision (studies showing this have been deep-sixed by the establishment, in place of crackpot studies attempting to show the opposite, but are nonetheless irrefutable). So go after abortionists vehemently and companies that supply the abortion industry, but not abortive mothers. This includes tort laws that allow asset seizures.
Lower the Cost of Birth
After Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (which ended Roe), huge corporations from Dick’s Sporting Goods to Disney have said they will pay for their workers to have out-of-state abortions if they live in states where abortion is illegal — they believe women without young children are more profitable. First, require companies with greater than 1,000 employees to make accommodations for pregnant or new mothers, including the ability to work from home if possible. Then, enhance the right of action for pregnant mothers and new mothers to sue employers for discrimination against their motherhood.
Next, create two new programs via a flat tariff and a minimum corporate tax targeting multinationals such as Nike and large tech companies that pay well below the statutory corporate tax rate and far below American small business rates, yet they have billions in sales each year. The first would allow lower-income mothers to stay at home with their baby for one year at half pay and come back to the same job they had previously if their employer has more than 10,000 employees. The second would pay for or dramatically reduce the cost of childbirth for every American mother.
Right now, insurance covers abortion, and abortion only costs $500-$1,000 because it takes a skilled abortionist only several minutes to complete the procedure. But if an American family doesn’t receive Medicaid, childbirth costs anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 with insurance (depending on the family deductible). Instead, ban insurance from covering abortion and reduce the cost of childbirth.
Stop Discouraging Family Formation
America is plagued by bad policy choices made by our outdated ruling class. Young people who go to college are impacted by student debt, which delays family formation. Meanwhile, working-class young people face marriage penalties just when they are at the prime age to start a serious romantic relationship and a family. Both of these drive abortion demand. The solution is restoring marriage, especially among America’s working class, where it has all but disappeared.
For those with student loan debt, married couples with children should receive a tax deduction for reducing their debt balance. But more attention must be paid to the working class, as abortion is much more likely at the lower end of America’s income ladder.
The median income of our entry-level working class, non-college jobs leaves young people at the bottom end of incomes exposed to marriage penalties. Marriage penalties exist because, unlike the federal tax code, government benefit programs don’t account for two adult earners in a household having more earning power than a single adult. A single mother qualifies for a program — even if she has a live-in boyfriend who is unrelated to her children, statistically placing children in danger — but two biological parents living with their children and reporting that honestly to authorities do not qualify.
The marriage penalties easily reach $10,000 or more per year for a family of two adults and their baby, if each adult earns around $60,000 or less (depending on the state). The penalties trap people in multi-generational poverty and family instability, driving abortion demand. At the same time, the earning power of working-class men has been lackluster since the 1970s, increasing the disincentive toward working-class marriage — making working-class men less marriageable.
First, policymakers at the state level can change the eligibility threshold for married couples in individual programs. At the federal level, Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney’s Family Security Act (FSA) is worth considering. The FSA replaces the child tax credit with a monthly child allowance — $350 per month to families for a child under 6, and $250 per month for a child 6 and over, with the maximum monthly payment to a family capped at $1,250 per month. Conservatives reading this might be getting very uncomfortable, but just wait — the benefit phases out at high-income levels which account for marriage, at $200,000 for single filers and $400,000 for married filers. In a measure pro-life Americans should praise, payments would start within four months of a child’s due date.
To pay for the FSA plan, Romney would get rid of two welfare programs with very large marriage penalties: the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF), or income-based cash welfare, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for single parents. The FSA would also remove the “head of household” tax filing status, which is anti-marriage because it allows a single person to receive the tax treatment of a married couple. To cover the rest of the difference, the plan ends the daycare deduction, a giveaway to high-earners, and the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction, which is a tax giveaway to the blue-state rich.
Put simply, the Romney plan ends a bunch of bad programs with marriage penalties and steep bureaucracies to instead give marriage-neutral money directly based on tax returns (sidestepping the welfare bureaucracies) to American families with kids, allowing married mothers to stay at home with their children. Still, the plan should go further.
Instead of phasing out just the above-mentioned programs, expand the phase-out to most or all federal welfare programs — in particular food stamps, Section 8 housing, and the Childcare Assistance Program, all with large marriage penalties. In return, make Romney’s FSA slightly more generous, especially for disabled children (also, abortion exceptions for disabilities such as Down syndrome are a travesty in red states like Texas and must be done away with). Don’t index the program for inflation, and over time it will go away on its own without the mass dependency of our current welfare. Finally, reshoring manufacturing jobs is important to make working-class men more marriageable.
Push Affordable Homes
Gladden Pappin has a wonderful article where he outlines Hungary’s success in sparking marriage and childbirth by making it easier for new families to afford a home. While policy should never seek to incentivize greater use of debt (for homes or college), a few things are in order.
First, a voucher to use for assistance with a down payment, predicated on a family being married with children. Second, Washington must act immediately to ban the mass ownership of homes by investment firms like BlackRock. The most lenient approach would be to tax the corporate purchase of homes and use this to fund the family voucher program.
Help Mothers, and Make America Safe for Kids
Increase resources for mothers and aid organizations providing assistance, such as diapers and car seats. Adoption needs reform too. It costs up to tens of thousands per child. Instead, domestic adoption must be made easier financially.
Foster care also needs reform. America is in the midst of a foster crisis, because of the huge numbers of adults falling prey to fentanyl from China and super-meth coming from Mexico. If it takes closing the borders with these two countries to stop the problem, so be it. For foster children, more incentives must be provided for families to provide long-term care — too often, even very young children bounce from house to house, often in unsafe environments. With these better incentives must come greater scrutiny — a mandatory search of household electronics at a minimum.
In so many ways, from child drag queens to the indifference with which many states treat child predators, America has become an ugly and dangerous place for young children. We must also make the country safe for children after birth.
School choice must be enacted nationwide. Often, schools in areas with high abortion rates are dangerous and completely devoid of learning. Next, America must expand its penalties on child traffickers, those who abuse children, and those who download and traffic in child sex abuse imagery. The latter crime is largely decriminalized in some states. States must take action but so must the federal government, including creating much harsher penalties and a specific anti-trafficking agency and increasing funding to go after pedophiles online.
In history, nations became hostile to children before total collapse. In doing so we sow the seeds for a national death. But it’s not too late to turn back.