Last week, the White House announced its new plan to reduce the perceived need for abortion — as part of the expanded White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
I’m pleased to see President Obama following through on this campaign promise. All the same, I couldn’t help being disappointed. The word “women” was used exactly once in the announcement. Three out of the fifteen named council members are women.
I had hoped that the abortion-reduction program would be under Health and Human Services, or possibly a revived White House Office of Women’s Initiatives and Outreach. Basing the program there would have shown that President Obama understands that the problems driving women to abortion are not just personal, but systemic. A woman-centric abortion reduction program also would have made partners of women’s advocates and abortion opponents — two groups who should have so many of the same goals, but often end up in opposite camps due to our toxic abortion politics.
I worry that this move is more about placating religious people who are distressed by abortion than it is about actually ending it. I also worry about abortion reduction being stereotyped as solely a religious concern — like that isn’t enough of a problem already.