America's abortion war: a silver lining
Republicans and Democrats working together…thanks to Roe v. Wade being overturned? No, it’s not a joke. But can this cooperation last?
It’d be tough to find an issue that stirs up more raw emotion or stronger opinions than abortion. So it’s come as a surprise that the overturning of Roe v. Wade is actually leading to more bipartisanship among state and federal lawmakers, all for the purpose of helping new mothers, especially low-income single moms. It’s a goal Democrats have been working toward for decades.
A state lawmaker spearheading one of these bipartisan-friendly bills, Wendy Hausman (R-MO Dist. 65) joined MOMlitics to discuss this unexpected silver lining to America’s deep division on abortion.
Before taking into account the higher number of babies expected to be born due to abortion restrictions, lack of childcare is already one of the main factors keeping people out of the workforce – particularly single moms.
Missouri Chamber of Commerce President Dan Mehan explains, “This is an urgent issue, and we are grateful that state lawmakers are focused on working with the business community to find a solution. It’s time for Missouri to become a national leader in addressing this crisis.”
Hausman adds, “If we can cut some taxes for these childcare facilities, maybe they would be more willing to lower their rates and give more options to mothers.”
She says her bill will make an impact without hurting taxpayers – and that it’s already receiving bipartisan support:
“I have talked to some Democrats; they’re on board with it and think it's a good idea. They said it's not enough – but it's a start. We’ve got to take the little steps because you can't expect to just do one big large thing that's going to fix it all. I think those baby steps are how we get there.”
This property tax exemption bill isn’t the only bipartisan-friendly measure going through state and federal legislatures to help new mothers.
In Missouri, Hausman is also co-sponsoring a bill that would make diapers and feminine hygiene products sales tax free. Hausman, who is herself a mother of five, explains, “I know, as having lots of children, diapers are one of the top expenses. I think if we can eliminate [this sales tax to] help out the new mom, the new dad, it could have a huge impact.”
Also in Missouri, lawmakers are looking to extend Medicaid coverage to low-income mothers from 60 days after giving birth to one year postpartum. Twenty-eight states have already enacted similar legislation.
And on the federal level, lawmakers are discussing extending the federal child tax credit to pregnant mothers – including those who suffer a miscarriage or deliver a stillborn baby.
It’s no secret that Democrats are constantly attempting to pass laws to help vulnerable new moms. But their conservative counterparts have often blocked these efforts, inherently disagreeing on how to fund this assistance.
So why are Republicans now inspired to join the cause?
For pro-life advocate Sam Lee, President of Campaign Life Missouri, increasing support for pregnant and new moms could help lessen the appeal of crossing state lines to get an abortion. He explains, “There’s a greater awareness among pro-lifers that just changing the laws in your state doesn’t mean abortion ends,” Lee said.
Helping the economy is another major factor. Hausman explains, “When it affects your pocketbook, I think that opens a lot of people's eyes. When I talked to business owners, it was all about, ‘We can't find workers’. So when you can't find workers, you have to find a solution. Well, what's the problem? They don't have childcare. So okay, how can we help that?”
She continues, “I think whenever you close the abortion issue, and just think, okay, how does [helping childcare facilities] affect everyone as a whole, then maybe the other side doesn't look down upon it and say, ‘Oh, you're trying to suppress women’, and see that this is going to be good for the people. And I think that is the main goal.”
Still, for many Democrats, ‘closing the abortion issue’ isn’t that easy. Many pro-choice advocates have become even more committed to fighting back against what they see as America going down a dark and dangerous path, all too reminiscent of the dystopian series The Handmaid’s Tale.
Despite the abortion battle raging on, Hausman hopes lawmakers can continue to set aside their differences in the spirit of helping America’s most vulnerable citizens. She says, “I feel like sometimes the world is just trying to separate us. And I think whenever we say, hey, let's try to solve a problem together, it just makes everything a little bit different.”
Watch the full interview with Missouri Rep. Hausman here:
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