Haley Has the Right Idea

By Kathryn Jean Lopez Published on September 5, 2023

Politics is the absolute worst lens through which to look at abortion. And yet, when we talk about abortion, it’s almost always about the political aspects of it. This is necessary because we must debate law and policy. But how can we make the discussion more compassionate? Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley led the way during the first Republican primary debate.

“Let’s find consensus,” she urged. “Can’t we all agree that we should ban late-term abortions? Can’t we all agree that we should encourage adoptions?” She added: “Can’t we all agree that doctors and nurses who don’t believe in abortion shouldn’t have to perform them?”

Finding a Way to Meet the Needs of Women

She was trying to find a meeting place for Americans about this divisive issue. It may not be possible in the context of a presidential election, but it needs to happen. The U.S. Catholic Bishops have an initiative called Walking With Moms in Need, which is a rallying cry to parishes around the country to meet the needs of women. Imagine if women could knock on the door of every church, synagogue or mosque in the United States and know that they would be loved, cared for and given the resources they need. Pregnancy-care centers do this kind of work. My friends at the Sisters of Life do this. But a scared pregnant woman has to know where to find these resources. We need to make it so much easier.

The Adoption Option

And, yes, there is also the adoption option. It was mentioned twice in passing during the debate. Adoption has become politicized, too, unfortunately.

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Adoption advocates have advice for how we talk about adoption. Don’t say a mother is “giving her child up,” but “choosing an adoption plan.” It’s another kind of parenthood, in fact, some will say. If you know you are not prepared to be a parent, what a gift to give to someone who is. There are more couples in the United States who would like to be parents than there are children available for them.

Children Deserve a Chance in Life

One of the most encouraging things involving the issue of abortion is that polls have consistently found that people don’t want abortion. They want women in difficult situations to know they have choices. Until this summer, Pennsylvania was a model of doing just that. The state’s Real Alternatives program made sure that not only Planned Parenthood had funding, but also pregnancy-care centers. The current (Democratic) governor has decided to kill the funding for mothers who don’t want to choose abortion due to a Supreme Court ruling he disagrees with.

Politics is politics, but it impacts people’s lives. That Real Alternatives program in the Keystone State was established by a Democrat β€” the late Robert Casey. But that was a long time ago.

Haley has the right idea.

It’s not really a federal issue, but candidates for president should talk about foster care and start a national conversation about what more we can do for children in need of homes. They should also make clear that people who oppose abortion care for children throughout their lives. Whatever your position on abortion, don’t you want children to have a chance in life? Children who age out of foster care tend to wind up homeless or in jail β€” and sometimes go to prison on purpose, to have somewhere to sleep, shower and eat.

The next time you find yourself arguing with a friend or family member about abortion, consider what the two of you can do to actually help women, children and families in need. It’s not easy to raise a family in America today. You don’t have to support Haley for president to appreciate she is on to something that we need to discuss.


Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review magazine and author of the new book A Year With the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living. She is also chair of Cardinal Dolan’s pro-life commission in New York, and is on the board of the University of Mary. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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