BY SHARON MARTIN
In the richest country in the world, a family should have a roof over its head, food on the table, and access to education and healthcare. Safety, justice, and sound economic policies are family values, not those button-pushing issues with which politicians distract voters as they line their own pockets.
Take the matter of Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood clinics offer essential services, especially to people without access to preventive care. The clinics offer education and contraception, the two main drivers in reducing both unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
In red states, GOP majorities have been shutting down Planned Parenthood clinics, making it more difficult for low-income women to get IUDs and contraceptive implants. Meanwhile, in blue New Jersey, the number of clinics has risen and the number of women getting abortions has fallen.
So, if not to reduce abortions, what’s the real reason Republicans want to shut down Planned Parenthood?
For what purpose do they erase the gains made by the Affordable Care Act? Who benefits if a state doesn’t expand Medicaid? It certainly isn’t the poor and uninsured. Who gains if the Children’s Healthcare Insurance Program isn’t funded? It isn’t low-income families.
Universal healthcare is a family value.
Education is a family value.
More than half the marriages among those without a high school diploma end in divorce. The divorce rate drops to about 30% if couples have college degrees.
Educated people are more likely to raise children in two-parent households.
Educated people live longer, healthier lives.
The GOP tax scam that taxes tuition wavers as income will close doors on education to all but the wealthy. Expanding education opportunities, whether it is graduate school or trade school, is a family values issue.
Believe it or not, people with good incomes have fewer abortions. Since Roe v. Wade, the percentage of white, middle class women seeking abortions has dropped. But with stagnate wages and a shrinking middle class, abortions have risen among the poor, including poor people of color.
Raising wages so families can afford to raise children is a family value.
One of the biggest cons that Republicans have pulled on voters is that you can’t be a Christian and vote Democrat.
If your legislator claims to be a Christian, tell them you want actions and not just words. “By their deeds you shall know them.” If he or she votes against programs that support families, let them know they won’t get your vote.
The Democrats are the real party of family values. It’s time they hone their message and make this clear.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer