June 26, 2022
SMALL STEPS FOR PROVIDING HOLISTIC CARE FOR WOMEN
By Kristen Radaker Sheafer
We knew the decision overturning Roe v. Wade was coming. I have written and rewritten multiple statements since the draft was leaked but nothing ever seemed to feel sincere, so I held off on saying anything.
My primary desire is to remain true to who I am and what I believe while advocating for the well-being of others, whether or not I agree with them. I want to be fully honest and transparent with voters even if that means losing an election. When deciding to run for the U.S. House of Representatives, my main goal was to be a voice for the district, not an advocate for a political party or to force my personal beliefs on others.
Regarding the issue of reproductive rights, my firm belief is that women should be able to choose when and if they have children; that decision should never be made by the government or by anyone wielding power. My belief is also that it is in everyone’s best interest to reduce the number of abortions, a goal that is unlikely to be reached by outlawing the procedure or creating a patchwork of restrictions across the country. We should be working together to have the greatest impact to decrease abortions by working to holistically address the underlying issues. Poverty, abuse, and lack of access to health care are the main factors driving the decisions to end a pregnancy. In a country where we have the resources, creativity, and the drive for innovation, I refuse to accept that putting potentially harmful bans in place is the best solution to the issues of abortion and reproductive rights.
Therefore, I would vote to uphold the rights granted in Roe v. Wade to protect the right to an abortion prior to the viability of the fetus or at any time when necessary to protect the life and health of the mother.
Before I dive into my proposed solutions, I want to recognize and condemn that Republican state legislators in Missouri, the state in which I reside, tried to literally slip legislation into their bill that would make it illegal to abort an ectopic pregnancy. I want to make it abundantly clear, there is no world in which you can be pro-life and also make it illegal to obtain care for an ectopic pregnancy – the only outcomes for which are abortion or death.
So, in staying true to my campaign slogan “Small Steps for Real Change” let’s talk about some steps I will advocate for as your Congresswoman:
Affordable access to healthcare professionals and birth control, such as IUDs and emergency contraceptives for everyone, including in underserved rural areas.
Improving health outcomes and reducing maternal mortality rates.
Extend the expanded family tax credit that kept 3.7 million children out of poverty in July-December of 2021 and reached more than 61 million children in the U.S.
Comprehensive, age appropriate sex-education in schools
Access to affordable, quality mental healthcare and proven addiction treatment for all.
Guaranteed paid parental leave.
Affordable child care for all families.
Providing support and increasing resources for women seeking to leave abusive relationships and dangerous living arrangements.
Increasing penalties for rape and sexual assault while making reporting safer and easier for victims.
These steps are pragmatic solutions that have not only been proven to reduce abortions but also promote the flourishing of families and communities. My proposals may not be the sexy, fiery solutions some desire, but there are so many of us who are willing to put in the work it will most certainly take to achieve better outcomes for all of us.