“Value Them Both” is a Lie. Here’s why.

“Value Them Both” is a lie.

The “Value Them Both” amendment, to be decided on August 2, removes abortion from the protection of the Kansas state constitution, giving the Kansas state legislature total control over passing laws restricting – or outright banning – abortions. It’s not about valuing women or babies – it’s only about controlling women and taking away their rights and choices.

“Value Them Both” is a lie because it does not value the lives of either the women who will be at the center of this debate, or the children who will result from it.

If this amendment truly valued women and children, it would mandate that the legislature fully fund our schools, and foster care; require them to pass laws ensuring abuse prevention and intervention; and invest in Head Start-type programs, and more food and rental assistance. But it doesn’t, because that’s not what this amendment is about. It’s about forcing women to give birth, and forcing those children and women to live precarious lives.

Women make up nearly half of the workforce – half of the economy – in the United States. But they aren’t equal, as you can see from these statistics:   

  • Between 60% – 75% of single-parent households are headed by a woman.
  • Of those, about 37% live in poverty (defined as $27,750 per year for a family of 4), as opposed to about 5% of two-parent households.
  • On the average, women still earn about 79 cents for every dollar a man makes.
  • And more than 60% of single-mother households are on food assistance.

In short:  single mothers are much more likely to live in poverty than single fathers or two-parent households. They generally cannot afford college. They may have to choose between working and paying for child care, or not working because they can’t afford child care. Those not employed, or employed in low-paying jobs, pay less in taxes and contribute less to the economy – and are more likely to need public assistance. They have to choose every day, every week, what bills to pay, what groceries they can afford, whether to put gas in their car or buy medicine for their child.

Poverty is a cycle. Once in it, it’s nearly impossible in our society to break out of it. Poverty rates among single mothers are even higher for women of color. And poverty often goes hand in hand with domestic violence – for both women and children.

Women need the ability to break the poverty cycle. They need the ability to escape abusive marriages or relationships. And sometimes, sadly, that way may require an abortion. It’s not for us to judge. We have no right to allow our state legislature to pass laws that will strip women of that safety.

If the “Value Them Both” amendment really did value women and children, it would force legislators to address these issues as well. To provide funding for intervention, expanded food programs. But it doesn’t, because again – “Value Them Both” is a lie.