As a woman. As a Catholic. As an American.

Being a woman, a Catholic, and an American can be a little difficult when it comes to the issue of abortion.  In many ways, abortion has been co-opted by both The Right and The Left in a way that has unfortunately caused many women and families to pay the price.

When Speaker Boehner resigned, ahead of an impending Republican Government Shutdown, the issue of government support for women’s healthcare once again surfaced as an issue confronting this nation. Planned Parenthood is an organization that is a lifeline for many women and men in this country. Its health services and cancer screenings have and will continue to save the lives of many of our fellow Americans. What a shame it is that there are elected officials in this country who would put their countrywomen at risk to advance some political Agenda.

While the issue of abortion is frequently met with passion and fervor, rarely do politicians have as much personal connection as I do.  I have held the hands of some of my dearest friends as they faced it: finding out they're pregnant, wondering what they should do, making the choice, and living through the decision. These moments have affected me greatly, and I take to heart the pain and anxiety around all of it. It is because of these moments that I know how critical it is to keep the right to choice available to women in this country.

Nobody likes to talk about abortion, because nobody likes what it means; however, I believe that the solution is to work to reduce unintended pregnancy in the first place. Only by reducing the numbers of women who become pregnant without intention can we reduce the number of abortions in this great country.  Planned Parenthood has been on the front lines of reproductive education and contraceptive distribution for exactly that reason for decades.  Furthermore, because people are human, they will make different life choices. It is critical to keep abortion safe and legal, or the consequences for all involved could only get much much worse.

Honestly, all of this is a very private and intimate matter, and I don't think it's appropriate to discuss as part of a "platform." But as a woman and a Catholic, I must address it. Even if I run the risk of losing support, I believe that leadership involves honesty and appreciation for really tough issues.  I respect why most Catholics are anti-Abortion, but I understand why many Catholics continue to support an individual's Right to Choose. 

I urge you to stand with me for safety and autonomy. To stand with me to maintain the rights of individual people and families. I urge you to stand with me for discretion and mercy. And, I urge you to stand with me for Planned Parenthood.