It’s not time for me to pick favorites in the presidential sweepstakes; watching Wednesday night’s debate showed me a plethora of candidates who continue to capture my interest.
Yet, one moment in the debate summed up the pregnancy help community’s mission. And no, it was not the discussion on defunding Planned Parenthood, although those minutes were captivating weren’t they?
It was refreshing to see several candidates weigh in on defunding the abortion giant; and many are ready to attack Republican leadership if they don’t take a stand on this issue in September. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), for instance, called on his fellow Republicans to take a stand. “Obama is committed to his principles,” he said. “We need to stop surrendering and start standing up for our principles."
Carly Fiorina stood out at this moment, as did other candidates. “This is about the character of our nation,” she said. “And if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.”
One who stood out for the wrong reasons was Donald Trump, who went after Jeb Bush (who defunded Planned Parenthood and began funding pregnancy help centers during his tenure as Florida's governor) but never said a word about Planned Parenthood. Weeks ago, Trump said he would defund the group, then within a week switched gears, saying he would continue to fund Planned Parenthood but “not the abortion part.” Analysts quickly pointed out that Trump’s current position is the status quo.
The discussion regarding Planned Parenthood was telling. But later it was Fiorina who reminded the pregnancy help community of a major difference between us and the abortion industry.
The question was a throwaway, giving candidates an opportunity to weigh in on which woman should be the new face on the $10 bill. Candidates gave a variety of answers, citing Rosa Parks, Mother Theresa, mothers and more.
But when the question landed in the hands of the lone woman on the stage, Fiorina took the spotlight. “I wouldn't change the $10 bill or the $20 bill,” she told viewers. “I think honestly it's a gesture. I don't think it helps to change our history.”
Tweet This: @CarlyFiorina believes women deserve respect. We agree. @KirkWalden
She wasn’t done. “What I would think is we ought to recognize that women are not a special interest group. Women are the majority of this nation. We are half the potential of this nation. And this nation will be better off when every woman has the opportunity to live the life she chooses."
Do we see what she did there? Fiorina is saying that while a woman’s picture on a piece of currency may be nice—and perhaps warranted—women want more than gestures. She believes it is respect women are looking for. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Not being a woman, and not planning to make any changes in that direction, I’m not privy to what women want, need or feel. Goodness knows I try, but I’m simply trying to learn every day.
That’s why Fiorina’s answer captured my attention, and gave me an “Aha!” moment as I look at our role as the pregnancy help community.
Let’s ask ourselves, “What do we do well?” There are a variety of answers, but one stands out: We respect the women who come in our doors.
Darned right we do. We are not here to sell them a product. We don’t peddle that product by blabbering about “my body, my choice.” That’s not respect, it is the cheapest form of pandering.
We listen. We take the time to hear the stories of those who need to talk, who need an ear more than a salesperson trying to steer them down the lonesome, painful road of abortion.
Tweet This: #Abortion plays women as pawns in a dreadful game. #DefundPP #DontFundPP
I’ve mentioned before in this space that I’m no marketing expert. But right now, the women who need us need to know that we respect them. We need to make absolutely, positively sure to highlight a major difference between us and those who seek to profit off of an abortion decision, and one of those key differences is respect.
The abortion industry plays women as pawns in a dreadful game that is all about profit, politics and power.
Somehow, we need to find ways to communicate to our potential clients and patients that at our organizations, we respect their right to be listened to, we respect their situations, we respect their struggles and we—yes we do—respect their decision-making ability.
In a 30-second answer to a $10 question, Carly Fiorina asked for proper respect without cheap pandering. We’re the places where women find just that. And we need to let them know.