Why This Dad Is Using Father's Day To Defend Abortion Rights

Photo: Courtesy of Brad Avakian.
Avakian and his daughter Claire in a 2013 trip to Yosemite.
Editor's note: Brad Avakian is a candidate for Oregon secretary of state. The views expressed here are his own. This op-ed was provided by NARAL Pro-Choice America.

I am a father, a husband, a legislator — and I am a man for choice.

This Father’s Day, I am proud to fight alongside NARAL Pro-Choice America and the countless other allies of reproductive freedom. I am dedicated to supporting and protecting a woman’s right to make her own decisions about whether, when, and with whom to grow a family.

Like every dad, I want my children, Nathan and Claire, to have equal opportunities in life. Reproductive freedom is important to making this possible — and there is no reproductive freedom without access to safe and legal abortion. I trust my daughter to make the best decision for her future. If this ever means she decides to terminate a pregnancy, I want her to know that I am there for her. And I want the laws of our nation to protect her right to make this decision and get the medical care she needs.

I became a public servant because I want to make sure my children and their children live in a world where there is true gender equality. As Oregon’s labor commissioner, I’ve been tasked with enforcing nondiscrimination laws. This means I have a duty to speak out against laws that unfairly target and limit women.

I trust my daughter to make the best decision for her future. If this ever means she decides to terminate a pregnancy, I want her to know that I am there for her.

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As a result, I’ve dedicated myself to making sure women get equal pay for equal work, to taking action against sexual harassment and discrimination, and to protecting a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion.

As it stands, I and countless other men for choice across the nation have our work cut out for us: Thousands of politicians are working feverishly to dismantle reproductive rights and, as a result, to undermine the dignity and freedom of all American women. If they’re not trying to ban abortion outright, even in cases of rape, incest, or threat to a woman’s health, they are trying to find a way to make abortion so expensive, inconvenient, or inaccessible for women that it might as well be banned.

I will continue to fight against these politicians and be a champion of choice for the right of my daughter, my wife, and all other women to control their own destinies. No doctor should have to wear a bulletproof vest to work in fear that extremists might target her for providing abortion services. And no woman should have to travel 500 miles or be forced to wait in order to make her own medical decisions.

At the end of the day, women, not politicians, are the experts of their own lives. This means we must trust them to make their own decisions about their futures and — as fathers, and brothers, and husbands, and men for choice — do everything we can to support them along the way.

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