When the third edition and the final eighth printing of my book, “The Complete Single Mother” came out in 2005, I thought I had achieved what I set out to do: Help the country’s 15 million single moms by choice or chance face single motherhood with wisdom, wit, dignity, confidence and courage! Contrary to what was said when I first started the National Organization of Single Mothers back when Vice President Dan Quayle remarked that being a single mom mocked fatherhood and caused horrific social problems, the many experts who came on board — lawyers, social scientists, children’s health professionals, researchers, professors of women’s studies and this single mother — loudly disagreed. We showed that single motherhood was a growing family unit and published facts debunking myths spread by conservative politicians
Fast forward 30 years to the recently renewed war on women which has resulted in a new category in many states: motherhood by force!
I never thought Roe v Wade would be overturned, and “The Handmaid’s Tale” would be less fiction when one SCOTUS justice said it is good to increase “our domestic supply of infants.” Worse, it’s terrifying to know the violence those seeking reproductive freedom could face!
I spoke with Keshia Sandidge, candidate for NC Senate 34 and currently serving on the Cabarrus County School Board about her views on women’s rights, especially after learning a member of the North Carolina General Assembly has submitted a bill to criminalize abortion in our state.
Here are her answers to my questions.
AE: First, why are you running for Senate 34 and what makes you qualified?
KS: As a licensed clinical social worker, my oath requires me to protect and defend ALL life, which includes the born and unborn, and is not unlike the pledge any elected civil servant should make to their constituency:
“My pledge and views are shaped by core and professional values. Accordingly, I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity and to social justice; I will practice my profession responsibly with conscience, integrity, and dignity which are consistent with its values, ethical principles, and ethical standards; The welfare of my client will be my first consideration; I will respect the secrets which are confided to me, even after my professional relationship with my client has ended; I will maintain by all means in my power, the honor and the traditions of the social work profession; My colleagues are my brothers and sisters; I will not permit considerations of gender, age, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual affiliation, physical ability, mental ability, political philosophy, or socio-economic standing to intervene between my duty and my client; I will be sensitive to cultural and to ethnic diversity and strive to end discrimination, oppression, poverty, and other forms of social injustices; I will maintain the utmost respect for the inherent dignity and worth of every human being even under threat to myself; I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honor.”
AE: You’ve said you are pro-life but you advocate for women’s reproductive rights. What does pro-life mean to you?
KS: Being a pro-life advocate means defending the integrity of ALL lives; this means protecting life against poverty, abuse, injustice, and socio-economic factors, which unfairly disadvantages the ability to provide for the general care and well-being of personhood. Pro-life, to me, also means to protect children from harm when at school.
AE: What about those who argue that God is against choosing abortion?
KS: In faith, a woman’s right to choose is grounded in the ministry of Christ. The theology of forgiveness is between the individual, medical provider, and their faith. Although I am obligated by faith and profession to preserve life, I’m keenly aware that not everyone shares my faith and/or values. I fully believe a woman’s right to choose is firmly grounded in her inalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
AE: Yet, your opponent also claims to be guided by his Christian faith and says he is pro-life.a
KS: He is pro-life in that he is pro-birth or anti-choice according to his website and but he doesn’t discuss these views with the public. He is endorsed by the NRA, and although I support our Second Amendment, gun safety laws are also part of my being pro-life!
I will always be transparent with the people.
AE: What can you say to Cabarrus County, especially women, when they ask why vote for you?
KS: I will ALWAYS protect and defend women’s rights
My position will always be to protect, provide and defend survivability. When a woman’s health is at risk, she should have all resources to make an informed decision about her health and the well-being of her child. Once her decision is made, we as a society MUST ensure the viability and survivability of the mother and her child.
I believe in limited government involvement in a woman’s right to choose. I believe government has a limited role in providing for the health, well-being and care for the mother and child after delivery.
Andrea Engber is author of “The Complete Single Mother” (Simon & Schuster) and a former syndicated columnist.