The Stand By Her Pledge
Our Shared Commitment for the New Decade
We who sign this pledge affirm that being human is what makes you worthy. We measure our society not by how we treat the powerful, the privileged, and the productive, but by how we treat the disadvantaged, the inconvenient, and the voiceless. To this end, science and philosophy compel us to attest that abortion is violence against a living, distinct, and whole human being.
Achieving justice on this issue must involve protecting preborn human life, and yet, justice requires so much more than that. Abortion is fundamentally a failure of community. In her moment of greatest need for empowering human relationship and institutional support, there is a void of connection. Every year in the U.S., over 400,000 women choose abortion because they don’t have the support of their partners, parents, friends, schools, employers, or medical professionals.
We are a movement of friends, partners, parents, siblings, classmates, teachers, teammates, coaches, school administrators, coworkers, employers, medical professionals, churches, and elected officials committed to filling this void. Some of us have faced unplanned pregnancy. Some of us have personally experienced abortion. Each of us joins this movement because of someone we love. As a movement, we are not bound to any party, status, color, or creed. We are bound only to her and her child.
Together, we envision a world where every life is valued and no one faces unplanned pregnancy alone. To that end, we dedicate ourselves to the following critical milestones on the pathway to real, empowering community:
1. Unplanned Pregnancy
We will work to transform the social and cultural response to unplanned pregnancy in America into one defined by relational support, honest information, and hope for the future. In too many of our communities, the experience of unplanned pregnancy is marked by shame and fatalism. No matter her circumstances, she is defined by a single act and presumed to be immature, unwise, or careless. But she is more than this singular challenge, and we dedicate ourselves to shouting her humanity, resilience, and worth in the world. We will be friends who listen first with compassion and make it clear we’re ready to walk alongside her every step of the way. We will be parents who make it known to our daughters (and to our sons) that unplanned pregnancy is something we’re willing to face together. We will amplify the voices of courageous mothers who have overcome unfair judgment and societal pressure to go get bright futures that no one else could see—until those futures are attainable for everyone.
2. Workplaces & Corporate Culture
We will work to transform corporate culture in America, so that no woman has to choose between her job and her child. Only 17% of U.S. women working private sector jobs have access to paid maternity leave. We will equip employers to implement pro-mom corporate cultures and workplace policies, including paid maternity leave, flextime scheduling, childcare, telecommuting, and breastfeeding accommodations. We will lift up examples of businesses and corporations who view motherhood as an asset rather than an inconvenience, and whose bottom lines are already benefiting from inviting working mothers to bring their whole selves to work. We will defend the rights of working mothers who are fired or passed over for well-deserved promotions because of pregnancy. And we will tell the stories of working mothers who are realizing their career goals while raising their children—a pursuit that requires constant discernment and sacrifice and which merits our wholehearted admiration.
Veronika Didusenko is known around the globe as a model and as an advocate for women’s rights. But her impact on the world is not limited to those roles. She is also the 22-year-old mother of a five-year-old son, the real reason behind her hard work. We had the...
We will dedicate ourselves to transforming universities and high schools into beacons of support for students who face the unexpected. To this end, we are committed to building a movement of classmates, professors, school administrators, and academic advisors who shut down gossip and help pregnant students graduate and go get the bright futures that await them. We will work to create pregnancy-positive campuses, and we will work to expand awareness of both Title IX protections for pregnant students and the tangible support available to them. Along the way, we will amplify the voices of mom graduates whose children have motivated them to achieve their dreams, until motherhood and academic achievement become so familiar with each other that no one doubts they’re meant to be.
Katie Forbes is an accomplished senior at Arizona State University. She’s a skilled communicator and passionate learner, who dreams of a career in HR management. But at only 20 years old, she found out she was pregnant. With her world turned upside down, she was...
As a movement, we will work hard to make adoption placement an option for more women across the nation. Fewer than 2% of unexpected pregnancies result in an adoption placement, due to widespread mischaracterizations. As a movement, we will celebrate the motherhood of women who bravely place their child for adoption, while working to change the prevalent, negative stereotypes surrounding adoption placement. We recognize that every adoption comes from brokenness, and we commit ourselves to walking alongside her in this journey too. We will call out morally corrupt agencies that treat adoption as a transaction and connect her with an agency that will wholeheartedly seek her best interest. We will amplify the voices of members of the adoption triad (birth moms, adoptees, and adoptive families) whose beautifully intertwined relationships testify that the most broken situations can be redeemed.
Adoption can be challenging to talk about, even for the most seasoned advocate. In this Live AMA with birth mom Ashley Mitchell, we dig deep into adoption and discuss what empowering support looks like for birth moms. Ashley placed her son for adoption when she was...
5. Prenatal Disability Diagnosis
We will work to ensure that parents who receive a prenatal disability diagnosis get honest information delivered in a supportive and humane way. Due to discriminatory diagnoses and outdated stereotypes, 67% of U.S. pregnancies prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome end in abortion. The statistics are equally concerning for prenatally diagnosed conditions like spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell, dwarfism, and cleft palate. Medical professionals across the globe are conditioned to deliver a diagnosis to parents in a manner that is marked by negativity and pressure to abort. As a movement committed to human dignity, we will challenge and equip medical professionals to deliver a diagnosis in a way that uplifts and empowers parents to embrace this unexpected journey. We will transform the culture by amplifying the voices of medical professionals, parents, and extraordinary humans who are calling upon the world to make some room. We strive toward a world of inclusion, where humans born with disabilities are afforded goodwill and equal opportunity to flourish in their communities.
Trista Kutcher is a busy woman. At 29 years old, she has already successfully worked six different jobs. At one point she was working three jobs at once, simply because, as she says, “I love to work. I just love it so much” — until her mother encouraged her to reduce...
We will work to challenge young men to stand by her. Since the legalization of abortion in America, the rate of fatherlessness in our nation has doubled. Today, the number of people exhorting young men in their communities to stand by her is woefully inadequate. We need young men who speak well of and embrace fatherhood, even when that means choosing to give something to someone else that they’ve never received themselves. As a movement, we will work to equip them to rise to the challenge and amplify their voices as they courageously meet the mountain of fatherhood.
Country singer and songwriter Rory Feek knows what it is like to encounter the unexpected. In 2014, Rory and his wife, Joey — known more popularly by their musical pseudonym Joey + Rory — stepped away from the country music world to prepare for the birth of their...
In these efforts, we will join thousands of advocates to create a world where every life is valued and where no one faces unplanned pregnancy alone. To our movement, we welcome all who fight for justice, we welcome all committed to mercy, and we welcome all who have walked the journey of unplanned pregnancy themselves.
Together, we will stand by her on our campuses, in our workplaces, in our faith communities, and in our homes. We will stand by her, not only for the next 9 months, but for the next 90 years. We commit ourselves wholeheartedly to these ends—no matter the cost to us personally—so that one day, there will be communities across our nation where the most important decisions in life are made out of love and not fear.