Robert F. Kennedy Jr. urges ‘massive subsidized day care’ plan to reduce abortion — By: Catholic News Agency

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. / Credit: Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Apr 23, 2024 / 11:45 am (CNA).

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is embracing a “massive subsidized day care initiative” to reduce abortions in the United States without restricting legal access to the procedure.

In a new webpage recently added to Kennedy campaign’s website, the candidate unveiled a policy platform the campaign is calling “More Choices, More Life.” 

The candidate’s plan is to redirect money that is currently used to support military aid to Ukraine and put it toward federal funding for day care to help families in poverty. Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to provide $61 billion to Ukraine, with the government having already provided more than $110 billion in aid since Russia invaded the country. 

The campaign promises that a Kennedy presidency would “safeguard women’s reproductive rights.”

Kennedy, who is the son of former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, first launched his presidential bid in the Democratic primary in April 2023. In October he switched his party registration and declared he would run as an independent.

“This policy will dramatically reduce abortion in this country, and it will do so by offering more choices for women and families, not less,” the webpage states.

“A lot of women, when they get pregnant, feel they can’t afford to have a baby,” the campaign says. “There isn’t a lot of support to raise a child in this society. You can’t call yourself pro-life if you are concerned only with life before birth. What about after birth? We have to make our society as welcoming as possible to children and to motherhood.”

Per the proposal, the federal government would fund 100% of day care costs for children who are under the age of 5 years old and living below the poverty line. For families living above the poverty line, their day care costs would be capped at 10% of the family’s income. 

Only single-location small businesses that provide day care services — or parents who stay home with their children — would be eligible for subsidies. The plan would not provide subsidies to corporate day care chains or hedge funds that own day care chains.

The campaign added that Kennedy supports strengthening adoption infrastructure and increasing the child tax credit. The website also noted that the candidate would fund organizations that support women in pregnancy and the months after birth. 

“There is a lot we can do to reduce abortions — by choice, not by force,” the campaign says. “As president, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will make it easier for women to choose life. He will give them more choices than they have today, we will see a lot fewer abortions and a lot more flourishing families.”

Kennedy has not made abortion a major part of his campaign. When asked about a proposal to prohibit abortion at the federal level in August of last year, the candidate initially said he would back a three-month restriction. However, his campaign later claimed that he misunderstood the question and “does not support legislation banning abortion.”

Kennedy later voiced support for in vitro fertilization (IVF), which often discards human embryos, destroying human lives in the process. His running mate, Nicole Shanahan, has said she does not support “anyone having control over my body” but that she “would not feel right terminating a viable life living inside of me.”

The Washington Post reported this week that the Kennedy campaign said the candidate opposes former President Donald Trump’s plan to leave abortion policy to the states and that Kennedy further opposed an Arizona Supreme Court ruling that allowed a near-total abortion ban from the 1860s to go into effect in the state. 

Kennedy “makes his position plain but does not dwell on the subject,” the campaign said, according to the Post.

The Post said that Kennedy’s new day care plan was posted shortly after the paper’s reporters contacted the staff about the candidate’s abortion policies. 

Although Kennedy has generally supported legal access to abortion, a pro-abortion group called Reproductive Freedom for All recently launched a television advertisement in Michigan and Wisconsin that accuses the independent candidate of not supporting abortion strongly enough. 

“Kennedy Jr. and Shanahan mean we’d be less safe from dangerous abortion bans and get more attacks on IVF,” the 30-second advertisement claims. “Kennedy Jr. and Shanahan would put your reproductive freedom at risk.”

Although Kennedy is polling in a distant third place behind Biden and Trump, he is polling better than any third-party candidate since Reform Party candidate Ross Perot in the 1990s. According to poll averages between Jan. 22 and April 2 from RealClearPolling, Kennedy is averaging just under 12% in a three-way race.

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