Here is where I get totally irritated with the “right to life” movement.
The Republicans are working hard to make it harder for women to get abortions, doing things like trying to cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood and making abortion clinics have to comply to hospital standards in order to be allowed to exist.
Simultaneously, though, in the name of a balanced budget, Republicans are also calling for the Department of Education to be abolished. If that were to happen, the most needy children would be the most adversely affected. No Department of Education means fewer Pell Grants for disadvantaged youth, making it nearly impossible for many to most of them to go to college, and it also means slashing of funds used to fund programs such as “Headstart.”
I do not hear the beating of indignant hoofs of those who claim to be in support of “life” when it comes to the children who will be so disproportionately affected if the cuts the Republicans want are implemented.
Shouldn’t I, though? I mean, if one is a supporter of “life,” shouldn’t that support be for more than an unborn fetus?
Don’t twist what I am saying, please. I do not like abortion; I think that there is so much contraception available that there should be fewer and fewer unwanted pregnancies. I think that the women’s health clinics that might lose federal funding have done much to teach young women about sex in general, safe sex in particular, and about the importance of contraception in avoiding unwanted pregnancies.
But that being said, I shudder at the seemingly very narrow definition of “life” that anti abortion supporters seem to have. They seem not only not to care about children once they are born, many to heinous situations, but they also seem to blame them for their plights – AND seem more than willing to support large sums of money to be used to build prisons for them.
Marian Wright Edelman, head of the Children’s Defense Fund, calls that the “cradle to prison” syndrome. Living a life of quiet desperation, a child of a parent or parents who do not want you, who pay no attention to you, who take no time with you …is not life. It is mere existence.
I daresay that many young people who are headed to prison are headed there because of a prevalence of advanced “failure to thrive” syndrome. I think they received just enough human interaction when they were infants, but as they have grown, they have been neglected and nearly completely abandoned, having to raise themselves.
That is not life. It is mere existence.
The right to life movement will not hold water for me unless and until it shows a willingness to look at life more broadly. It will not have any credibility to me as long as its adherents seem to want more for an unborn fetus than for a baby who actually makes it out of the womb.
Mere existence is not life. It is a state of desperation and despair, and can only cause a society to erode.
That is a candid observation.