Does “pro-life” extend beyond the womb?

The word “pro-life” has come to define a movement of individuals who believe life begins at conception and that abortion should be neither condoned nor legal.

But what about life after birth? Does concern for a living, breathing individual end when that individual is no longer attached to his or her mother by an umbilical cord?

If we look at how we treat children post-delivery, one has to question whether or not our lawmakers and many who advocate for “pro-life” legislation consider life valuable beyond the womb.

Consider the Governor’s proposal to expand Medicaid. She made the statement that she has always been a “pro-life” governor and that expanding Medicaid is also pro-life. Kudos to Governor Brewer for making that connection, but sadly, those most opposed to the expansion are active members of the pro-life community.

Cathi Herrod, President of the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), a pro-life advocacy group, has been curiously absent from the debate at the Capitol. She wanted the Governor to include an amendment that would exempt Planned Parenthood from any Medicaid funding, a move the Governor already tried in previous legislation only to have it struck down by the courts. Federal law already prohibits Medicaid funding for abortion.

Still, Herrod is using abortion scare tactics to try and justify her unwillingness to back the Governor and give cover to other CAP legislators who have no desire to extend funding to the very babies and children and mothers they supposedly support.

And it isn’t just Medicaid expansion they oppose. How about basic child safety?

We’ve long known that CPS and Arizona’s Department of Economic Security, the state agency charged with protecting children and providing basic safety nets, is understaffed and woefully financed. So what have our pro-life legislators done to help this agency? They’ve made massive cuts in funding for programs that serve our most at-risk children.

Child care subsidies for the working poor are critical for families who need to work but also need a safe place for their children and babies. According to Michael Wisehart, Deputy Assistant Director at DES, approximately 50,000 Arizona children are in need of this service, yet the legislature has only appropriated enough funds for half that amount.

Not surprisingly, calls to CPS have skyrocketed in the last few years with the majority of calls related to neglect.

What do working parents do when they cannot afford safe, quality childcare? The answer is that they take risks and often place them in the care of friends or family who are neither qualified nor equipped to care for small children, or they leave them at home alone.

Surely Cathi Herrod, a woman who claims to care so deeply about children, would be knocking down legislators’ doors, demanding funds for at-risk kids and bringing attention to the needless deaths of children that could have been prevented if only CPS was properly funded.

One would think so, but one would be wrong.

Instead, Herrod is working to ensure transgender people are denied access to bathrooms because exposure to a transgender adult could harm a child, though probably not near as much as exposure to a drug-addicted caretaker who uses the child as a prostitute for drug money.

Pro-life activists also work to ensure that absolutely no funding is given to women to help prevent unwanted pregnancies. Though preventing unwanted pregnancies would go a long way in preventing abortion, these activists are intent on denying the relationship between the two. Better to demonize the woman seeking contraception as a slut than praise her for making a wise and responsible choice that will prevent a more difficult choice in the future.

Most of the lawmakers and activists who insist women abstain from sex and carry to term are the same individuals who turn around and condemn these women for making the “choice” to have a baby without having adequate financial or emotional support.

It’s a no-win situation for these women. They’re either murderers or government leaches.

If one really believes in the value of life, he/she would not turn a blind eye to the preventable and needless suffering of living, breathing children. As a former minister of mine used to say, “Budgets are moral documents. They appropriate money to those items we consider most important and most valuable in life.”

Arizona’s budget is a stark example of the lack of consideration for our most vulnerable kids. It is not a “pro-life” budget, unless one believes life ends at birth.


  1. Mike Slater

    Julie, have you ever heard of personal responsibility and self reliance? When my wife and I decided to have children we looked at the cost of raising them and our finances to be able to support them. We never at any time thought that the government (i.e. taxpayers) should have to pay for them.

    Last year the State of Arizona paid for 53% of all births. Do you think that’s right for the taxpayers to foot those costs?

    As a taxpayer I resent paying for women’s birth control or abortions. Let them pay for it and if they can’t afford it then don’t get pregnant.

    1. Post
      Julie Erfle

      Your comment makes the point I was talking about… a woman is damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t. And the men? Not so much.

      And you have absolutely no consideration of the child, just your own personal pocketbook. No consideration of the words “common good,” and zero understanding of what it means when things happen beyond your control.

      Your argument assumes all of life can/will be great if you just plan correctly. And clearly, yours has worked out that way. But for many millions more, life has taken unexpected turns that were beyond their control and led to situations in which a hand up was needed. Standing in judgement of these individuals who you do not know and have no understanding of why or how they came to be in need is hypocritical at best.

  2. JC Higgins

    Word around the Capitol now is that the Gov is working on abortion language for her Medicaid expansion.
    She has given in to the tin foil hat wearing busybodies.

  3. Mike Slater

    Julie, outside of being raped a woman can decide to become pregnant or not. Do I have a responsibility when a woman has a child and can’t pay for it? the answer is no.

    1. Post
      Julie Erfle

      Do you also believe you (or the state) has no obligation to care for a child who is danger for his/her life? Do you believe you have no responsibility to care for a child if he/she is taken away from a parent? Whose responsibility is it? What do you think should happen to this child? Live on the streets? Die?

      Those are the questions our lawmakers are avoiding with the phrase you used, “personal responsibility.” Who becomes responsible when it’s a child’s life? And if our lawmakers refuse to adequately care for these children by allocating the necessary funds to keep them safe, whose responsibility is it when he/she dies?

  4. michele

    Hi Julie,

    I commend your insight. Mike Slater commented, “when my wife and I decide to have a family…” I’d like to know what options they chose to prevent pregnancy before they decided. Did they abstain from sex? Did they rely on their medical plan to reduce the cost of birth control? Did he worry when his wife was late, before they decided to have a family? There are so many factors under the best of circumstances, ones some people do not even consider. For instance multiple miscarriage that take a toll on a woman’s psyche, physical,and emotional healing between pregnancies, and your doctor telling you to wait months before trying to conceive again. Life is complicated under the best of times, believe me I know. The adage, walk a mile in my shoes, goes a long way.

  5. Mike Slater

    Michele, my wife was on birth control which we paid for. When we married it was the second marriage for both of us. She had two girls from her first marriage and I had a girl that lived with her mom.

    We were both 29 when we married and decided to have one child of our own. We planned it out and had boy.

    Julie, you have the typical liberal mindset that more money to government will solve every problem.

    1. Post
      Julie Erfle

      I don’t think more money solves the problem, but I do believe we have a responsibility, as a society, to care for those (especially kids) in danger. I posed several questions along these lines to you… you have not answered any of them. Can I assume you disagree? Assume you think these kids are “someone else’s” responsibility?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *