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.