Saturday, February 26, 2011

For the GOP, "pro-life" only applies to "pre-birth"

One thing I do admire about Roman Catholic teachings is the consistency on the matter of life. The Catholic doctrine is clear on that matter: life begins at conception, and only God can tamper with it or disrupt it until a natural death. Hence, the Vatican forbids abortion, birth control, all forms of reproductive technology, death with dignity (assisted suicide), and the death penalty. I know many Catholics who dedicate their lives to peace and justice on the basis of their faith. (Here I'm speaking of individual Catholics, not of the Vatican, which I believe ignores the plight of the poor in the world by refusing to endorse population control and the rights of women.) Sometimes they promote peace during times of war, but they have been less consistent on that front (such as in WWII or the Vietnam War). Generally, though, they are more consistent than the Republican party and right-wing conservative Christians.

These people believe that abortion is evil and must be prevented at all costs (even to the extent of saying that women who miscarry have not brought it upon themselves!)...and they defend this by saying they are "pro life." If they were really "pro life," wouldn't they support abortion to save the life of the mother? Or support policies that are pro-child and pro-family? Support health care for all children? Work for peace and against war? Fight against the death penalty? I've often laughed (sadly) at the hypocrisy of Republicans and right-wingers calling themselves "pro life."

Now Charles Blow has an excellent article in the New York Times titled "The G.O.P.'s Abandoned Babies." He tackles this hypocrisy, particularly calling out the threats to children and infant mortality posed by the House of Representatives' proposed budget and policies. He writes specifically about the plight of premature babies. Thanks to the March of Dimes, an organization that our family and friends have supported in the past 12 years by sponsoring us in the Walk for Babies, the rate of premature birth has finally been reversed after a steady climb. The International Monetary Fund lists the U.S. at the top of 33 countries for infant mortality in the world's most advanced economies.

As Blow writes, according to the March of Dimes, its success in preventing premature birth is at serious risk because of the Republicans' policies and spending cuts. I encourage you to read the article for details. He closes by commenting:
"It is savagely immoral and profoundly inconsistent to insist that women endure unwanted — and in some cases dangerous — pregnancies for the sake of 'unborn children,' then eliminate financing designed to prevent those children from being delivered prematurely, rendering them the most fragile and vulnerable of newborns. How is this humane?
And it doesn’t even make economic sense. A 2006 study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies estimated that premature births cost the country at least $26 billion a year. At that rate, reducing the number of premature births by just 10 percent would save thousands of babies and $2.6 billion — more than the proposed cuts to the programs listed, programs that also provide a wide variety of other services."
Amen! Because if you're going to be pro life, at least support all forms of life...not just unborn babies.

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