What is Pro-life, Really?

By now the comments of Rep. Akins and the abortion plank in the GOP platform should be fairly common knowledge.  As inelegantly and stupidly Akins remarks were, his position on abortion and that of the GOP are the same – there are no exceptions to terminate a pregnancy.  It holds fast to its identity as the party which supports the sanctity of life.  It’s a cred for the GOP; contrary to the Democrats.

I thoroughly disagree with the absolute prohibition put forward by the GOP.  Aborting a fetus or bringing it to term is a very personal decision.  While Roe v. Wade implicitly engages the state in the decision at a certain point in the pregnancy, viability, the decision substantially rests upon the woman.  Ideally, her decision would factor in that of the man’s as well.

I could re-iterate the arguments about pro-choice, but that’s really not new.  Besides, stating them again will just add to the incendiary rhetoric that has already flown back and forth over this issue.

My puzzlement lies in the sanctimonious claim by those who adamantly oppose abortion and seek to legislate it out of existence while promoting policies that endanger the fetus they seek to protect and the child who will be born.

No one argues that fetal health is paramount.  The mother ensures that health through regular check ups with her OB/GYN.  However, with tens of millions of people without health insurance, many of them women of child-bearing age, fetal health is not universally assured.

After birth, that child has a right to good health.  It includes regular visits to the doctor and timely vaccinations.  It should include good nutrition.  The child should have a life that will support and encourage his or her intellectual and emotional development so that he or she can live fully.

Advocating for the sanctity of life means advocating for its sanctity in all its dimensions.  Insisting that abortion should be banned without seeking universal health care (real health care, not subsidized vouchers) and without seeking economic policies that will actually reduce childhood poverty hardly affirms the value of life.  An outright ban on abortions without universal health care exposes an enormous contradiction.  How can a mother get pre-natal care without health coverage?

Shamefully, this nation has a childhood poverty rate exceeding 20%.  The damage a child suffers due to poverty is a long list.  (The correlation between poverty and academic achievement is abundantly clear, except to those education reformers who keep insisting that public education’s problems lie with teacher unions.)  Yet, analysis of the GOP’s economic policies almost universally point to a large shift of wealth from the poor to the rich – exacerbating this already sinful situation.  (Yes.  When we have this much poverty in the richest nation in the history of the world, it is sinful.)

Advocating an outright ban on abortions while seeking to dismantle the best chance this nation has to expand health care to tens of millions of more people is fraudulent.  Forcing all babies to term while promulgating public policies which will increase poverty and shred the social safety net is heartless and cruel.

Pro-life?  Think again.


About Quentin Chin

Eclectic interests: religion, technology, food, music, current events. I live in the reality-based world.
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