The problem with the pro-life movement is their concerns for "life" end at birth.
While writing a story about the famed Octomom (who living up to her comic book villain moniker managed to incense both pro-life and pro-choice groups), one of the pro-life advocates I interviewed explained they were concerned with "life that needs to be protected and children's welfare." Then realizing the slip, she quickly corrected, "We don't agree with welfare, though."
So in their view every pregnancy MUST be brought to term, but after that, it's hands off and there's "freedom" from intervention. Then you should have your rights to privacy. Then you should make your own decisions.
The wedge issue of abortion is a red herring. It's a giant distraction –– a shiny thing we all focus on and a drain on resources which could actually be going to making "life" better for American children. The easiest example is how the House GOP, riding on a wave of fiscal outrage with the promise of jobs, has spent their precious little time in session trying to criminalize a procedure for which only a minority of Americans are even eligible. Plus, numbers of abortions per year don't change even with changing legality or availability of abortions. This means no matter how much money is thrown at making abortion not exist, according to data, the same amount of abortions still take place.
So, no amount of activism or mouth foam has made the numbers of abortions fewer. But it still eats up plenty of legislative time around the country. South Dakota tabled a law allowing certain people related to a fetus to be able to kill an abortion provider. Nebraska then doubled down and introduced a bill to de-criminalize all murders, if the victims are abortion providers. How pro-life is that?
What we lack in this country is a pro-quality-of-life movement. You know what's killing children more than abortion? Obesity. Lack of health care. Poverty. I don't understand how the Christian religion can be used as grounds to take a hard line on abortion, while simultaneously giving widespread poverty a pass, because it's a "personal responsibility" issue. The poor have no more famous an advocate than Jesus Christ. However, there's a big swath of Christians who are like die hard Michael Jackson fans that have never heard his music: They admire the man, but are missing what he was all about.
I don't understand how people who are so revved up over what a woman does in the privacy of her doctor's office can just sit back and watch an entire generation of American children be doomed to a shorter lifespan than their parents. Obesity is more than a big health issue –– it's a big death issue. Condemning women's right to choose an abortion while letting "choice" be the permission for an epidemic of overweight kids is like being a school administrator who's really only concerned with chalk.
I don't understand how the title of "pro-life" can be claimed for any movement which does not march on the Capitol in support of better health care for post-partum kids.
"Life" has to mean more than just treating women like public incubators. Truth be told, a big factor in the one out of every five pregnancies ending in abortion is –– unemployment. Lack of money. Lack of resources. Being pro-life is short-sighted when it comes to living. If the goal of pro-lifers is eliminating all abortions, they should start eliminating the reasons for abortions.
Unwanted pregnancy is number one, so they should be for birth control. The second is financial. So they should be for what the right wing likes to refer to despairingly as "socialism."
What would a pro-quality-of-life movement support? A living wage for people who work for a living. A viable middle class. An economy which lifts all people, not just the uber-rich. Honest, transparent and accountable corporations and elected officials. Infrastructure. Education. Health care for all. Healthy kids.
Instead, those who call themselves pro-life can't see the forest through their abortion clinic picket signs.
Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer and fill-in host at The Young.