Kara Jobmann | Staff Writer
The Republican and Democratic parties have made their stances on abortion abundantly clear.
Pro-abortion rights, or “pro-choice,” (D) is the idea that a woman should be able to choose an abortion for a variety of reasons: health and financial ability being two major contributors. The idea is that this right should not be infringed upon by government ideologies or religion.
Pro-life (R) is the idea that life starts at conception, and that the fetus has the same rights and autonomy that the mother does. It is the idea that a woman should not have access to abortions and should, in some cases, be punished for seeking out those services.
The problem with the pro-life idea lies in the fact that as soon as the baby is born, those supporters are nowhere to be found for help. The problem is with the racial biases of the pro-life movement. The problem is with the hypocrisy of it all.
Republicans say pro-life, but as soon as that mother looks to the government for help with education, food stamps and paid maternal leave, that same pro-life mentality becomes, “the government shouldn’t give handouts, so get a job and work harder.” They say pro-life, but when that baby grows up in poverty, with a mother working four jobs to put food on their table and she looks to the streets for help, they call her child “a thug” or “ghetto.” Life may begin at conception, but it also continues after birth.
The Republican Party isn’t so much pro-life as it is anti-abortion. When President Trump reinstated the Global Gag Rule, he cut funding for organizations worldwide that provide healthcare to women, medical research and medicines for people suffering from Zika, HIV and other life threatening diseases. This is not pro-life.
The Global Gag Rule essentially says that any government-funded agency that offers or even discusses the possibility of abortion will have their funding revoked. While these agencies provide abortions to at-risk women in developing nations, they also provide life saving healthcare in general.
The party is more anti-abortion because it introduced the American Health Care Act, which is estimated to leave 14 to 24 million Americans without access to healthcare. They want to defund Planned Parenthood on the basis of pro-life, when in reality Planned Parenthood is not legally allowed to use any of their $528 million from last year’s government funding for abortions.
The vast majority of those funds come from two places: Title X of the U.S. Public Health Service Act and Medicaid. Seventy-five percent comes from Medicaid alone, according to NPR. Planned Parenthood offers a safe place for low-income women to receive necessary healthcare.
The self proclaimed pro-life party wants to cut funding to 19 government funded organizations, some of which include the U.S. African Development Agency – dedicated to growth and helping African countries in fragile times – and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which is dedicated to eradicating homelessness among veterans and American youth.
My issue with the pro-life movement lies in the hypocrisy of it. It claims to be “pro-life,” but as soon as they have the opportunity to actually improve someone’s life, they cut funding and make a movement to end agencies that help those people live dignified lives.
Pro-life supporters tend to suggest using contraceptives, or remain abstinent until marriage. Not all abortions are done out of wedlock, and when you try to defund an agency that provides about four million people access to affordable healthcare each year, you eliminate the access to contraceptives for a significant amount of women.
That is like the equivalent of chopping someone’s hands off and asking them why they can’t write. A woman has, or should have, the right to do what she likes with her body in and out of wedlock, and should not be punished for owning her sexuality. In fact, not all abortions are provided to women out of wedlock, as women can have abortions while married for a variety of reasons.
I don’t say any of this to demonize right-wing causes. I do think that pro-life fighters strongly believe they are fighting for a just cause and for that I admire them. Standing up for a cause you believe in is noble and is the very idea that America was founded upon.
A lot of these people are pro-life because they are Christians who believe children to be blessings from God and that murdering them is against his will. But, if they are fighting on that platform, they need to continue fighting for that child to have access to good education, food on the table and a happy childhood.
We cannot use Jesus’ name to fight for one cause, but forget it in the face of others. If you believe that every child is a blessing, you also have to believe that Jesus would want every child to have food on the table and parents who are present. That’s what it means to be pro-life.
Featured Illustration: Antonio Mercado