Your Child Never Mattered

The Oxymoron That is “Pro-Life”

Your Child Never Mattered

Caroline Restrepo, Writer

This piece is for the compassionate pro-life supporter. I don’t mean to tell you that you’re some authoritarian leader controlling women, nor am I here to claim that not supporting abortion makes you as bad as those who send anthrax and pipe bombs to clinics. I believe that the view of someone who is pro-life is based on compassion, just as my pro-choice stance is. The real threats to liberty are those in power who make decisions for us without listening to the doctors and their people. The truth is, they don’t care about your child. They never did. For those resting on millions several states away from their population, it really is about controlling women. Their arguments are not based on fact, and I intend to prove it.

I will not be arguing for or against when life begins for very long. That varies based on religion and interpretation of scientific evidence. Some faiths believe life only starts after a child takes its first breath, while others say it begins with the creation of a zygote. Ultimately, it’s a moot point. What’s more important is when abortions occur. 93% occur in the first trimester, before 13 weeks. 6% occur between 14 and 20 weeks. Only 1% were performed after 21 weeks. So, why are these late-term abortions performed? Indeed, performing an invasive procedure so late into development would be cruel. Well, those abortions are saving the life of the mother and, potentially, later children.

Between 2% to 11% of mothers experience sepsis, an often-fatal condition that can kill a child while it is still within the womb. When this occurs, an abortion of an already dead fetus is necessary to save the life of the mother. In most states, this procedure is now illegal. Another condition is ectopic pregnancy. By chance, a zygote attaches to an abnormal area. It may be the fallopian tubes, within an ovary, or even in the abdomen. They happen to 1 in 50 pregnancies in the US, and there’s no way to tell if a pregnancy will be ectopic or not. Those who have had no complications in the past can have an ectopic pregnancy at any time. When they rupture, they cause internal bleeding, injury to the uterus (This can result in trouble having children later on.) and can lead to death if left untreated. The fetus is once again not possible to save in this situation. A fetus can only survive within the uterus, but it will grow regardless of where it attaches. Laws restricting abortions means that women cannot have a lifesaving procedure performed because it qualifies as an abortion under the legal definition.

Some assume that doctors or women can just get an abortion at any time, but it’s hardly an easy and painless process. Clinics can and do turn away people they believe aren’t in the right mental state for such a procedure. They can and do turn away those far along in a healthy pregnancy. A qualified doctor will often recommend against abortions because it can be an invasive procedure with some risks and recovery involved.

History also shows that allowing women more autonomy saves children and women alike. Romania, in the 1960s, instituted numerous pro-natal policies. Among these were banning abortion and contraception, policies modern pro-life supporters push for today. However, this did not result in more children with good homes. It resulted in an orphan crisis from the number of unwanted children being born and then abandoned. There was such a population issue that most children were in terrible and crowded conditions. It was worst for disabled children, who were left at the highest rates since they could not support their families when they were older. Maternal mortality skyrocketed as women unable to look after more children turned to illegal procedures performed by unqualified people.

China introduced an anti-natal policy limiting the amount of children families could have. Although it had an opposite intent to the Romanian laws, the effects of controlling women’s bodies were the same. They ended up with a massive problem of orphaned baby girls. For the modern US, a crisis may seem unlikely. However, we are far from untouchable.

There are over 400,000 children currently in the US foster system. 45% of Americans consider themselves pro-life. There are presently around 209.1 million adults in the US. Taking an estimate from this data, we have from 83 to 94 million pro-life Americans who could give every single child currently in the foster care system a permanent home. However, not even 400,000 out of those tens of millions have helped to solve the foster care problems in America. The foster care system has also not seen much reform. Children who are at some point placed in foster care have a poor quality of life.

There are plenty of studies on the foster care system in the US that show the many flaws and shortcomings in caring for unwanted children or those with troubled homes. 70% of youth in the juvenile justice system have been in foster care. 50% of fostered children won’t graduate high school on time and are suspended and expelled 3 times as much as other children. Most never reach higher education, and 33% of homeless adults have been involved in foster care. These laws also impact these children much more than any other demographic. 48% of girls involved in foster care will become pregnant by age 19, and they make up around 60% of human trafficking victims. Foster children are also 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than other children. The US has a deeply flawed system on its hands that results in incredible suffering for children. How many more children will enter this system when more unwanted children are born?

Supporting a child is more difficult than ever in America. Housing, education, food, and medical costs are rising in the country. It would be best to look not at how politicians handled life before it is developed but at how they handle children and mothers who are already living.

Do the pro-life supporters in your area support paid maternal leave? Have they advocated for or against child welfare programs, like universal school lunches? Do they support childcare tax credits? How do they approach foster care reform? All of these policies keep a child housed, fed, and alive. They are the actual pro-life policies people should advocate for. However, most politicians that take a harsh pro-life stance do not support these policies. Women deserve better than abortion. They deserve assistance when taking on the task of raising another human life.

One heavily pro-life state that enacted trigger laws after Roe v. Wade was overturned is Mississippi. According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, this state “ranks last, or close to last, in almost every leading health outcome.” They’re also in the lead for the most underprivileged children, receiving a massive lawsuit for foster care abuse. The governor of Mississippi claimed this year that Mississippi had spent $100 million to reform their care, which sounds nice on the surface. However, this was close to the settlement of the lawsuit the state faced for their inadequate care.

“Pro-life” politicians are not pro-life. They stop looking after children once they’re born and don’t look after mothers. Even those who disapprove of abortion should look at the policies of pro-life politicians regarding childcare and welfare. You’ll see much more overlap in pro-choice policies and care for children. Massachusetts, the state that has the best foster care system and child welfare, is a state that has kept abortion legal until 23 weeks. It also has the best maternal care and is the most educated state. That is a state that supports life and success for its children.

For those who genuinely wish to look out for children, look at those you support. Several people who claim to be pro-life are not seeking change. They sit idly by, hoping they’ll be seen as the lesser of two evils. You can’t be pro-life and anti-mother. You can’t be pro-birth and anti-child. When it’s time to vote and propose legislation, politicians will show what they truly believe. You may find out that they aren’t as pro-life as they claim.