Isn’t it eye-opening when people say the quiet parts out loud? When they do, you learn what they really think.
That was the case last month when a Republican lawmaker from Alaska attended a House Judiciary Committee meeting where representatives joined Alaska Children’s Trust CEO Trevor Storrs to discuss the costs of childhood trauma. The Trust showcased how abuse victims — whether they experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse — are negatively impacted and often need government resources for the remainder of their lives.
During that meeting, The Daily Mail reported, David Eastman, who represents the city of Wasilla, asked this question: “How would you respond to that I’ve heard on occasion in the case where child abuse is fatal — obviously, it’s not good for the child — but it’s a benefit to society because there aren’t needs for government services and whatnot over the whole course of that child’s life.”
A shocked Storrs asked him to repeat his question, and the lawmaker explained: “Talking dollars. Now you’ve got a $1.5 million price tag here for victims of fatal child abuse. It gets argued periodically that it is actually a costs saving because that child isn’t going to need any of those government services that they might otherwise be entitled to receive and need growing up in this type of environment.”
I was as shocked by that as Mr. Storrs, so I wanted to learn more about this man. His official website features prominently his family with four children. And under his “issues” tab he touts his “pro-life” stance, even showing a photo of what I assume to be one of his three daughters as an infant.
No surprise there. Much of it was the boiler-plate language Republicans have crafted as their “pro-life” stance. But what jumped out at me was this sentence: “Instead of paying for women to undergo the trauma of having an innocent life taken in their womb, we should instead focus on making resources available to mothers and fathers that permit and empower them to care for their son or daughter both while they are waiting to be born and after.”
Amazing, right? While saying one thing to his voters, he revealed what he really thinks in that committee meeting.
Which brings me to one thing that is increasingly setting my teeth on edge — the hypocrisy of those who push a “pro-life” agenda for the unborn, but don’t give a flying flip for children once they are born.
I’m so tired of those who paint the abortion issue as a binary choice while being OK with separating children from their parents at the southern border, or pushing to make it legal for more people to buy and carry guns which statistically kills more children under 18 than anything else.
Or, as in the case of Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders in Arkansas, rolling back requirements that the state verify the ages of workers under 16, which makes it easier to exploit child workers. She holds some of the most extreme views on abortion, allowing for no exceptions, but is making it easier for parents to force children — 14 and 15 — into the workplace with no accountability.
“There is no compromise with these folks.”
There is no compromise with these folks. They want to prosecute doctors who perform abortions and women (or girls) who have them, or even those who help them in any way. They don’t want to consider that someone might not be ready to die, or that someone who has been raped would be devastated to have to give birth to a child that will be a constant reminder of how she was violated.
“Give them up for adoption” is their response. But then that child most often will end up in the foster system, opening them up to the possibility of abuse, in which case Eastman suggested they would be better off dead than being a drain on society.
It has become such a burden for doctors that they refuse to treat women when they might have to terminate a pregnancy, no matter if the mother is in danger. If that had been the case for the doctor who treated my daughter when she was hemorrhaging with a tubal pregnancy, she would have died. That baby had no chance at life, and it was only the quick response of the doctor that allowed my daughter to live. And there are many more, even more tragic stories than this.
And before you start on me about being too hard on the “pro-life” crowd, let me hasten to say I know there are well-meaning folks who believe the only way to stop abortions is to outlaw them and anyone who participates. But I like to think it’s because they are not looking at the very real consequences of their hardline policies. That they just aren’t thinking things through.
“They don’t really believe in the ‘sanctity of life’ or they would consider the lives of the mothers too, the doctors who treat them, the children who need help.”
But then there are those, like Eastman and Sanders, who use this issue to garner support from well-meaning folks like that for their own political ends. They don’t really believe in the “sanctity of life” or they would consider the lives of the mothers too, the doctors who treat them, the children who need help.
They wouldn’t make women carry dead babies in their wombs until they are expelled on their own, putting their lives at risk. They wouldn’t make women, or children, who have been raped give birth to their attacker’s child. They would make it easier for women to get contraceptives, so they don’t have unwanted pregnancies. They would educate their girls and boys about sex and how to prevent getting pregnant. They would care more about abused children than how much money it takes to care for them.
Why can’t we think and talk through the abortion issue and come up with measured solutions that give consideration for all? Why can’t people see through the two-faced politicians who say one thing to get votes, and say another when they want to cut funding for programs that help the most vulnerable?
When will well-meaning people get out of their silos and really look at the issue beyond their own frames of reference? These politicians are not “pro-life.” They don’t really care about all lives. They just care about their own and want to do what’s best for their bottom line, their elections, their donors.
Lindsay Bergstom serves as director of operations for Baptist News Global. She lives in Jacksonville, Fla.
I’m pro-life, but I can’t support this | Opinion by Lindsay Bergstrom
Are you pro-life or pro-birth? | Opinion by Daniel Bagby