Responding to Charles Blow and the New York Times
The following is my response to Charles Blow’s article depicting his opinion as to why abortion is necessary — I gathered that he believes having your life violently taken before birth is preferable to living a potentially difficult life.
Blow: Sometimes I push back on my heels, look at this country and wonder aloud: “What on earth are we doing?”
We have a growing crisis among the nation’s children, yet our policies ignore that reality at best and exacerbate it at worst.
The worst “growing crisis among the nation’s children” that we face is the chronic onslaught of said children. I have the same question, Mr. Blow: what on earth are we doing?
Blow: According to a report issued this week by the Guttmacher Institute, the unintended pregnancy rate has jumped 50 percent since 1994, yet a July report from the institute points out that politicians are setting records passing laws to restrict abortion. It said: “The 80 abortion restrictions enacted this year are more than double the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005 — and more than triple the 23 enacted in 2010.” Add to this the assault by conservatives on Planned Parenthood, and what are we saying?
First Blow quotes a wildly incorrect statistic. The Guttmacher actually reported that “the overall U.S. unintended pregnancy rate has remained essentially flat—about 5% of U.S. women have an unintended pregnancy every year.” While unintended pregnancy had gone up among the poor, it has dropped among the rest of the population leading to the flat unintended pregnancy rate that Guttmacher talks about. It seems possible that Mr. Blow misread the increase in the poor unintended pregnancy rate as an increase in the overall rate. A major data analysis error.
Second this epitomizes the abortion-first mentality that the so-called pro-choice movement has today. If unintended pregnancy rates rise, the automatic solution advocated by the pro-choice lobby is to make sure the abortion rate rises, too. These restrictions include new laws like sonogram laws and parental notification laws, which are fundamental to a “pro-informed consent” and “pro-family” ideals. Funny, Planned Parenthood (the largest abortion chain in America who reported last year that 98% of their pregnancy “services” were abortion) claims to be all gung-ho about informed consent and a “pro-family” attitude, but ardently fights against the very laws that would provide women with both!
Blow: This is what we’re saying: actions have consequences. If you didn’t want a child, you shouldn’t have had sex. You must be punished by becoming a parent even if you know that you are not willing or able to be one.
This is insane.
The notion that children are punishments isn’t a pro-life ideology. It’s a pro-choice ideology, and one President Obama holds dear. Since children can be very inconvenient, difficult to care for, and expensive, the pro-choice viewpoint is that sexually active adults shouldn’t be burdened with the responsibility of these children and should have the legal right to end their lives before birth. THAT is what is insane.
Blow: Even if you follow a primitive religious concept of punishment for sex, as many on the right seem to do, you must at some point acknowledge that it is the child, not the parent, who will be punished most by our current policies that increasingly advocate for “unborn children” but fall silent for those outside the womb.
This is not how a rational society operates.
I fail to see how having your small and delicate body torn limb from limb, sucked into a jar, and thrown away as “medical waste” like a piece of garbage is preferable to living a life of potential difficulty and hardship. One need not be a religious advocate to understand that killing an innocent human being is wrong. How ironic it is that pro-choicers advocate that torturing an unborn child to death is an act of mercy. Our society doesn’t operate by killing off those who are “inconvenient” or may have a hard life. It’s interesting to me how Mr. Blow claims that pro-lifers “fall silent” for born children when there are so many of us who volunteer for pregnancy centers that assist women with born children, push to make adoption easier and cheaper, and put time and effort into helping women financially, emotionally, and materialistically if they choose life for their children, whereas the pro-choice mentality seems to be “just get an abortion.” I don’t see many pro-choicers working to assist needy pregnant women, unless it has something to do with shoving abortion down their throats.
Blow: Aside from the raft of negative outcomes associated with unintended pregnancies, there are a host of other indicators that suggest a perilous world for the nation’s children.
Again, Mr. Blow perpetuates the pro-choice mentality that killing someone off to spare them a difficult life is somehow merciful. I still cannot comprehend this.
Blow: A report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation last week found that “the official child poverty rate, which is a conservative measure of economic hardship, increased 18 percent between 2000 and 2009.”
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the number of children facing food insecurity in 2009 soared to nearly one in four. And ABC News pointed out this week that a breathtaking 49 percent of all children born in this country are born to families who receive food supplements from the federal Women, Infants and Children assistance program.
This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the brilliant author GK Chesterson: “If there aren’t enough hats to go around, the problem isn’t solved by lopping off some heads.” The same philosophy should hold true in regards to both the unborn and poor families. We don’t go around killing born people who face food insecurity. We don’t go around killing born people that receive assistance from government programs. However, since no one has to see an unborn child ripped apart during an abortion, it’s perfectly fine to do away with them before it’s too late and they’re a legal person and we HAVE to take care of them— this is exactly what Mr. Blow is insinuating here.
Blow: As the World Bank points out, “undernutrition” in young children has been linked to delayed growth and motor development, lower I.Q.’s, behavioral problems and decreased attention, deficient learning and lower educational achievement.
Yet we wonder why our children’s educational outcomes are so low when compared with other wealthy nations. We even have the nerve to begrudge teachers for not being able to squeeze success out of children primed for failure.
You know who else was a “child primed for failure?” My brother who was adopted from Romania in the early 1990s. All I gathered from this paragraph is that it absolutely necessary to just end the lives of children that we deem are “primed for failure” because you assume that they will just drain our society for being undereducated. I sure am glad my brother’s biological mother didn’t have the sick and twisted mindset that you have, Mr. Blow.
Blow: It should come as no surprise that a C.D.C. report this month found a continued rise in the percentage of children being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or that the country has continued its course of mass incarceration. The prison population in the United States has nearly quadrupled over the last 25 years. In fact, we have the highest incarceration rate of any Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development country. This isn’t only a moral outrage; it’s also budgetary lunacy. As a report released last month by the Children’s Defense Fund pointed out, “the U.S. spends almost two-and-a-half times as much per prisoner as per public school pupil.”
We simply can’t keep turning to pills and prisons to solve issues of poverty and poor parenting. This is unhealthy, unsustainable and unwise.
Instead, we should turn towards abortion to solve our nation’s problems? Should we shoot two-year-olds in poverty- and crime-stricken areas because they’re more likely to become criminals themselves someday? The “moral outrage” here is the idea that killing children is a solution to our nation’s problems. Since pills and prisons aren’t going to solve poverty and poor parenting, why not focus on doing something that can help solve these problems in a manner that respects the dignity of every human being’s life, even those of criminals?
Blow: We have to do a better, more focused job of teaching sex education and providing contraceptive options (kudos here to the administration for moving this month to require insurance companies to provide birth control services to women at no extra cost). We have to remove the stigma and judgment around sex. Sex isn’t bad or unnatural. It’s one of the most natural things that we do. It just needs to be safe and responsible.
I agree that we need to teach our youth the facts, risks, and statistics about sex, contraception, and abortion. If we tell them the truth about these things—that sex can have dire emotional and spiritual complications when it is taken lightly or is outside of a committed marriage, that hormonal birth control has the potential to act as abortifacients and cause cancer, that abortion doesn’t remove a “blob of tissue” but takes the life of a human being and can physically and emotionally harm women, and offer free pregnancy resources to pregnant women in need—THIS is how we reduce unplanned pregnancies and the abortion rate. Education and outreach truly are the key.
Blow: We also have to preserve women’s birth options should they become pregnant, including the option not to give birth. And, finally, for all the children who are born, we must make a valiant effort to give each and every one of them a fighting chance, which includes food and medicine when their parents can’t provide it. We must do this not as a boon or crutch to the parent, but as a selfish investment in the future of this great society.
They need our help now more than ever because the current economic stress may take some time to overcome.
Saying that we have to “preserve” a woman’s right to abort her child as a “birth option” is like saying we have to “preserve” a woman’s right to kill her born child as a “parenting option.” That’s ludicrous. I agree, though, that we must fight to give all children a chance at life—all young human beings deserve this. This includes unborn children. How can we as a society work so hard to try to make the best lives for our children, but see them as entirely expendable before they’re born? Why are we so hypocritical?
Blow: As an updated Budget and Economic Outlook report issued by the Congressional Budget Office this week points out, the unemployment rate is expected to stay above 8 percent until the middle of the decade.
Now is when we need government to step up and be smart.
Now is also the time for the government to abide by its most fundamental purpose and defend the most basic rights of all human beings, the first of which is the right to life.
Blow: This is exactly the wrong time to do what the Republicans would have us do. In their 2012 budget, they propose cutting nutrition programs as part of austerity measures so that we don’t leave our children saddled with debt. Meanwhile, they completely ignore the fact that those cuts could leave even more children saddled with physical or developmental problems.
They want to hold the line on tax breaks for the wealthy, not paying attention to the fact that our growing income inequality, which could be reversed, continues to foster developmental inequality, which is almost impossible to reverse.
We have to start this conversation from a different point. We must ask: “What kind of society do we want to build, and what kinds of workers, soldiers and citizens should populate that society?” If we want that society to be prosperous and safe and filled with healthy, well-educated and well-adjusted people, then the policy directions become clear.
They are almost the exact opposite of what we are doing.