What the Pro-Life Movement Has Taught Me This Week

What the Pro-Life Movement Has Taught Me This Week April 8, 2019

 

I grew up being told that the Population Bomb was a Liberal lie.

I grew up in a good Catholic homeschooling family, and I was told in no uncertain terms that there was a different kind of population problem in the United States.

I was told that families weren’t having babies anymore because they were selfish. They were aborting and contracepting away the next generation. Pretty soon the populations of the United States and Europe would implode and be lost, and the rest of the world would follow after. There would be no one left to take care of the elderly and fill the jobs that the elderly retired out of. The world would be doomed because there weren’t enough people.

The other day, I heard the president of the United States, whom I’m told is the most pro-life president in recent history, announce that “the country is full” and we don’t have room for Central American migrants seeking asylum.

I know this isn’t true, because I have eyes and ears. I live in an economically depressed small town with a population of 18k and housing for 40k. Business can’t afford to be open from 9 to 5, seven days a week. There’s not enough of a population to make a real grocery store economically feasible downtown. The buses don’t run after six in the evening, and we’re lucky to have buses at all because neighboring towns don’t. Several Catholic parishes have closed, as has a school. The parks are in woeful shape and nobody cares; there’s nobody to enjoy them. We depend on donations from local philanthropists to open the public pool.

If twenty thousand Central American immigrants moved into town, willing to work and bringing with them a vibrant Catholic culture– well, we’d need a massive overhaul to our infrastructure and we’d need a jobs program. But once those people were in jobs, they would pour money into the town’s economy. They’d pay taxes to fix up our parks and public transit. They’d need goods and services and have money to pay for them, enough money to keep the shops open. Enough money for entrepreneurs to open new shops, restaurants, all kinds of places where money could be spent.  The churches would be packed with devout worshipers on Sundays. We could bring this town back to life.

And that’s just one town in Eastern Ohio. I can name half a dozen others just as desperate. I’m sure there are so many more all over the country.

But the darling of the pro-life movement just said the population is too high.

I grew up hearing that there was nothing more important than children.

We were very familiar with that quote from Saint Mother Teresa: “It is poverty to decide that a child must die, so that you may live as you wish.” I was raised to believe that grown-ups must let their wishes take a backseat to the needs of the children in their care, and I did believe it, and I still do.

I was one of five children, a small family by our standards. I grew up playing with families of six or seven or ten children, helping tired mothers care for their many babies. At this point, I find, readers expect me to tell them sordid tales about how abusive and neglectful the great big families were, and some were abusive and neglectful. But that was often not the case. These parents cherished their children. They had so many babies because they genuinely loved them, and they demonstrated that love by loving them all throughout their childhood. They said they did this because they were pro-life. My mother practiced ecological breastfeeding, safe cosleeping and baby-lead weaning, at least with the younger children, because, in her view, it was the pro-life way: it was the way that was best for children, and children were the most important thing. And though I’ve gone against her in a thousand ways, I followed in her footsteps in that respect at least. I breastfed Rosie for years and practiced attachment parenting. I was careful to pick her up and snuggle her as often as I could, because I believed it was best for her physical and mental development– and because I believe that children are important. I believe children are important because I value life.

Today I keep reading the news about our pro-life president, and what he did to migrant children.

My conservative readers have tried to tell me for months that the news from our border is all a Liberal conspiracy; that the children were really treated humanely. But now we have actual information that the president has been relentlessly pushing family separation on purpose, for anyone who comes to our Southern border even legally, in the face of protest from his own administration, not for the children’s own welfare but simply out of stubbornness and cruelty. He wants to hurt children deliberately, to put them in places where their emotional health will be neglected and destroyed, because he believes it will scare away future migrants and give him political leverage. He is causing little children lifelong trauma, on purpose, in order to scare people who need our help and to wield power over his political opponents.

Children can’t recover from that kind of abuse.

Maybe someday we’ll come up with an effective therapy, but there isn’t one right now.

The little ones in those prisons will suffer for their entire lives, because of what was done to them. And it was done on purpose, by the darling of the pro-life movement. The most pro-life president in recent history is committing a genocide of little hearts and minds, the hearts and minds of migrant children who came to us for help.

And every time I read about what we’ve done to them, every time I see pictures, every time I look at the news, all I can see is my daughter. Children as precious to their mothers as my daughter is to me, caused as much pain as possible, by the most pro-life president in history, for his own political gain.

I have yet to hear any of the celebrities of the pro-life movement renounce their support for the president.

I was raised to view life as sacred and worthy of the most reverent respect, from conception until natural death, and I still believe that. In Jesus’s name, I believe. And because I revere life from conception until natural death in Jesus’s name, I say: to hell with the pro-life movement. I pray for your conversion. I pray for a new movement that does revere life from conception until natural death in Jesus’s name. I pray for a movement of Godly men and women who will stand up to protect all life, born and unborn. But to hell with the movement as it stands at this moment in history, because it is from hell.

You’ve taught me, the past few years and especially this week, that you don’t actually believe what you claim to believe so fervently.

It is poverty to decide that a child must die so that you can live as you wish. It is poverty to decide that a child’s mind and soul must be killed so that you may live as you wish. It is poverty to decide that a child must be tortured so that you can live as you wish– in the sins of bigotry, nationalism, unmanful and spineless terror of brown people who speak a different language and come to beg you for help. It is anti-life, anti-Christian and beneath contempt that you should go against everything you professed to me and torment little ones, in order to preserve your fanciful idea of what American culture should look like.

America is not full. And even if we were, we have no right to hurt children to protect ourselves.

It isn’t pro-life.

(image via pixabay) 

 


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