Here's where I get confused. Conservatives seem to find all life extremely sacred, to the point of interfering with a woman and her doctor during the most private of moments. One conservative state has passed a law that from the moment of conception, an embryo has all the rights of a human being, thus using government to regulate a woman's reproductive life. Yet these same conservatives simultaneously claim to want government regulation out of their lives. They also apparently want to cut every program that helps the children they insist be born.
Here in Alaska, Representative Wes Keller held up a Girl Scouts commendation based on some Internet rumors he apparently was unable to debunk through a simple Google search. Then he turned around and bottled up a bill to help families with children suffering from autism spectrum disorder get insurance coverage for treatment for those children. If he's so darn concerned that every embryo conceived be brought to fruition, surely he has some minimal understanding that many of the resulting children might need some help in getting through the physical, mental and emotional illnesses to which mankind is prone?
If life is so sacred that even a two- celled organism is granted protection by law, based on what some might consider shaky science about when that embryo actually can be called a person, then shouldn't that sacred respect for life extend beyond the moment the baby is expelled from the birth canal? Yet that doesn't seem to be the way conservatives view it. Life is sacred so long as someone else is bearing the pain and suffering that accompanies bringing life into this world. Once it's here, they are not willing to share their benefits, tax dollars or energy making sure that child has the means needed to get immunizations, well child check ups, enough food to grow their bodies and brains in a healthy direction or the chance to have mom stay home and raise them.
What, you say. What do you mean they don't want the moms to stay home and raise them? Well, for starts that means that they would need to fund programs like welfare that allow a poor mother to stay home with the child that conservative politics may have forced her to bear, even though she knew she wasn't financially able to have a child. And it means funding birth control and access to it so that a woman does not have more babies that she can't afford. It means funding pre-school programs so these children have a better chance at a brighter future.
And it most especially means recognizing that raising children is work with dignity even if you aren't Mitt Romney's wife. Because it is truly hard to stomach any statement on the dignity of work from a man who is indignant when someone suggests that raising five children the way his wife Anne did is not hard work but also says that poor women should be forced to put their young children into day care and go into the workforce so they can learn how to work. I might be mistaken here, but I'm going to bet that Mrs. Romney had a lot more help raising those boys than most poor mothers have.
Sometimes I feel as though conservatives are trying to march us backwards to Dickens' England when I hear Newt Gingrich suggest that poor children who go to school should do janitorial work so they learn a work ethic. Thank God he stopped short of suggesting that they move into the street when their betters pass them on the sidewalk while bowing with respect. Gingrich apparently feels that their families are not capable of teaching them lessons like responsibility, which brings me back to wondering why conservatives insist that children be born to people they consider so inferior and incapable of raising those children properly.
Rep. Keller eventually found someone who convinced him the Girl Scouts were not in cahoots with Planned Parenthood to teach girls how to have wild sex orgies necessitating abortions. A little later, he released his one-man stranglehold on the autism bill after announcing that he realized his position was one of a "severe minority."
Thanks for showing that much compassion for an already-born life, Wes. It's a rare sight in conservative circles.
Elise Patkotak is an Alaksa writer and author of "Parallel Logic," her memoir of 28 years in Barrow. Website, www.elisepatkotak.com.