By Jon Koll, Alexandria, MN
One issue is always controversial during political campaigns: abortion. Republican voters have been tricked and cheated by Republican candidates who say two things: Democrats are baby killers and Republicans are pro-life. People buy it and vote Republican when in fact, if you look at history, a profound truth emerges: Democrats have a stronger record on pro-life politics than Republicans.
Voters must reconcile an inflexible truth: if the demand for a service exists, the market will meet the demand, regardless of religion, law or politics. People who want alcohol will get alcohol, regardless of the law. Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry because the market demand exists. A person can buy methamphetamine as easily as a loaf of bread. The demand determines the available services. So Republican efforts to make abortion unavailable will not stop abortions. Rich and middle-class people will continue to have abortions while poor people will not, at least not safely. The result will be that the poor will have more children, putting more stress on the welfare system, which Republicans are railing against.
Democrats are pro-life because they support public nursing home care from conception through the first three years of a child’s life. In many countries, this support for parents has translated into low crime and incarceration rates, fewer unwanted pregnancies, and high graduation rates. Early in a woman’s pregnancy, public nurses can identify difficult family situations. Appropriate support services provide help when it is most needed, not after problems have taken root.
This compares to the current system in which difficult childhood situations are usually only identified when a child is in primary school, well after the most critical time for intervention. Day treatment programs for troubled teens are incredibly expensive. Such programs exist because of the inability to identify childhood issues during pregnancy or a child’s early infancy. Pro-life Democrats are supporting parents to reduce out-of-home placements in foster care or other hospital-based mental health treatment programs that are costly and very often report poor outcomes for children. Pro-life Democrats are keeping families together by providing support during pregnancy and infancy.
Democrats are pro-life because baby and child care continues after birth. Democrats often think Republicans are “pro-birth” rather than pro-life. Once the child is born, Republicans seem much less invested in being “pro-life.” Pro-life Democrats take care of children by guaranteeing the right to publicly funded health care. All children, born and unborn, receive comprehensive care. Lobbyists and free-market, for-profit capitalists have hijacked the current health care system. It is dysfunctional, massively expensive and inefficient. This must change. Publicly funded universal health care is pro-life.
Democrats are pro-life because they advocate responsible living in a way that preserves a healthy planet for future generations of children. Democrats believe that publicly funded education, at least two years after high school, is a pro-life endeavor because it reduces poverty, crime and incarceration. It guarantees viable jobs, reducing the need for prolonged public financial assistance. Education for viable employment lifts two generations out of poverty: parents and their children. State-funded education beyond high school is pro-family and pro-life. Pro-life Democrats believe education reduces costly and unproductive incarceration. It reduces the need for prolonged public financial support. Once again, Republicans are railing against “welfare” programs. Well, Republicans, get on board with the pro-life stance on education.
Pro-life Democrats believe children need to be trained in the art of emotional and behavioral regulation. Conflict management skills should be taught early, not just after a child has started acting aggressively. Such education, provided as an integrated component of school curricula, supports interpersonal harmony and a safe environment, both pro-life efforts.
Democrats are pro-life because they understand the need to “name” all systems of racism, classism, and gender bias, which are decidedly not pro-life. Democrats are taking action to ensure opportunities and rights for everyone, regardless of life circumstances, including those who have made bad decisions in the past or engaged in wrongdoing. Pro-life democrats believe that human beings are capable of personal growth, redemption and reconciliation. People should not be held hostage to past mistakes. The vindictiveness, which the defeated former Republican president frequently stages, is not pro-life.