Commentary: Democrats are pro-life
The following is a commentary submitted by a reader for the Opinion page. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
By Jon Koll, Alexandria, MN
One issue is always contentious during political campaigns: abortion. Republican voters have been hood-winked and bamboozled 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 one looks at history a profound truth emerges: Democrats have a stronger record of enacting pro-life policy than do Republicans.
Voters must reconcile one unbending truth: If demand for a service exists, the market will meet the demand, regardless of religion, law or policy. People who want alcohol will have alcohol, regardless of law. Pornography is a multi-billion-dollar industry because market demand exists. A person can purchase methamphetamine as easily as a loaf of bread. Demand determines available services. So, Republican efforts to make abortion unavailable will not stop abortions. Wealthy and middle-class people will continue to get abortions while poor people will not, at least not safely. The result will be that poor people will have more children, further stressing the public welfare system, which Republicans rail against.
Democrats are pro-life because they support in-home public nursing from conception through the first three years of a child’s life. In many countries such support for parents has resulted in 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 at the most critical time of need, not after problems have become entrenched.
This compares to the current system in which difficult childhood situations are typically identified only when a child is in elementary school, long past the most critical time for intervention. Day-treatment programs, for troubled adolescents, are incredibly expensive. Such programs exist because of failure to identify childhood problems during pregnancy or early in a child’s infancy. Pro-life Democrats support parents in ways that reduce out-of-home placements in foster care or other inpatient mental health treatment programs which are expensive and, quite often, report poor outcomes for children. Pro-life Democrats keep families together by providing support during pregnancy and infancy.
Democrats are pro-life because care for babies and children continues after birth. Democrats often think of Republicans as “pro-birth” rather than pro-life. Once the child is born Republicans seem much less invested in being “pro-life.” Pro-life Democrats care for children by ensuring the right to ongoing publicly funded health care. All children, born and unborn, get complete care. Lobbyists and free-market, for-profit capitalists have hijacked the current health care system. It is dysfunctional, massively expensive, and inefficient. It must change. Publicly funded universal health care is pro-life.
Democrats are pro-life because they advocate for living responsibly, in a way that sustains a healthy planet for future generations of children. Democrats believe that publicly funded education, of at least two years beyond high school, is a pro-life endeavor because it reduces poverty, crime, and incarceration. It ensures viable employment, reducing need for prolonged public financial assistance. Education for viable employment gets two generations out of poverty: parents, and their children. Publicly funded education beyond high school is pro-family and pro-life. Pro-life Democrats believe that education reduces expensive and unproductive incarceration. It reduces need for prolonged public financial assistance. Once again, Republicans rail against “welfare” programs. Well Republicans, get on board with the pro-life position on education.
Pro-life Democrats believe that children need training in the art of emotional and behavioral regulation. Conflict management skills must be taught early, not only after a child has begun acting out with aggression. Such education, provided as an integrated component of school curricula, supports interpersonal harmony and a safe environment, both pro-life endeavors.
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 take action to ensure opportunity and rights for all people, regardless of life circumstances, including those who have made poor decisions in the past, or who have engaged in wrongful behavior. Pro-life Democrats believe that humans beings are capable of personal evolution, redemption, and reconciliation. People should not be hostage to past errors. Vindictiveness, which the defeated past Republican president frequently models, is not pro-life.