Posted by: Kevin | April 23, 2007

Hypocrisy at Work

Two recent posts at Feminste caught my eye today.  The first is about Mississippi’s status as the US state with the highest rate of infant mortality, at 11.4 deaths per 1,000 live births.  Contrast that with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour’s statement that Mississippi is “the safest place in America for an unborn child”. 

He is of course referring to Mississippi’s “Pro-Life” policies with regards to abortion, sex education and contraception.  Unfortunately, pro-life doesn’t seem to apply to children once they’re born.  In addition to having the highest rate of infant mortality (higher than Bosnia), Mississippi also has the second highest rate of child poverty and the third highest rates of teen pregnancy.  So it might be OK to be a fetus in Mississippi, but once you’re born you’re up shit’s creek.

The trend in Mississippi also applies to red states in general.  States in which the “pro-life’ agenda dominates discussions of women’s health have a higher rate of infant mortality, child poverty and teenage pregnancy.  This would seem to expose the lie behind the “pro-life” label.  Maybe life does begin at conception, but it sure as hell isn’t supposed to end at birth.  Yet Mississippi has made it harder for pregnant women to get quality pre-natal care, the single most important factor in reducing infant mortality.

The second article is more of an extension of the first.  It turns out that those nations which outlaw abortion also have the highest rate of maternal mortality.  Part of the reason for this is unsafe, illegal abortions.  The article also mentions that the “Gag rule” enacted by the Bush administration is denying funding to organizations that promote women’s health in those nations because those organizations also perform abortions:

This policy — the Global Gag Rule — puts women and children’s lives in danger in an effort to appease our current president’s “pro-life” base. They’ll tell you that the Gag Rule is in place because U.S. tax dollars should not be funding abortions abroad. What they won’t tell you — because they’re lying through their teeth — is that U.S. dollars have been barred from funding abortions since the 1970s; U.S. dollars did not fund abortions abroad during the Clinton era, when the Gag Rule was rescinded; and U.S. dollars will never fund abortion abroad, even if the Gag Rule is lifted — unless the 1973 Helms Amendment is repealed, and that won’t be happening any time soon.

I can understand the desire to decrease abortions, I really do.  However, I have a very hard time understanding how anyone can call themselves “Pro-Life” and yet pursue policies that will ensure more deaths.  You don’t like abortions, fine.   Then start promoting contraception.  Promote equal education and employment opportunities for women.  Promote and be willing to pay for the pre natal care that assures more of those babies born will be healthy.   Otherwise you’re just making noise at the wind.


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