If You’re Really Pro-Life, Focus On The US’s Terrible Infant Mortality Instead Of Abortion

pro-life protest signsWhat could be more pro-life than working to bring down the terrible infant mortality rates in the United States? Nothing does more to demonstrate the fact that the pro-life movement is pro-life in name only than the way they choose to spend their time. For anyone who really wants to think of themselves as pro-life, single-minded attacks on reproductive health rights should give way to earnest attempts to do something to help take care of babies who have already been born.

A lot of people like to believe that the United States is the greatest country in the world, but when it comes to infant mortality, that claim just doesn’t hold up. The CIA World Factbook rates us behind 45 other countries and territories, with 6.17 deaths occurring per 1,000 births. Our preterm birth rates are also what scientists refer to as “hella awful”, with over 10% of newborns arriving earlier than doctors would like: a rate that’s secured us a solid 131st place out of 184 countries nationwide. USA! USA! USA!

But these problems aren’t insurmountable. A significant portion of these frankly depressing statistics can be chalked up to pregnant women not receiving adequate prenatal care, or to having insufficient means to provide for their new little ones. Just imagine if, instead of spending money building and staffing crisis pregnancy centers to trick vulnerable women, people who called themselves ‘pro-life’ shelled out to pay for pregnant women to visit the OB, shuttled them to the clinic and back, provided baby-sitting for their existing children, or helped supply them with the formula, baby clothes, blankets, diapers, and medicine they need to keep a tiny infant alive and healthy?

I know, pro-lifers, I know. It’s just so much fun to scream in the faces of crying women as they rush past you to a clinic, or to drive past elementary schools with pictures of dismembered fetuses plastered on the side of your truck. The words, “Why you are murdering your baby?” just roll so easily off the tongue, and I can only imagine how proud you feel holding up your Crayola-markered poster proclaiming that you survived the ‘American Holocaust’. But maybe, with the way you aggressively just don’t care about actual, post-birth human beings who are struggling to survive, you should consider a name change? ‘Anti-choice’ has a lot of traction already, I think, and it’s simple, as is the similar option of ‘pro-fetus’. Or you could kick it up a notch with something classy, like ‘The Keep-Your-Legs-Shut Brigade’.

Or – and I know I’m going out on a limb here – you could change up something more meaningful than your name. You could put your money, and your protest posterboards, and your time where your mouth is. You could lobby for more pre-natal care and more social support for pregnant low-income women. You could convert crisis pregnancy centers into actual clinics with real medical personnel, instead of using them as traps for women seeking abortions. You could do a lot of things that would really be pro-life – if life was actually the thing you cared about. But I think that we both know it’s not.

(Image: Melissa Brandes/Shutterstock)

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