By Randa Morris | 30 July 2013
Since it is all but impossible to debate a Republican or a Tea Partier on any topic without having the conversation turned immediately to the subject of “killing the unborn” this list is one that will, hopefully, help those on the left regain control of important conversations. It includes the ten leading causes of pregnancy termination and infant death, nine of which involve policies that are directly promoted by the Republican party.
Assuming that there are at least a few Republicans who sincerely want to “protect life” and aren’t just in the debate because they want to control women and send them back to their “rightful place in society” (which of course is barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen) this list could help open their eyes to the lack of sincerity coming from their party’s mostly male leadership. Anyone who sincerely wants to “protect life” should understand that to single-mindedly focus on one issue, pretending that it is the only thing that “kills the unborn” is not a reasonable way to address the issue. In fact, Republican policies have killed more unborn and newly born infants and fetuses than all of the abortions which have ever been performed on earth, in the history of the world, combined.
1. Natural Causes: If human life begins at conception (Republicans insist it does) then at least 50 to 75 percent of all human life ends within the first month after conception, naturally. The woman’s body expels the “life” through her menstrual cycle, in most cases never even realizing that she was pregnant. It’s interesting to note that the rate of these “natural deaths” is greatly reduced by the use of birth of control, since it prevents conception to begin with. If Republicans sincerely believe that life begins at conception, there should be a mass outcry over this “loss of life.” It would be considered a mass epidemic of unprecedented proportion, if the belief that half of all humans were dying before ever “having a chance to live” was in any way logical, sincere, fact based or sane. There would be major scientific studies to determine the cause of death, we would have national days of mourning in which women buried the fetal remains, and Tea Partiers gathered to sob hysterically holding photos of dirty tampons and carrying signs that say “Stop the killing of innocence.” Most importantly, however, there would be a sincere desire to prevent the “loss of life” by encouraging the use of birth control, rather than opposing it. Statistics prove that nearly all of these “horrible deaths” of the unborn could be prevented if sexually active men and women were using a reliable method of birth control.
2. Gun Violence: Republicans have campaigned against any and every proposed legislation that could help reduce the number of unborn and new born infants that are killed because of the epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. From an article published by Addicting Info in July, 2013:
In 2001, Isabelle Horon and Diana Cheng published a detailed study in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found “a pregnant or recently pregnant woman is more likely to be a victim of homicide than to die of any other cause.”
In December of 2004 the Washington Post published a report titled “Many New or Expectant Mothers Die Violent Deaths.”
Their killings produced only a few headlines, but across the country in the last decade, hundreds of pregnant women and new mothers have been slain.
The Post’s analysis showed that killings of pregnant women span all racial and ethnic groups. 67 percent of cases where a weapon was identified in medical or police reports, showed that firearms were used in the murders of pregnant women.
What’s more, guns don’t just kill the unborn, they kill newborns, babies, toddlers, school children, Junior High and High School Children. They kill via suicide, homicide and accidental death. Rarely are guns used to kill the guilty. It is far more likely that a firearm will be used to kill an innocent child, than to stop an intruder or defend against an attacker, contrary to NRA and right wing myths.
While Republicans adamantly refuse to give up any of their rights in order to save the many “innocent lives” that are ended every year by gun violence in the United States, they have no difficulty supporting legislation that involves using a vaginal probe to search a woman’s vagina.
3. War: Rarely, if ever, will you find a right-wing “source” that makes an effort to address the realities of war. By keeping the issue of war and the “killing of the unborn” as far away from each other as possible, Republicans have successfully managed to separate the two ideas in the minds of their loyal followers. In reality, however, war kills the unborn, the newly born and multitudes of living, breathing human beings at every stage of life, from early childhood to old age. In Iraq, for example, an estimated 125,000 unarmed civilians were killed between 2003 and 2010. 80% of those casualties were children. The overwhelming majority of civilian casualties occurred in 2003, with civilian deaths spiking again in 2006 and 2007, under the leadership of American president George Bush.
The IBC only tracks civilians killed by violent means, so the numbers do not include the hundreds of thousands who have died because of the country’s devastated economy and environment. The documentary film Iraq’s Missing Billions shows the conditions of Iraqi citizens since the U.S. invasion, and documents the hundreds of thousands of unborn and newborn infant deaths that continue to occur daily, because of U.S. exploitation in the country. Neither the IBC or the previously mentioned documentary film begin to touch on the rate of miscarriages, still born infants, deformed and disfigured children, children with developmental delays and those who die within the first year of life, because of the U.S. forces use of depleted uranium in the country. These statistics are for the second Iraqi invasion only, they don’t include preborn, newborn or childhood deaths which have occurred as the result of other U.S. wars or the first invasion of Iraq, led by George Bush Sr.
4. Poor Maternal Health At Time Of Conception: Even as Republican’s in Washington launch another assault on the Affordable Care Act, they continue working at the state level to restrict women’s access to safe, affordable health care. Yet statistics show that women who are in poor health at the time of conception are far more likely to miscarry than those who are already in good health. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) the single most important factor for a healthy pregnancy is a healthy mother. This means that every woman who is of child-bearing age should have regular health screenings, as well as access to services and medications which can help diagnose, prevent, treat or cure chronic or temporary health conditions. This includes things like proper nourishment and a wide range of other important health services, all of which should be made available to all women at a rate they can afford. A woman’s health should not and cannot be just an after thought, once a pregnancy is already confirmed. A woman whose health has been neglected prior to pregnancy has a far greater chance of miscarriage and is more likely to have a fetus die in the womb, than a woman who has had access to affordable medical care and treatment throughout her lifetime.
5. Violence Against Women: Violence against women is a leading cause of death among pregnant women. Often domestic violence in the home escalates during and after pregnancy, as perpetrators become more violent and controlling, as the pregnancy progresses. According to the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center domestic violence is the most common health problem which affects women during pregnancy and one that greatly threatens the health of both the mother’s and unborn baby. Information published by UCSF states that the effects of domestic violence during pregnancy often include injury to the uterus which directly effects the fetus, miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. The risk to the infant after it is born remains high, as children are often targeted by perpetrators of domestic violence, as a way to retaliate against the mother. Infants and children living in homes affected by domestic violence are also at a much higher risk of injury, and may be killed unintentionally, as these children are often caught in the cross fire of violence aimed at the woman. Every Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted no to renewing the Violence Against Women Act in February of 2012.
6. Lack of Prenatal Healthcare: Republican Jodie Laubenberg, who co-authored Texas strict anti-abortion laws in 2013, because she believes that “life begins at conception” also opposed healthcare for newly developing fetuses, saying they should not have health care because “they aren’t born yet.” Yet according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health:
“Babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care.”
7. Toxins in Air, Water and Food: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:
“While many of the chemicals used in drilling and fracking process are proprietary, the list includes benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene, ethylene glycol, glutaraldehyde and other biocides, hydrochloric acid, and hydrogen treated light petroleum distillates. These substances have a wide spectrum of potential toxic effects on humans ranging from cancer to adverse effects on the reproductive, neurological, and endocrine systems (ATSDR, Colborn T, et al, U.S. EPA 2009).”
Additionally, the AAP reports:
“Air pollutants are associated with a spectrum of adverse health outcomes in humans. Increases in particulate matter air pollution, for example, have been linked to respiratory illnesses, wheezing in infants, cardiovascular events, and premature death (Laden F, et al, Lewtas J, Ryan PH, et al, Sacks JD, et al).”
The Center for Environmental Health links fracking to miscarriage, as well as impaired learning and impaired intellectual ability in children who are exposed to the air and water near fracking wells. Yet, Republicans like George Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Ryan John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and hundreds of others across the country not only worked to ensure that the fossil fuel industry was granted exemptions from clean air and clean water standards which could save “innocent lives”, they have also profited enormously from personal investments in these same baby killing industries.
8. Poor Nutrition: Republicans almost unanimously oppose the Supplemental Nutrition or SNAP program, and continuously try to eliminate the Federal Women, Infants and Children food program (WIC) which provides only the most basic essentials such as cereal, milk, cheese, whole grain bread, a minute amount of fresh produce and beans or peanut butter for women during pregnancy and baby food and formula for infants, following birth. The VMC provides hundreds of resources on how maternal malnutrition contributes to miscarriage, still birth, brain impairment, physical deformities and a host of other serious health problems that can occur during and after pregnancy. One important note is that the mothers nutritional health prior to pregnancy has a drastic impact on whether or not the fetus will grow and develop normally.
“Fetal development is also affected by maternal nutritional status before pregnancy. It is during the first five weeks of pregnancy when the fetus develops most of its organs (e.g. heart, brain, lungs). At this stage the fetus is most vulnerable to the mother’s malnutrition. Nutritional deficiencies at this time may retard the growth of the fetus’s organs. As the woman is usually unaware she is pregnant at this early stage, she can only ensure she is well nourished by eating properly before she becomes pregnant.”
Poor nutrition prior to pregnancy may also interfere with cell reproduction, prohibiting the embryo from being implanted in the wall of the uterus (early miscarriage), or causing an abnormal division of cells, leading to complications later in the pregnancy.
9. Socio-economic and environmental factors: Republicans oppose equal pay for women, and also oppose food, housing and cash assistance for needy families. Yet many socio-economic factors can contribute to miscarriage or stillbirth, as well as premature infant death. Some of these factors include homelessness, severe poverty and unsanitary and unhealthy living conditions. Women who live in unsafe environments, homeless shelters, vehicles or those who travel from place to place in search of a roof over their heads are at increased risk of experiencing pregnancy complications.
Stress and trauma can also increase a woman’s risk of miscarriage and complications during pregnancy. These two serious health problems that face many mothers who are struggling economically, are not generally considered important in the debate about women’s health. Many pregnant women continue working late into pregnancy, some women are forced to work extremely long hours and hold down more than one job, in order to provide for their families. Many employers will not hire a woman if she is pregnant, and women in these circumstances may have difficulty taking time off work to attend medical appointments or care for themselves, when pregnant.
10. Abortion: According to the CDC (the only agency in the United States that has the ability to monitor and track abortion rates) in 2009 there were 15.1 abortions for every 1,000 live births. Of those abortion 91.7 percent were performed earlier than 13th week of pregnancy, and of those the majority, almost 70 percent, were performed prior to the 8th week of pregnancy. Additionally, many abortions are performed for medical reasons. In this highly informative article published on Patheos.com, the author explains the many reasons she lost faith in American’s pro-life movement.
“Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America—regions in which abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries. The rate is 12 per 1,000 in Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds.”
Randa Morris has been a freelance writer for over ten years. She is an active political blogger and administrator for several social media activism groups.
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