Are they really pro-life? Republican hypocrisy threatens the right to life: Part 2

The idea of being pro-life, I assume, necessitates that one is in favour of protecting all life, not just the life of the unborn. All life, in this case, should logically include both life that is and is not American. That is, even if you are not an American citizen, your life should be as valuable as someone who is an American citizen.

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that you are a child of 4 years, living in Burkina Faso. You have no access to clean water, nor do you have access to the relatively inexpensive, potentially life-saving, malaria tablets that would prevent you from contracting malaria for the first time. Clean drinking water would be useful to help prevent diarrhoea and to help you rehydrate during and after contracting the disease.

Now, to most of you, diarrhoea would not seem to be a serious illness. In fact, it is probably an illness that makes you laugh more than it makes you suffer. However, for you (you know, the 4 year-old child in Burkina Faso), it could be deadly. In fact, 19 per cent of all deaths of children under the age of 5 in Burkina Faso in the 2000 – 2003 period were caused by diarrhoeal diseases. Clean drinking water could help prevent this. And, 19 per cent amounts to a huge number, especially when you consider that the under-5 mortality rate in 2004 was 192 out of every 1,000 live births in Burkina Faso. A further 20 per cent of children under 5 died from malaria.

I am sure that at this point you are asking yourself what this has to do with US Republicans being pro-life. Well here’s the thing, clean drinking water and malaria vaccines could be made readily available to children in third world countries by increased foreign aid. Obviously, I am not arguing here that the United States needs to shoulder an additional burden in terms of providing foreign aid, but some US Republican politicians are not only arguing to reduce foreign aid, but to do away with it all together. Kentucky Senator, and Tea Party sweetheart, Rand Paul has repeatedly called for the US to eliminate all foreign aid, while at the same time being 100 per cent against abortion.

Cutting all foreign aid would substantially reduce supplies of clean drinking water and malaria tablets. Would anyone argue that this would have the flow-on effect of causing more young children to die in developing countries? I would. It would seem logical that if certain vaccines and clean drinking water cease to be available that incidence of disease would increase and, consequently, so would the death toll. So, can you really be pro-life and want to cut foreign aid? And, should the Republican pro-lifers spend more time fighting to save life through providing clean drinking water and vaccinations to children who need it, rather than fighting to outlaw abortion?

I find it hard to believe that (1)in the name of saving the life of the unborn, you can put a mother’s life at risk by preventing her from having an abortion that is medically required, (2) want to cut foreign aid altogether, thereby putting other children at risk, and (3) still claim to be pro-life. Call me politically ignorant, but I think that is not only hypocritical, but that it shows a shocking disregard for life.

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