Culture of Lies; Our View; A Deep Concern for the Unborn, and Nobody Else

Article excerpt

Shouldn't politicians who explain their zeal for restricting abortion rights by claiming to embrace a "culture of life" also be working to reduce America's high infant mortality rate?

Shouldn't a truly pro-life politician also be willing to help sustain life when a lucky baby actually makes it out of the neo- natal intensive care unit? If so, why did so many Republican members of the U.S. House vote last week to strip food-stamp funding (even at a reduced level) out of the Farm Bill and allow agricultural subsidies to move forward?

As the former Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, Barney Frank, once famously said about anti-choice legislators: "(They) believe life begins at conception and ends at birth."

Republican-backed legislation across the country this year has resulted in major restrictions on abortion access at the same time the GOP lawmakers also have been reversing or ignoring sex education efforts. Many of them also have been grandstanding on the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act, ignoring the fact that birth control is the most effective way to reduce abortions.

Meanwhile, Congress has done nothing of substance to reverse the nation's unforgivably high infant mortality rate.

Is there a pattern here?

The phrase "culture of life" was popularized by Pope John Paul II in 1993. He was talking about abortion and euthanasia, but made it clear in an encyclical in 1995 that Catholic moral theology holds that human life is sacred at all stages. It will be recalled in 1999, at John Paul's personal request, then-Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan commuted the death sentence of a triple murderer.

Republican George W. Bush, who signed death warrants for 152 prisoners during his five years as governor of Texas, adopted "culture of life" during the 2000 presidential campaign. The phrase, if not its all-encompassing meaning, became a standard part of GOP campaign rhetoric.

A broad culture of life would make lower infant mortality rates a national high priority. It would help feed infants and children and help their mothers get health care, and maybe even educations. It would help women avoid unintended pregnancies.

Consider the statistics on infant mortality. In 2010, among 41 developed nations that are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States ranked 35th, just slightly better than Chile. …