US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Where were the pro-lifers when the budget ax fell?

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Flashing across the screen on CNN last Tuesday at the Boston airport: "$500 million WIC." The ticker was rolling the line items of the $38 billion in spending cuts on the table and now approved by Congress, presumably to be signed by the president. The list went on: "$600 million community health centers." A troubling piece in The Nation highlights the on-the-ground impact of these kinds of social safety net cuts: In John Boehner's district alone, 500 poor seniors will not longer get a monthly food box.

When I was in high school, I bagged groceries for my pocket money, and I often saw that liltte "WIC" (Women, Infants, and Children) mark next to a food item: peanut butter, milk, cheese--basic nutrition support for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children. I always thought of the young women I saw paying with food stamps and felt good that they could get these staples for free. Great idea, right?

Evidently not. What kind of country balances its budget by taking milk from children or peanut butter from poor pregnant women? Or cuts needed health programs for uninsured people? Is that the same country that this year will spend close to $1 trillion dollars on "defense"? Could it be the country in which a lawmaker recently proposed, to much acclamation, that all income over $50,000 in a year should be taxed at the same rate, giving billions in tax "relief" to the rich while making health care more expensive for old, poor, and vulnerable people?

And where were the champions of unborn life? Is it OK if a child is lost ot miscarriage to malnutrition, as long as no direct abortion is involved?

This is why I ignore every press release that comes from a "pro-life" advocacy group--every one. I hear plenty about defunding $75 million Planned Parenthood gets from the feds to provide non-abortion related family planning, but not a single word about the $500 million worth of food taken from the mouths of mothers and children.

Not a word about stealing milk from babies.

This budget deal is at least $1.1 billion sin against the poorest of this nation. And no one who voted for it deserves the appellation "pro-life."