Democrats for Life Make Pro-Life Case against the Shutdown—Will Others Join?

On Monday, I highlighted a statement that many prominent Christian leaders had released, calling for an end to the shutdown. Meghan and Nichole have highlighted the brutal costs the shutdown will have on poor women and children. Every Christian, everyone who is pro-life, and every person with even a partial commitment to the common good should be able to see how dangerous and foolish this attempted extortion by right-wing extremists is. America has called this group of House Republicans the “suicide caucus.”

This isn’t just some partisan issue. Well-respected political scientists like Thomas Mann, who has long been critical of both parties, have condemned the shutdown in the strongest possible terms, and numerous Republicans and conservatives have come out strongly against these tactics. They recognize the obvious—both sides are not equally responsible for the shutdown. This is a manufactured crisis created by those who claim to be pro-life, but whose actions are a grave threat to human life and dignity.

And where are pro-life groups in this fight? Are they willing to challenge anti-abortion Republicans who refuse to end the hostage-taking? Will they protect poor and vulnerable women and children from this pathological approach to politics? You simply cannot be pro-life if you ignore poor women and children.

Democrats for Life of America, a pro-life Democratic organization (where my husband Robert is a fellow), has taken a firm stand in calling for Congress to end to the shutdown. Here is their statement, “The Pro-Life Case for Ending the Shutdown”:

As individuals who support and endorse a whole life philosophy, we strongly urge the Republicans in the House – particularly those who share our commitment to the unborn – to end the budget showdown over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and work toward a budget that protects the sanctity of life at all levels.

Democrats for Life of America applauds the implementation of the (ACA).  Under the ACA, people with debilitating diseases-once considered uninsurable due to pre-existing conditions-can now receive life-saving health coverage.  Pregnant women are receiving essential care. And those who could not afford insurance are now eligible for preventive care that once was out of reach.

At the same time, we must point out that the ongoing shutdown of the federal government deprives many pregnant women of the WIC vouchers that ensure they get enough milk, protein, vegetables, and fruit to ensure the health of their unborn children.  And cancer patients-many of whom are children-have been blocked from receiving time-sensitive and potentially life-saving care at National Institutes of Health facilities.

We deplore the ongoing shutdown of the federal government, which is the result of one chamber’s unilateral attempt to accomplish through the budget process a feat for which the Constitution prescribes only legislation passed by both houses and approved by the President: the repeal of a duly passed law.

It is irresponsible for members of Congress to put the health of mothers and children at risk in this way. It is unconscionable for pro-life members of Congress to do so.

We can only hope that other pro-life leaders are paying attention and will join Democrats for Life in pressuring Congress before it is too late and irreplaceable lives are lost.