Tipping the Balance
A Fourth of July Lament
By Beverly Hurwitz MD
It was firecracker-night in the ER. Amidst burned fingers and faces came a social worker, seeking a sexual abuse evaluation for an 8-year-old. At least they thought she was eight; the local school had no record of her. Skinny and dirty, she’d just been rescued from a residence where intoxicated adults accidentally started a fire. I’ll spare you the heartbreaking details of her exam.
On the Fourth of July, Americans celebrate freedom from tyranny, yet thousands of unloved children are living in tyranny as we celebrate.
Globally, the birth of one in three children is never recorded, leaving them without identity, nationality and the rights of citizenship.
While some abandoned children get adopted, many never do, especially if they’re afflicted with a physical defect.
Some get sold to the human trafficking industry to become organ donors. Others wind up as slaves.
Some survive on the street by running drugs and prostituting themselves.
Some wind up as tortured prisoners, like the thirteen emaciated siblings found chained to beds in California.
Only the most extreme cases make the news. Media attention is given to newborns in garbage cans or abused children who become corpses, but the stories of shaken babies and the starved, beaten, raped, and suicidal children that sometimes get discovered, are too common to be news. And then, there are many unknown cases.
Tragically, people who claim to be “Pro-Life”, are often unwilling to support the lives of the unwanted children whose births they would coerce.
These people reside mostly in low-tax states that have inadequate resources to help at-risk children.
“Pro-Lifers” often vote against programs that help impoverished parents provide nutrition for their children. They rather see kids malnourished and poisoned by toxic water and air than restrict polluters.
“Pro-Lifers” often vote against Medicaid, denying children healthcare. They’d seemingly rather see kids crippled by polio than support universal vaccination.
“Pro-Lifers” often vote against public education financing, and against gun laws that would protect children from being slaughtered in their classrooms.
“Pro-Lifers” disallow loving same-sex couples to adopt, while thousands of unloved children languish in foster care.
“Pro-Lifers” support politicians who separate infants and children from their refugee parents, and let them die in concentration camp conditions.
“Pro-Lifers” believe that a woman must bear an accidentally conceived child in spite of lacking the resources to care for that child because of young age, poor health, disability, poverty, homelessness, or maybe, entrapment in an abusive relationship.
“Pro-Lifers” would force a raped child to bear the rapist’s child, and would force poor families to bear genetically defective children.
“Po-Lifers” insist it is they who get to determine fetal outcomes, even though up to 50% of fertilized eggs perish before pregnancy is recognized, up to 20% of embryos are naturally discarded shortly after pregnancy is recognized, and at least 10% of fetuses are naturally discarded before they can survive outside of the womb. Prior to the age of neonatal intensive care, 90% of prematurely born fetuses died. Today, 90% of such fetuses get “saved”; but the younger they are, the more severe are their impairments, the care for which “Pro-Lifers” also don’t want to support.
How many “Pro-Lifers” would offer a child sex-slave a home? Before the social worker even found a safe place for our 8-year-old patient to stay that Fourth of July night, she was called on to evaluate another case of child abuse.
Learn more about the issues surrounding reproductive justice on my website at:
and in my novel: Nobody Else’s Business, available at: