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The “Pro-Life” Movement Is Silent About Children Dying at the Border

The “pro-life” movement’s disregard for the lives of children lost at the border belies its true nature.

Activists hold photos of migrant children who died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, as they demonstrate standing on the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry bridge, on June 27, 2019, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

I have learned of the demonstrations and other ways Americans are mobilizing to protest the mistreatment of children seeking asylum at U.S. borders from a number of organizations and outlets, but none of them include so-called pro-life organizations.

Nothing on the homepage of National Right to Life, which spent $270,000 lobbying against abortion in 2018, would suggest the containment of children in cages on U.S. soil is among its most pressing concerns. Its Instagram feed does not feature any images of migrant jails nor of migrant children — some of whom are infants — separated from their asylum-seeking parents.

Instead, Right to Life’s social media feed claims that all of the candidates in the Democratic debate “support a policy of abortion on demand. And they want taxpayers to pay for it.” It is well-documented that federal funding of Planned Parenthood does not cover abortion services (per Title X) save for very narrow cases approved by Medicaid. They don’t mention, however, that the administration’s migrant jails, which currently hold nearly 53,000 people (including children), are staffed and maintained directly by American tax dollars.

It’s unfathomable that the same rhetoric “pro-life” activists use to defend the rights of what they consider to be unborn children clearly does not apply to defending actually living, asylum-seeking children undoubtedly suffering tremendous abuse after being separated from their parents. Many of these children have been observed by lawyers allowed to visit migrant jails, reporting a total lack of access to beds, soap, toothbrushes and adequate food.

Once upon a time, I marched on Washington with a throng of “pro-life” demonstrators on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. However, the disconnect between their impassioned concern for the women entering abortion clinics and their blatant disregard for the well-being of those exiting the same clinics caused me far too much cognitive dissonance to stay aligned with the “pro-life” movement.

So it comes as no surprise that the leaders, lobbyists and other activists who march annually on Washington to decry abortion are silent in the face of those born into the hands of violence and poverty.

I saw it at the abortion clinics where “pro-lifers” were quick to organize prayer vigils but never seemed to wonder what happened to the teenage mother with no ride home from her own abortion. I am saddened but unsurprised that their outrage does not extend to the 17-year-old mother from Guatemala, whom The New York Times reported could not stand due to complications from an emergency C-section while caring for a sick and unwashed premature baby at Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas.

If there is a modicum of concern offered for the detained from self-described pro-life voters, it seems to center around how this immigration debacle is merely a continuation of the bad conditions under President Obama.

They are silent as the administration fumbles in trying to reunite separated families, having grossly underestimated the number of children who were separated over the first two years of the Trump administration. Further, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reported that a child in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody had not died in more than a decade until this past December, from which time at least six other children have died in Border Patrol custody.

Children are dying at our doorstep, exhausted, underfed and alone. It is revealing of the so-called pro-life’s movements true motivations that this horror is being ignored by its leading organizations.

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