By Joleigh Little, region coordinator/WTL director, Wisconsin Right to Life
She’s tiny, she’s vulnerable, her life has infinite potential, and she is the reason that I am in turn hopeful and terrified for the outcome of the 2012 elections.
For every election prior to this that statement described the nameless, faceless unborn child for whom I fought. For whom we all fight. Even though I couldn’t see her face and would never meet her in person, her life, her future, and her safety were everything to me—as they are to all of you. She is the reason we work tirelessly, sacrificing sleep, sustenance, and (frequently) sanity to see that leaders are put into office who will protect her and the millions of others just like her.
A particular little girl was conceived in the late fall of 2008. Around the same time we were working, once again, to elect candidates who would protect life, her life was just beginning—chances are her birth mom didn’t even know she was there.
At that point she was still just “the nameless child” for whom I had been fighting in every election since 1986. I pictured her floating there, safe and warm and I told myself that it was up to me—up to all of us in the right to life movement—to do everything we could to save her life and secure her future.
This election, things are a little bit different for me, because that unborn child of November 2008 now has a name and a face. She is three years old. She has beautiful brown eyes and a head full of shiny, black hair that curls around her cheeks. She has a giggle that surely makes angels sing, she is plucky, she is determined.
And she is my daughter. Because of Clara, I fight even harder for all abortion-vulnerable children.
But there’s another reason this election means more to me than the previous 12 combined.
Simply put, the dangers posed for my daughter and others like her are greater than they have ever been.
We are facing an election in which one candidate—he who currently holds the highest office in our land—has zero respect for the lives of the vulnerable.
My little girl was born at 29 weeks’ gestation—an age at which viable children are aborted every day in our country—children to whom President Obama has repeatedly denied protection both prior to birth and even after surviving the abortion procedure.
He voted four times as a state senator in Illinois to deny protection to children born alive during the course of an abortion. (If you haven’t yet seen the TV commercial starring my friend Melissa Ohden, herself born alive in the course of a saline abortion, please go to http://www.sba-list.org/melissa and watch—and share her story far and wide.)
As if that were not horrifying enough, in 2009 President Obama’s nightmare “health care” bill passed—one that will ration and outright deny health care to many people whose quality of life doesn’t measure up to not yet established government standards. It is one thing to imagine any person being denied treatment because someone else’s life is considered more valuable and more worthy of the dollars that will pay for their care. It is entirely another to realize that your daughter—the love of your whole life—might well be denied care because she has physical challenges that make her “less” in the eyes of many government bureaucrats.
There is infinitely more at stake for me in this election than in those previous. I think anyone who is a parent can say the same thing. We are fighting now, not just for children, but for our children. I think this is especially true of those of us who have children with special needs. I have shuddered to read stories in the past year of where Obama-style health care rationing and bioethics have taken us. A little girl in Pennsylvania was denied a kidney transplant—one in which a family member would be donating the organ—simply because of, in the actual words of the transplant doctor, her “mental retardation.”
I watch as life-and-death health care decisions for vulnerable children and adults are being made, more and more often, not by their families who love them and want to fight for them, but by bean counters, pencil pushers, and hospital “ethics” committees who focus not on individual worth and the value and dignity of every life, but on what it costs to keep someone alive. For them these costs often outweigh the value they place on a particular life.
This infuriated me as a right to life advocate as I helped to find treatment for individuals being denied care.
It terrifies me beyond words as Clara’s mom. If Clara ever needs health care beyond the basics, will she be looked at as less because she has special needs? Will her little friends with Down syndrome, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy be considered less because of their conditions? Will the judgment calls be made based on physical ability or cognitive ability? Who will decide? Where will the line be drawn? Will the line be drawn?
One need only look to history to understand the evil that can result when a society loses respect for any human life—especially based on “level of ability.” We cannot let the evil that says some lives are “more worthy” than others permeate this great land of ours. We cannot let politicians who count dollars and cents as more valuable than human lives govern us. We cannot let our nation fall, once again, into the hands of an administration that denies protection to our tiniest and our most vulnerable citizens.
I have worked hard in every election since 1986, as have so many of you, to elect pro-life candidates on every level. But I promise you that the drive I felt then is nothing compared to the soul wrenching urgency I feel as we begin the final stretch of the race whose finish line lies on November 6. You see, I’m fighting this time around for a very specific reason. She’s tiny, she’s vulnerable, her life has infinite potential, and she calls me “mommy.”
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