Three years ago, I attended a conference at Princeton that was intended to bring pro-life and pro-choice advocates together to find common ground. Its success was, shall we say, limited. But one moment of vehement agreement came when pro-lifers and pro-choicers alike expressed frustration with politicians who talk about their opposition to abortion and respect for life while at the same time cutting funding for social welfare programs.
You see, pregnancy assistance centers can’t meet the needs of the women and children they serve on their own. One of the services many centers provide is helping mothers connect with programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) so they and their children can get enough to eat. Centers like Birthright in Salina, Kansas:
“If this shutdown continues, girls won’t get the vouchers they need for baby formula,” said Linda Campbell, director of Birthright. “We will have hungry babies in Salina. A lot of our clients are very low-income. If they don’t get their WIC vouchers, who knows what will happen.
“I can’t see letting our babies go hungry and starve to death.”
The shutdown has left a portion of the federal workforce furloughed and services suspended, including funding for the WIC program that helps families up to 180 percent of the poverty line.
Campbell said Birthright, a crisis pregnancy service, helps women in need, giving emergency formula and other help. She said many of her clients are on WIC.
The government shutdown isn’t just a political game — it’s hurting real women and children.
It’s not just WIC, either. Domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers that receive federal funds authorized under the Violence Against Women Act and other programs face critical losses of funding. And then there are the cancelled cancer trials, the inability of the CDC to respond quickly to a widespread salmonella outbreak, the debilitating effects of loss of income on the households of federal employees, and so many more life-diminishing effects.
Democrats for Life is challenging pro-life groups to call for an end to the shutdown. We join them in that challenge.
US supporters: Please call and ask your Representative to end the shutdown with no strings attached. You can find your House members using Contacting the Congress. Please call and make the pro-life case against the shutdown.