How much do some of our pro-lifers really care about life? Really, do they just care for those in utero but once out, well, good luck, because those kids are now on their own?
I ask that because of the great dichotomy seen in many of the self-professed “pro-life” legislators in our state.
These are the guys and gals — led by Kathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy — who pass all kinds of laws to restrict abortions in our state. Though quiet in the most recent session, they have been busy trying to limit the number of abortions in our state. And we’ve had fewer abortions in the last year.
Which is fine, if they were trying to actually help women and their kids. After all, none of us really want abortions to be a de facto birth control.
But these pro-lifers suddenly stop being so pro-life once those babies enter our world.
We’ve seen how penurious they’ve been in funding Child Protective Services, leaving our most vulnerable kids — most in poverty — prey to horrible parents.
And the evidence of these pro-lifers’ indifference to life abounds. The latest of which is how they treat the working poor parents.
I’m not talking about health insurance, the expansion of which most pro-life Republicans opposed.
I’m speaking of the horrible choice they’ve forced working poor parents to make: quit work to be with their kids and fall back into even greater poverty or to continue work and have no child care for their kids.
Here’s what’s happened in our state over the last four years: The Republican majority in the state legislature and the Republican governor have sliced subsidies for child care to zero. And frozen enrollment in the child care subsidy program. It has left 20,000 kids without a subsidy.
A recent Arizona Daily Star story outlines this shameful behavior.
Even as poverty grew in our state, the subsidies for child care fell from $194 million (mostly federal dollars) in 2009 down to $107 million (almost all federal dollars) for this fiscal year.
Which means that 43 percent fewer kids today have child care subsidies than in 2009, even as kids in poverty grew.
Now, some kind of cut might seem reasonable, given that we just went through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
But today? We have several hundred million dollars in a state “rainy day” fund even as the legislature appropriated a whopping $9 million more for the subsidies. As the Star’s story notes, that money will be absorbed by CPS for the “troubled families” child care subsidy.
Which means healthy families that are poor, the single mom busting her tail to keep her family afloat, the husband and wife working two minimum wage/no benefit jobs to keep the family in an apartment and fed, won’t get any help in child care for their kids.
But that’s okay. Our faux pro-lifers thump their chests, proud to note how they “protect the unborn.” Even as they make the lives of the “born” that much more desperate, that much more hopeless.
Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.