Politicians who fancy themselves ‘pro-life’ abound in the 28th legislature. However, as in the case of the Governor, the ‘pro-life’ label is a cruel hoax.
In their zeal to force poor women to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, as we see in Senator Coghill’s cynical bill to redefine ‘medically necessity’ for an abortion, many so-called ‘pro-life’ champions have hardened their hearts to the reality of poverty in Alaska. Tens of thousands of Alaska households live in poverty. Many of these folks are working poor — that means that they have a job but cannot make ends meet. Most of Alaska’s poor are children. This ‘pro-life’ governor and his allies in the Legislature advocate a budget that punishes the poor by denying them needed services.
For example, the governor refuses to expand health care to poor families. How is this a pro-life policy? Is partisan political posturing is more important to Sean Parnell and Leg. 28 than caring for the afflicted?
The governor’s budget cut education, particularly Pre-K programs. How is that ‘pro-life’? The governor’s proposed budget proposes cuts to educational staff across the state for the 3rd year in a row. How is that ‘pro-life’?
Other cuts affecting life are everywhere in the governors budget such as cuts to mental health and substance abuse services. In one particularly crass and cynical maneuver, a powerful ‘pro-life’ legislator who is a Leg. 28 chair refused last year to let a modest bill for hot breakfast and lunches for poor school children out of his committee because of his political thin-skin and partisan jealousy. This bill will come back up this year. There is no reason to believe he has changed his position. How is this ‘pro-life’?
In the realm of God’s creation, the thread of life is continuous. If any life is sacred, then all life is sacred. After all, in the parable of the Ark, God did not command Noah to just save people; he instructed salvation for a diversity of endangered species. Leg 28 is determined to make it easier to pollute, easier for cruise ships to dump waste, and easier for outside mining companies to destroy salmon habitat. How is that ‘pro-life’?
The Book of James tells us that it is not by faith alone but by our acts that we shall be judged. In James’ context, the Governor’s budget is an abomination.
Elstun W. Lauesen