Abused children who are beaten into becoming abusers.

Abused children who are beaten into becoming abusers.

A common adage reminds us that it takes a village to raise a child. It follows that when a parent or parents are unable (for whatever reason) to adequately care for that child, the village becomes responsible for rearing him or her. As population levels continue to cause concern around the globe and more and more children (even in the United States) find themselves forced to grow up in adverse circumstances some are beginning to think that, perhaps, the “village” needs to be a bit more proactive in preventing these problems.

The Pro-Life Problem

Discarded in dumpsters.

Discarded in dumpsters.

The pro-life/pro-choice debate is one that has challenged societies around the planet for centuries. In recent decades, however, the debate appears to have become even more heated. Despite the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the country continues to struggle with the problem of raising children for whom adequate parental care is not available. Pro-life advocates continue to argue against the practice of abortion (even in the case of rape and incest) and the morning-after pill, but we worry that perhaps they aren’t thinking about the long term consequences of their advocacy. If we are “pro-life”, we should be more than “pro-birth”; we need to be “pro-quality-of-life”.

Keeping this in mind, perhaps these individuals should be pushing for regulation that could further protect all children after they have been born. Children in homes that cannot afford to feed them or take care of them become a burden on the community through no fault of their own, it’s all just a lottery with dire consequences. They were irresponsibly brought into the world by people who didn’t have the capability of providing them with adequate care (whether they are mentally or emotionally unstable, financially incapable, or have a lifestyle incompatible with childrearing) – a situation that could have been avoided with a bit more planning.

Paternalism

Abused children who must wait 4 years before even a teacher sees the damage.

Abused children who must wait 4 years before even a teacher sees the damage.

When drivers on highways continued to die, the state stepped in to mandate the use of safety belts and require that those who wished to operate a motor vehicle study for and receive a driver’s license. When emergency rooms and hospitals were flooded with uninsured individuals seeking medical care at the expense of society-at-large, the state stepped in and mandated the ownership of personal health insurance. When the safety and rights of society are threatened, the state has a moral responsibility to intervene; some call this behavior “paternalism”… we call it “duty”.

Thus, we would urge citizens and lawmakers to consider whether or not it might be appropriate for the state to require that would-be parents become licensed before giving birth. They would be evaluated for mental wellbeing, financial and emotional stability, etc., before being permitted to reproduce. There are a number of ways that this could be enforced – parents who produce children without a license could be subject to substantial tax burden, as occurs in China. Further, the state may consider removing this child from those parents and placing him or her into protective custody while the parents enter a correctional facility to repay their debt to society.

It Takes a Village

Children left at churches, police stations, by parents who did not and could not offer a safe life.

Children left at churches, police stations, by parents who did not and could not offer a safe life.

We are “the village”, and we have a responsibility to raise the children we produce responsibly and effectively. We must work to ensure that all children are reared in suitable homes with plenty to eat and the access to learning and opportunity that they need to carry our society forward. We do ourselves and these children a disservice when we recklessly allow them to enter our society without any planning or due diligence on our part.

Children in unfit homes become an immediate burden on society. They utilize food stamp and other welfare programs, driving up these costs, while depleting revenues by allowing sometimes unfit individuals to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Additionally, given their poor early quality of life, these children are often unable to take advantage of educational opportunities that are given to them and are much more statistically likely to become involved with crime activity later on in life as a result – a greater burden on society.

Malnutrition, poverty, and hopelessness.

Malnutrition, poverty, and hopelessness.

We aren’t advocating that several thousands of children are immediately ripped away from their families and we aren’t arguing for the same sort of strict limitations placed on societies like has been the case in modern-day China. Rather, we are simply calling out for a common-sense solution that should be acceptable to thoughtful individuals on either side of the aisle. Just like a bit of family planning can make a huge difference in the lives of an individual family unit, we think a bit of country-wide family planning can make a world of difference for our nation.

39 comments

  1. Paul Jones says:

    All excellent points!

  2. Ming Demmerle says:

    Are you kidding? This is one of the most disturbing articles I have ever read, especially coming from a so-called religious organization. Before I go off on a never-ending rant, read the following article and perhaps you will understand the dangers of allowing the government to control our fertility/birth rates: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/11/indian-women-die-mass-sterilisation-camp?CMP=ema_565
    And don’t say that wouldn’t happen here. We just cover things up a little better. By the way–I find it interesting that we are required to post our name to leave a comment, yet the author of this heinous article didn’t have the courage and/or decency to sign his/her real name, and hid behind the name of the organization…

    1. wftphd says:

      It’s an editorial.

    2. KA says:

      The article isn’t talking about the government taking responsibility, it’s talking about PEOPLE taking responsibility, when people don’t take responsibility, the government or the church steps in (such as in India). People without access to education and conception prevention are the hardest hit on this level (such as women in India).

  3. Stella says:

    Thanks to whoever wrote this thoughtful article – I couldn’t agree more. The pro-life people seem to believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth because they aren’t concerned with quality of life. I grew up in one of those horrible families you read about in the newspaper – but nothing was ever done to my parents. I was beaten regularly for 17 years with belts, switches, fists, thrown across rooms; terrorized emotionally; sexually abused; had a loaded gun held to my held with my dad’s finger on the trigger threatening to kill me; and on and on. The result was I have complex PTSD and it has had significant consequences in my life. Thankfully, I was able to overcome a lot – some spark they couldn’t kill in me. But I am not the norm. Most children who grow up like I did are alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, homeless, criminals, etc. I was never any of those things. But I live alone without family or friends trusting no one. I work and go home and that is my life. I don’t bother anyone and spend my time with books, music and animals. It is more of an existence than a life. And perhaps as bad as the abuse was the the ‘village’ also failed me. Covered in bruises and often bleeding, withdrawn and depressed, and not one person ever intervened on my behalf. There were neighbors, teachers, and clergy who knew what was going on and not one ever stepped in on my behalf. Hence I trust no one because of the message that was sent – that I wasn’t worth anything. I don’t believe that now but I did for most of my life and I’m now in my mid-50’s. And somehow the pro life people believe this existence is better than abortion. My parents would have done me a favor if they had aborted me. The problem with abortion is it is not used often enough. It is so easy for these pro life people to condemn others but they know not of what they speak. Try walking a mile in my shoes and perhaps they would think differently. Children deserve love and affection from their parents and if that can’t be provided then they shouldn’t be born. Almost every day the news is filled with murdered children, abused children, thrown away children, etc. and yet more and more states are outlawing abortion, forbidding sex education in the schools or birth control for teens. It is insanity at best and cruelty at worst. There are tens of millions of unwanted and unloved children in the world and we see the results daily as those described in the article. As for those like me who aren’t a burden on society – we live a lonely existence biding our time. And don’t speak of god. As KOL sings “no one ever carried my load” except me. It isn’t easy posting this and I’m not looking for pity or sympathy – I have no expectations of people. But I want them to seriously think about the consequences of unwanted and unloved children. Not just to society as a whole, but to the often bleak existences they lead as adults. Surely we deserved better.

    1. Chanel Hilliard says:

      ((hugs)) You are correct

    2. Cynthia says:

      Thank you for your great and IMO a very true statment!!! These “pro-birthers” seem to not think past the birth. I stand with you!

  4. Liz W. says:

    I appreciate that this article did NOT mention adoption. This is what the forced-birthers want, women to be broodmares for those who cannot have their own children. It’s about control, it’s not about being ‘pro-life’ at all.

  5. wftphd says:

    “I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.” (Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun)

  6. Deborah Estep says:

    Everyone has an opinion. Therein lies our problem. Where do your “rights” end and mine begin. Who gets to determine the list of “rights” and “responsibilities”? I believe that our children are our greatest “gift” and our collective responsibility. After all, it will be our children who reflect how we as a generation of adults lived our lives. When we make decisions about the welfare of our children, maybe we should consider the framework of “unto the 7th generation”. What we do today has an impact on what we become tomorrow. Save the children! I just can’t visualize the “solution” to the problem right now. It is bigger than I am but I can begin at “home” – in my own neighborhood, my own town. I can do something even if it is only to donate food to my local food cupboard, offer to babysit at a local women’s shelter, donate gently worn clothing or some other small solution to a bigger problem. Maybe these small gestures will relieve the pressure in a family and prevent some abuse. If enough of us step up anyway we can and become part of the “solution” than I believe our children will prosper. We all make choices and I choose to start somewhere to be part of the solution. Caring for our children is a complex undertaking. Sometimes the village is not the best place for them to be. This is just my opinion.

    1. Jo-An Josephine says:

      Well Said Deborah!!

  7. Toni Guy says:

    My great grandmother married at 13 and had 21 children, back to back, 14 of whom died and she died at age 40 in childbirth. She had no sex education, no access to contraception or abortion and couldn’t tell her husband “no”. This is what the “pro-lifers” want for women. I don’t call this pro-life at all. If there was better sexuality education, access to effective birth control methods and real support for children in this society women could and would manage their own fertility. Reproductive slavery is not the answer.

    1. Harmon Biehl says:

      Tony, your dysfunctional family problems have clouded your thinking and your situation is not the norm. The norm is young women having unprotected sex by choice and when they are pregnant they use abortion as birth control. This is what the problem is. Planning a family is simple enough. People used to do it, but not today. Women just keep having unprotected sex and then they have an abortion to get rid of an unwanted child. Free abortions should be available to women suffering from sex crimes but free sex education should be available to men and women of child bearing years. Simply look at the statistics to see how many children are murdered every year and the numbers are rising. I am sorry Did I say Murdered? There is a politically correct term for murdering children today but it escapes me. Oh Yah! The word is Abortion.
      The Psychiatric world is full of women that have suffered from abortion and the stats on that are:1 dad and one wounded. Many times the woman having an abortion needs another operation to fix the botched abortion, which is the norm.
      The problem is complex but the solution is simple. Quit having unprotected sex unless you want a child.
      Be Blessed;
      Johnny Cache…..

      1. Stella says:

        Harmon Biehl – you live in a fantasy world if you think teenage girls aren’t going to have unprotected sex. And what about the boys? Don’t they have an equal responsibility to have protected sex? And for the record birth control is not infallible. You talk about wounded dads – what about all the deadbeat dads who have fathered children and refuse to support them? My guess is there are a lot more of them than the wounded. And regarding surgeries to correct botched abortions – that was when they were illegal. Legal abortion is safer than virtually any other surgery. And about those psychiatric wards filled with women who have had abortions – that is just crap with absolutely no statistical proof to back it up. You have a right to oppose abortion; you don’t have the right to make up fallacies to justify your opinion.

      2. KA says:

        Once again it’s the woman’s fault for having sex.
        This argument has never been about abortion.
        It’s about controlling women, because they are so out of control you know.
        Exactly who are these women having sex with? Oh yeah, men. Men who are not taking EQUAL responsibility in the acts of their sexuality.
        AND
        Children are often sexually curious, the part of their brain that develops choice and consequence does not develop until they are in their 20’s (look it up). That’s why they need parents. Parents that are capable of talking with them about their sexual safety and their sexual responsibilities.
        BTW, I work with women seeking abortion, these women are NOT using abortion as a form of birth control.
        Women can be trusted to choose when and how their children come into this world, that is why they are in charge of this process and not men.

      3. Nancy Paris says:

        You emphasize women having unprotected sex. What about men? They are just as responsible for new life, but walk away without a thought of their actions. Abortions performed in first trimester by planned parenthood clinics are safer than birth. Women I have known did not suffer psychology because it was a thoughtful choice of what was best.

  8. Imam Khatib Ayotollah Mujtahideh, Lady Malika Maryaum Allahumma says:

    Imam Khatib Ayotoallah Mujtahideh Lady, Malika Maryaum Allahumma

    We are thankful to receive the Newsletter by themonastery and this is a great article which should not be taken lightly but seriously. ‘Take the Babies?’ Posted on November 10, 2014 by Universal Life Church Monastery

    This article have touch my soul deeply. This has been a great impact emotionally Universality worldwide that children are being abused, raped or even murderd (killed) If, not that abandoned which is so ungodly…this is every… day, hour, minute, second. You would wonder if it will ever end.

    There are so many loving people in the world who would love to have children especially those whom cannot produce would want to even go as far as to adoption But is deeper than that!

    GOD IS TESTING OUR FAITH

    Know that all things are possible through GOD. In prayer we must be interceders before our Lord that he may intercede on behalf of ourselves that in our prayers shall be thereupon GODS hands to look about protecting our children worldwide, up/down the fro of the lands on four corners of our plantation. THESE ARE OUR BABIES
    May He blesseth the gaurdians to be a gaurd, a protector and watcher over these our children and babies. And may He grant us, our people to have the ability to do right by our children and protect them from abuse. May God grant all abusers to be exorcised and redeem from demonic forces of “DeBusors!” Meanwhile, we must do the right thing! Take the Babies!

    May we forevermore, give God Allah Hashim Adony Yahovah Ya Allah the honor and praise. Amin

  9. Chanel Hilliard says:

    Great article except for the Paternalism. While I can agree with the first paragraph, the second one is totally unacceptable and not realistic.

  10. Matthew says:

    In other words, the illegitimate children are the problem and not the irresponsibility/sexual immorality of the people.
    I simply disagree with this article, for the real perpetrators are the unchaste.

    1. KA says:

      So you get to be judge and jury of the unchaste? And the arbitrator of morality. Hmmmm. Didn’t see that job description posted.

  11. James M says:

    Eugenics redux.

  12. Tom says:

    Educate on the biology AND the concept that PLANNING is cool. Abortion should be available, safe and rare. We need to bring back the cultural shame of poor planning. Shame of unplanned pregnancy as a norm does not exist anymore in many pockets of our U.S. culture. Agree 100% that the pro-life crowd seem hypocritical when they don’t also desire to support the less fortunate after birth. PLANNING is COOL!

    I found the article provocative. It mirrors the adoption process that we seem to accept as reasonable. However, implementation would be impossible and criminalization of unlicensed birth culturally and politically unacceptable.

    Educate.

  13. Al says:

    “Pro-quality-of-life” makes for a great slogan but you have to have life in order to have quality. I agree 100% that planning is important in growing families but once created we do not have the right to abort that life. The Bible speaks a great deal about nations that mistreat the poor. It is one of the conditions that brought down Israel. The answer to poor families is not killing their children. America spends enough money killing children in its endless wars that it should be able to come up with the money to assist the poor children in this nation. The liberalization of the Christian faith is also contributing to the destruction of the American family. Churches have a duty to help poor families so the raising of children can be a community affair, to some degree, with the poor.

  14. Jaded says:

    Interesting Idea. here is another one, why are Pro lifers always Pro death penalty and Pro choice people are against the death penalty? I do agree with most of the article, except for the licensing part. Its a bit too nazi-ish for me.

  15. lmblackb4 says:

    The problem issues involving the young from birth to the grave are pretty much ignored by most American Institutions and policy makers everywhere in our country. Why? Because every entity capable of impacting our lives from the birthing bed to the crematorium is driven by GREED, STUPIDITY and IGNORANCE rather than LOVE, COMPASSION and HONESTY.

    High schools suck. Not each and every one them, but many, even most of them. I say this because high school sucked sixty years ago and it still sucks today. I take this hard-nosed position concerning high schools and the American system of education because throughout my years of experience as a teacher, college administrator, anti-poverty program director, corporate representative to six college advisory boards, and more I have encountered far too many young people unable to complete an employment application for McDonalds. Several weeks ago I read an article on-line, which I will paraphrase: (This statement was made by an Educational Administrator in the Office of the National Secretariat of Education).
    He said, “When the day arrives that our (Chinese) students in the Third Grade can not outperform American students in the Eighth Grade, I will resign my post and demand a thorough going investigation of our educational system.” What more of a scathing indictment of one of the most critical education instruments in America could anyone ever imagine.

    I used to think the word “ASSHOLE” was invented by the Law enforcement community to identify everybody else. This belief developed and crystallized over a period of ten years when I was an investigator of law enforcement and fire fighting agencies under indictment by the United States Justice Department for employment, training and promotional discrimination. Not so, Law Enforcement did not birth the word. It was invented by high school linguists to identify everybody else – parents, teachers and administrators included.

    America’s Schools are overrun with losers, boozers, molesters and various types of two-legged animals that have not yet been named. Public schools, in general, and especially from intermediate through high school, have been the unashamed bastions of street knowledge and little, or no, common sense. It is a fact that many of today’s students, even those graduating, experience great difficulty filling out a simple employment application, or passing a job-related pre-employment test.

    Is it too much to hope for that adults today will learn to support youth who will be the leaders of our Nation whether we rally around the idea or not. When you look history directly in the eye it is the youth of the nation that make the difference and determine the areas of progress or decline in any society. If you have ever mentored a young person, and want that person grow into an outstanding young adult then you know full well the duty of successfully passing the baton of the future on to a successor.

    So, why do I bring this up? I bring this up because we must make the youth of our nation a bastion of capable people. As adults, we must never complain that there are not sufficient numbers of capable people to carry out the mission for change within the political and religious fabrics of the world we live in. It is of significant importance that adults work assiduously for their own growth but it is more important to nurture the growth of others to foster capable people in the truest sense.

  16. KA says:

    I really hope that we do not have to sink to the depths of Paternalism. I believe education and access to be the key to our cultural success. Education and access not only to young people but to parents as well. So many parents are ill equipped to have open sexual conversations with their children even when they are well intentioned/ really want to.

    sigh…..

    Common sense is not incredibly common…………..

    1. John E. Wakkes says:

      That is an incredibly good point.

  17. Jason B. says:

    No, no, no… The answer lies in structuring a more compassionate society, not a more penalizing one! Our culture is so engrained in a capitalist, rat-race, dog-eat-dog mindset that it creates immense stress on families and individuals who aren’t given instruction or mechanisms to properly cope. The move toward privatization of all public institutions only increases the pressure in what I refer to as “The Squeeze” of contemporary American life. Evidently, this evil, corporate mindset has percolated into the imagination of the poor, lost soul who wrote this editorial. Disappointing…

  18. mariposasholistic says:

    The article was well written and I have always advocated that people thinking about having children should participate in classes about children. There is a vast misinformation about how to properly raise children, and discussion about their needs.

    Our government has a program to help children after they have been abused in some way or there is a call to attention. Prevention is key so our children in the US can have a quality of life that is shared by anyone regardless of social class or financial situation.

    Developing countries are trying to reduce population and I agree some of their means are actually costing the lives of women bearing children. However, the pro life debate of simply saving an unborn child and not helping the women who chose to bear them regardless if they were brought to this world through choice or force is not working for us.

    Our communities, states, and country as a whole must come together to help one another raise our standards and children so that all can have a positive life without fear of not enough food, housing, or potable water.

  19. Eleanor V says:

    Thank you for your article, and for the brave people who stood in support. Thank you, also, for those who shared their own abuse problems. May you find peace.

  20. jay says:

    Yes as a society we should protect our children, but we all know its not happening. Government influence has pros and cons . Society today is all about making profit ,so when it comes to saving children versus drilling for oil what do you think will have preference?

  21. Joe U says:

    I agree that every child deserves to be brought up in a loving and caring home, but the decision should be to not become pregnant. There are so many means of preventing pregnancy that abortion should not even be a consideration. The answer is not abortion but not becoming pregnant. When you participate in unprotected sex you made your choice. Our liberal society makes all kinds of excuses to justify the taking of innocent lives in the womb. Abortion should not be used as birth control. Because abortion is free and easy, people figure that as an option instead of protected sex “just in case”. That poor child feels the pain of being removed from the womb piece by piece. If you pulled an animal apart like that you would be jailed. I just wonder how many Martin Luther Kings, or Albert Einsteins were never born because they were aborted!

  22. Stella says:

    Hello???? Seriously???? You seem to think birth control is fool proof – it is not. Many women using birth control get pregnant – because they don’t want a child. So if they do get pregnant through no fault of their own then what do you suggest they do? I think you have bought into the anti-abortion hysteria. “That poor child feels the pain of being removed from the womb piece by piece.” Where did you hear that one? The majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester when the fetus is a few tablespoons – it is not formed so there is no removing piece by piece. But even if it were, in my opinion a woman has the right to decide whether to bring a child into the world. She knows best. And if she has to think about it and question it she probably shouldn’t.

  23. Jeffrey says:

    Are all of you telling me that it is better to kill an unborn human being, just to ‘save’ them from potential abuse? I know of a couple of important religious texts that say, “You will not commit murder”.

  24. Stella says:

    Jeffrey, I can’t speak for anyone but myself but I’ll comment. First you bring in religious texts, and then you refer to abortion as murder. So you lost me immediately because I don’t believe in either. But I will ask you a question. Do you think its better for a 12 year old girl to give birth; keep the child;’ and raise it with her parents who by the way abused her, will likely abuse the child and perhaps her dad had something to do with the pregnancy? What kind of life will that child have? Does it matter? Do the circumstances of birth and quality of life matter? People don’t like to think about these horrible things but they happen. Every single day there is something in the news about abused and murdered children. There are worse things in life than death, or even being born. And a life of abuse may be one of them. I think each individual circumstance needs to be considered. The blanket “abortion is murder” holds no merit in my mind. And the women I have known who had abortions made careful decisions about it. I will never forget a college acquaintance who had an abortion and was treated like a murderer by the good church-going folk. Her next pregnancy she opted for adoption and folks treated her even worse saying “what kind of mother would give up her own child?” She said if it happened again she would choose abortion. Now we can debate her two pregnancies and why they happened – I don’t know and I don’t care because it happens every day to women who use birth control and women who don’t. And ALL of these pregnancies resulted because men took no responsibility and left ALL of the consequences to the woman. That alone gives her the right to make the choice.

    1. Delia says:

      I think we should try to think in terms of the Love factor. If there was enough “love” in everyones heart wouldn’t even be an issue

      Love thy brother as thyself

      The child would be loved by all no matter race, creed, family financial situation or any other general trials and tribulations that the birthing family has.

      And the ‘Village” would step in and bare the burden, unfortunately our current society is not strong enough or is to burdened already.

      Thanks for reading
      Del’leah

      1. Stella says:

        Well thinking in terms of the “Love” factor is a utopian view that is unlikely to happen. Yesterday’s paper reported a man throwing his 5 year old daughter off a bridge and killing her. A town near mine recently charged a 23 year old woman with murder because she strangled her 3 month old son because he wouldn’t stop crying. Every single day the paper reports the murder and abuse of children – that likely weren’t wanted in the first place yet were forced upon them because of the anti-abortion crowd. And the village clearly failed them. Abortion isn’t a perfect solution but it is better than the deaths and torture these children endure after birth. IMO they would have been better off never being born. Abortion should remain safe and legal.

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