Friday, October 28, 2016
I am a momma bear to a special boy with extraordinary medical needs. I am fiercely loyal and protective of those I love and care about. And that's how I became an advocate for the special needs community too, speaking up for those without a voice. Many of you may know about the Special Legislative Sessions in Louisiana this year and the budget cuts proposed would mean cuts to healthcare and higher education. Our "brilliant" state constitution dictates those are the only places to be cut. It meant that thousands of individuals with special needs in our state on waiver programs were all at risk of being cut. These programs help individuals remain housed with family, get medical equipment desperately needed and gain access to supplies they need to care for these individuals.
This momma bear and advocate jumped into action and started spending time on "the hill" at the Louisiana State Capitol in Senate and House committees that make decisions affecting this funding. I didn't want anything to do with politics, and I resented feeling like I was forced to be there to plead for funding for my son and his friends. For many, this funding is the difference between a quality life and certain death. Before all this, I thought I knew which political party stood for pro-life. But let me tell you, there are no clear lines here anymore.
I observed Republican legislators fight for bills to ban late term abortion, and prevent abortion measures against an unborn child diagnosed with Down Syndrome. This is what I would have anticipated witnessing. But I did not see them doing what I observed Democrat legislators doing - fight for human rights and services for the disabled community throughout their lifespan. It was confusing to me as a Christian.
I had believed that the "pro-life" stance meant a "right to life," protecting the lifespan of an individual. But the sad truth is that "pro-life" no longer means that. Now a legislator can claim to be "pro-life" when they really mean they are just "pro-birth." Legislators who claim to be "pro-choice" have shown more fight for the human lifespan than Republicans who claim to protect it.
Let me explain a bit further. This year Republicans voted in a bill to protect termination of the unborn diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Those very same Republicans refused to pass measures that would sustain waiver program funding for the disabled community. As a Christian, I am heartbroken with disappointment to understand that their stance really is "pro-birth" and not "pro-life." Does it make sense to you that Republicans would force a woman to have a child with a lifetime disability, yet do nothing to actually support the needs of that same child? Where is the Christianity in these actions? A lifetime of forced medical debt, isolation, emotional and financial suffering is NOT the Christian thing to do to a family. The divorce rate in the special needs community has been estimated to be above 80%. When the number one root cause of divorce of any family is financial problems, you are setting the family unit up to fail with this action.
Yes, there are many blessings in parenting a special needs individual. But it does take hope and faith to see past the daily muck we must trudge through. But blessings and feelings don't pay the bills that come and often surpasses several hundreds of thousands of dollars. For some families, those financial medical burdens will surpass the million dollar mark before a second or third birthday.
While Democrats have traditionally been "pro-choice," they demonstrated support for measures to support funding for the disabled community, through elderly care. So now must I choose to support both "pro choice" and "pro lifespan" to achieve my goals to support my community?
Do you see the conundrum here, Christians?
We can no longer blindly support a "pro-life" candidate. Are they really pro-life or really pro-birth only?
"My people" must also know where they stand on the disabled community, SPECIFICALLY. We must know where they stand on elderly affairs - what is their LIFESPAN stance? Or dare I say stance on HUMANITY?
I saw Republicans refuse to vote in any revenue-raising measures because they were more worried about re-electability than doing the right thing for their fellow voting constituents who struggle as special needs families. I don't think that's very Christian at all.
Now what we really need to see spelled out for us, is their stance on:
- Pro-birth vs. Pro-choice
- Pro-Lifespan Support Measures (Pro-Humanity) vs Anti-Lifespan Support Measures
I have always been an independent voter with no political affiliation. I don't need anyone else thinking for me by suggesting I blindly elect someone because of a party affiliation. I don't think it's that simple. And now I KNOW it's not that simple.
I also want to know their stance on:
- Medical marijuana
- Expanded waiver supports
- Healthcare coverage
- Supports for elderly
The waters are very murky. There are no easy answers. Let's have some respect for differing opinions. Let's not condemn others for making different choices from our own. But I wanted to warn my Christian counterparts that "pro-life" may not mean what you think it does and to do your diligent research before voting. It's time to dig deeper.