Scott Maxwell: Caring about life shouldn't end at birth

I don't spend much time writing about abortion for two reasons:

1) It doesn't really matter what I say or how passionately I say it. On a topic like this, most folks have their minds made up.

2) While I have my own beliefs, I genuinely understand and respect some of the arguments and passions on both sides. (That alone frustrates some on each side.)

But one thing I do find remarkable is how politicians in Florida continue to invoke God's name on sanctity-of-life issues — yet only when it's convenient.

Right now, there are at least three different anti-abortion bills zipping through the state legislature — all of them championed by hard-line Republicans who claim to have a righteous respect for children and human life.

Yet their concern for human life seems to decline precipitously as soon as a child is born.

In recent years, legislators have cut programs to prevent child abuse and underfunded others meant to keep kids healthy. They have turned away money for the disabled — and even hospice funding meant to comfort children during the final days.

Forget cradle to grave. The "sanctity of life" that many of these politicians seem committed to protecting lasts merely from conception to birth.

After that, they lose interest.

And I dare say the God they so often cite does not share their convenient and concocted view of what life is sacred.

There are a few hard-liners who are actually consistent.

Dan Webster is one of them.

The former state House speaker was a crusader against abortion when he was in the state legislature. But Webster was also zealous about his belief that children should be protected and cared for after they are born — especially children who couldn't protect themselves.

That was why Webster, who's now a U.S. congressman, teamed up with other, consistent officials like former Senate President Toni Jennings to establish the Healthy Families initiative.

Healthy Families identifies potential child-abusers and helps prevent the abuse from happening. It's a proven success. A whopping 98 percent of those who completed the program don't end up abusing or neglecting their kids.

Yet after Webster left Tallahassee, his successors — the same ones now screaming about how much they value human life — started gutting the program.

Webster was very clear about the impact: Young lives would be lost.

He even traveled back to the state capital, pleading with them to reconsider their cuts. Webster told legislators that Healthy Families made both financial and moral sense — that spending $1,600 in prevention easily compensated for the $65,000 spent on every child abuse case. He called the program "a sterling example of what works when we invest wisely — saving dollars and, even more important, saving lives."

Yet he was ignored.

Featured Stories



Top Trending Videos