FIRST-PERSON: Are their lives not worth living?
ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)--What is more preferable than being a child born into a poor home? According to Rep. Gwen Moore the alternative is being aborted -- killed in your mother's womb.
Children in poor homes, particularly single parent homes, are subjected to "eating Ramen noodles" and "mayonnaise sandwiches," Moore said during a debate in the House of Representatives over a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood of federal tax dollars.
The Democrat from Wisconsin also strongly implied that aborting an "unplanned" child is preferred because poor children must endure substandard education and grow up with the stigma of being poor. The House debate was televised Feb. 17 on C-SPAN.
Rep. Moore's support of continued federal funding for Planned Parenthood focused on abortion because the organization is the largest provider of abortions in the United States. Moore, no doubt, is very aware of this fact.
Interesting was Rep. Moore's support of Planned Parenthood's abortion services. Her argument was essentially that women, especially poor single women, should be able to abort their children because children born into an economically challenged home will experience a diminished quality of life.
Rep. Moore makes it clear that she believes a poor child is likely to experience a diminished quality of life that is simply not worth living. As a result, she reasons that it might be better for a child to never taste life than to have to taste "Ramen noodles" or meatless sandwiches.
Quality of life is an argument frequently made by those who support abortion and euthanasia. However, in order to make their case, the proponents of both practices must impose their own subject criteria for what constitutes "quality" onto other people's lives.
Rep. Moore's subjective determination is that consuming "Ramen noodles" or "mayonnaise sandwiches" does not constitute a quality of life. While I agree there are other foods more appetizing, how in the world can Moore say that never being born is preferable to eating noodles and meatless sandwiches?
When I was working on my bachelor's degree, and then later my master's, I had a very meager income. Some would have even considered me to be poor. While I was not a big fan of noodles, staples in my diet were Vienna sausages and pimento cheese sandwiches.
Did the fact that my income did not allow me eat like a king diminish my quality of life? While it would have been nice to have eaten better in those days, my lack of steak and potatoes did not make me enjoy life any less. In fact, there are many aspects of that time in my life that I recall with great fondness.
Rep. Moore's assessment that a child born into a poor home and forced to eat noodles and mayonnaise sandwiches is better off to have never been born makes an incredible assumption.
In order to hold her view, Moore must believe that a child born into meager circumstances has no hope for advancement. The child, in her estimation, is doomed to a quality of life forever defined by Ramen noodles.
It is a bit disheartening to have an elected official who holds such a cynical and pessimistic view of the economic opportunities that America affords individuals. The child born into poverty has the opportunity to improve his or her economic quality of life. Hamburger, chicken and even steak can replace noodles and meatless sandwiches.
Stories abound of individuals who were born into deep poverty only to eventually improve the quality of their economic lives. Many indicate that their hardscrabble beginnings helped to make them strong for the long, arduous climb up the ladder of success.
My father, reared during the Depression, spoke of eating "Hoover hogs" when we was a boy. A "Hoover hog" was the name given to armadillos. Due to the extreme poverty during the Great Depression many people in Texas and Arizona ate the armored-shelled creatures.
I am not sure how armadillo meat compares with Ramen noodles or mayonnaise sandwiches. In spite of my father's Depression diet and tough economic roots, he worked hard and eventually forged out a middle class lifestyle for his family. It took time and hard work, but he improved his economic quality of life.
In Rep. Moore's world, many of today's success stories might never have occurred because they never would have been born.
Every new life in America should be viewed as precious and brimming with potential. No, not everyone will be a millionaire but everyone has the opportunity to improve his or her economic quality of life, even it means at some point eating Ramen noodles, mayonnaise sandwiches or armadillo-kabob.
Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.