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Pro-Death: The Anti-Life Policies of Bush/McCain

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A great irony in the debate about the sanctity of life is that pro-choice proponents and liberal Democrats are the greatest defenders of life, even though Republicans have incorrectly assumed the mantle of "pro-life." Nothing could be further from the truth of that moniker stolen by the far right. When a conservative Republican spouts piously about the sanctity of life, he does not really mean that all life is sacred. He means human life, and only some human life. He certainly excludes from the sacred category any criminals awaiting capital punishment. Anti-abortionists typically are the most ardent supporters of the death penalty. He certainly does not view cows as sacred, yet cattle are alive. Whales don't count according to the Bush-appointed majority in the Supreme Court, who ruled yesterday that the military could go ahead and kill cetaceans at will. I doubt the sanctity of plants, which are as alive as you or me, cause much mental anguish as our Republican munches through his salad. No, our conservative Republican friend (hey, if McCain can do it...) means that only he can designate what life is sacred. So get off the high horse. Republicans do not believe life is sacred, not even close; they believe we commit a sin by destroying a microscopic dot of cells, but revel in frying a grown adult until his hair catches fire. No sanctity of life there.

But the inherent hypocrisy of supporting the death penalty while opposing abortion is not the primary problem of this false reverence for life. Much worse are the impacts of policies implemented by our faith-based government through the lens of rigid religious ideologies. Right-wing Republicans led by Bush have prevented federal funding of stem cell research. This research holds promise for curing terrible diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, spinal cord injury, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. President Bush and now McCain-Palin value a blastocyst smaller than the period at the end of this sentence over the life of a wounded soldier in a wheelchair.

Bush, with McCain's support, continues to decimate funding for family planning in the world's poorest countries in Asia and Africa. We defund any group or organization that even mentions the word abortion. Bush just announced that we will no longer support any clinic that also receives funds from the highly respected British aid group, Marie Stopes International, which operates clinics in the most desperate regions. The clinics we no longer support provide primary health care for millions of women, and are often the only source for childhood immunizations. Due to this tragic action by religious zealots in Washington, at least 150,000 additional unwanted pregnancies will occur, leading to an additional 60,000 abortions that otherwise would not have been performed. That makes Bush and McCain the world's leading cheerleaders for abortion. And if that is not sufficiently anti-life, consider that in many regions of Africa women have a 1-in-10 chance of dying in childbirth, so our policies will be killing women across that continent.

Bush, along with the Catholic Church, opposes the distribution of condoms in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet condoms are the least expensive, most effective means of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, which infects up to 25% of the adult population in some countries. Bush is condemning entire populations to infection and death, all while smugly claiming the mantle of pro-life.

Bush walked away from treaties that protect biological diversity, ignoring an extinction crisis in which we are losing species at a rate 1000 times natural background levels. What exactly is pro-life about extinction? Bush and McCain have done nothing to protect tropical forests, which we are losing at 40 million acres per year. What is pro-life about the death of forests and all the life contained within?

Let us finally remove this colossal nonsense from our vocabulary, and say what we mean. Republicans are the pro-death party. Only by spouting Orwellian double-speak can they attempt to deny that harsh reality. The late great George Carlin once remarked that god was the leading cause of death. The truth is that Republicans are the leading cause of death, acting in god's name.