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I hear more and more about the rights of the unborn. I don’t know when life begins,but I do know there is a host of misinformation out there about biological reproductive issues.  For now, I wish to talk about the born–the children already here who do not have adequate care, food, supervision and love.

In our experience as foster parents, 4-H leaders, and church workers in youth programs, we have come across so many children from broken and dysfunctional homes who have very little chance to succeed in life. In my most recent training as a guardian-ad-litem, I saw more of the same.

Often, selfish, immature parents are to blame: parents too focused on their own romantic hook-ups, addictions, and problems to protect and support their children. Children drop out of high school because their home life is so terrible. Children act out because they are so desperate for attention.

I hear all the time about divorced or single parents who have not just one but multiple children with multiple father/ mothers/step parents etc. And all too often the child’s welfare is pushed out of the picture by the parents’ dating partners. Who is going to be there for these children? Who is providing financial, emotional and moral support?

Once you become a parent, you are duty bound to love and nourish that child to adulthood. If you can’t do that–DON’T HAVE CHILDREN!! And therefore, don’t engage in unprotected sex. It’s not complicated, but it does require thought and personal responsibility. I have never been a single parent. I can’t imagine how hard that would be. But I hope that, had that been my fate, I would have had the gumption to put my child ahead of my romantic needs.

It is hard enough for  financially stable, mature, wedded couples to raise a child. Many single parents manage to do an excellent job of raising children with much dedication and sacrifice. Not every child needs his or her own room, a car and a college education, but every child has the right to grow up in a loving home where there is enough to eat, access to education, structure and discipline.

But if you don’t have financial stability and healthy relationships, how in the world can you provide that for your child? And if you can’t provide that, don’t procreate. In today’s world, hardworking, caring parents can end up homeless and destitute due to an illness, a divorce,a job loss or other problem through no fault of their own. We as a society must come to their aid. No one is faulting them. We need to help them. I firmly believe that raising children is a responsibility, not a right. We don’t have the right to bring a child into the world and fail to provide for it. However, giving up a child to a loving adoptive family is not abandonment, it many cases it is the highest form of responsibility.

Jesus spoke grave warnings toward those who would hurt children. As a society, we must protect and nurture our children. We need to offer our love however we can. And, we need to prevent the problem. Birth control must be affordable and accessible to all. Could you adopt or foster a special needs child? Could you be a role model, a mentor, a teacher?

I believe the children who are already here need our help and concern. And unless you have stepped up to the plate to take care of one of these, I’m not sure you have the right to deny birth control or safe abortion to others. And if you are truly against abortion, you should be advocating for birth control funding and accessibility for all. Abstinence has much to recommend it,, but history tells us that it is not a reliable strategy for preventing unwanted children.

We have filled the earth and we must go forth carefully.

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