Kaitlyn Wayman-Dodd, Columnist
We spend so much time and money arguing about the rights of the unborn that we often forget about the rights of the already-born.
I did a quick Google search and found that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, pro-life and pro-choice advocates spent $1,292,741 on lobbying in 2009. When I tried to find out how much money was spent advocating for child protection services in any year, the most I found was the lump sum of money spent advocating for human rights in general.
Obviously, bringing attention to children’s rights isn’t something the media is concerned with. One just has to flip on the news to see that. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be addressed.
While well intentioned, our foster care system doesn’t have a strong reputation. Why? Probably because it’s underfunded and understaffed.
According to The Foster Care Alumni Studies, nearly one-third of the foster children in Washington and Oregon reported being abused by a foster parent or another adult in a foster home. Another study by John Hopkins University found the rate of sexual abuse in-group homes to be more than 28 times that of the general population.
Our foster care system needs some work, yet we don’t seem to want to talk about it.
While foster care may have a bad reputation, biological bonds aren’t the end all be all. The stereotypical American “nuclear family” that many of us hold near and dear isn’t always as wholesome as we would like to think.
A study done in 2003 by the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect found that 31 percent of child sexual abuse survivors have lived with both biological parents. This same study found that approximately 150,000 cases of abuse and neglect were perpetrated by both the father and the mother.
This means that abuse and neglect aren’t issues we can pass off as the foster care system gone wrong. It happens to far more people than we realize.
Abuse and neglect happen far too often yet we don’t talk about it nearly enough.
We talk about abortion all the time. Pro-life and pro-choice flyers, posters and billboards can be seen all over the place, and the news absolutely loves the topic. But if we’re going to argue about embryos, fetuses and babies’ rights to exist, then we can’t stop thinking about them once they’re born.
It’s the same thing with LGBT marriage and whether LGBT people should be allowed to adopt. We love to argue about it, but once the decision is made to give a child to a couple, LGBT or heterosexual, the discussion is over, and those adopted children are forgotten.
That’s that. Let’s brush off our hands and move on.
That’s not how people work, though. Kids aren’t toys. You can’t put them on a shelf and forget about them when you find newer, more interesting topics to talk about.
Abortion and LGBT adoption might be hot topics now, but children’s safety should always be among our top priorities, and right now it’s not. Children deserve more protection, and for that, they need more of our attention.