FWD (Famine War Drought) Relief Day of Action: November 9, 2011
Over the past few decades, being pro-life has becoming more and more associated with only the issue of abortion. Even some religious leaders stress that because 4000 babies are murdered each day, opposition to abortion trumps all other issues when it comes time to vote at the polls. Is opposition to abortion enough to qualify someone as pro-life, or should we require more? Consider this.
Over the past 4 months, over 30,000 children have died in the Horn of Africa because of drought. In fact, this is the worst drought facing the Horn of Africa in 60 years. In that region, one child is dying every 6 minutes and 750,000 people are at risk over the next few months. To cope with the unavailability of food and water, families are forced to leave their homes, and some are walking up to 100 miles in search of enough food and water to keep them alive.
Malnutrition is common and on the rise, leaving adults and children weak and dehydrated. Sadly, infant mortality is also the rise, partly because of the effects of malnutrition on pregnant and nursing mothers. Other illnesses among the African people are also increasing.
Another inhumane side effect of the drought is an increase in human trafficking and violence against women. Young girls who think they are being taken to safety are instead sent to foreign countries to be used as sex slaves.
There is a lack of public awareness about the crisis in the Horn of Africa and the numbers of lives being lost daily. A recent poll indicated that 54 percent of Americans do not know about the devastation facing the African people.
Clearly, ending the famine and bringing water to these nations is a pro-life issue and is just as important as ending the destruction of an unborn child. As pro-life Democrats, we have a responsibility to not only advocate for curtailing further loss of life in Africa and around the world, but also to challenge our pro-life leaders who think being pro-life means only opposing abortion.
We can be part of the solution to protecting and saving lives. November 9, 2011, is a FWD Relief Day. We urge you to take action tomorrow to bring awareness to this crisis. The USAID has launched a website listing ways you can help bring awareness to the crisis in the Horn and end the suffering of the African people.
The sustainability of the region is critical to preventing future tragedies and the steps we take today will help alleviate more devastation in years to come. The Obama Administration launched the Feed the Future Program to address global hunger and drought. The USAID has invested in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America to address the unique challenges each region faces in providing food and water. In fact, Ethiopia and Kenya, although also facing the drought, have been able to continue to provide food to their people and be able to aid Somalia. The US led Feed the Future Program is at the heart of this success.
The US is not alone in its advocacy and monetary support. The African nations themselves are uniting to help the people on their continent. The African Union has raised over $350,000 thus far and has pledged to further address the situation in the Horn.
As pro-life advocates, we must continue our commitment to protect the unborn, but we must not ignore or diminish other lives that are being lost due to economic hardship, drought, hunger, or lack of health care. Being pro-life means protecting life at every stage and in every circumstance!